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Call Us Today: (877) 217-9536

Party Buses and Security: What You Need To Know as an Owner and as a Rider

The party was shut down in July of 2017 with cease-and-desist letters sent out to 17 party bus, trolley and other similar transportation companies in the Chicagoland area after being deemed to be operating illegally.

This comes after a three-day long field investigation led by the Chicago Police and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The investigation was initiated after a spike in property damage, arrests, violence and, in some cases, even death over the past two years with links tracing back to party bus, trolley and other such rentals.

The investigation revealed at least 17 party bus companies, with potentially more to come as the investigation is still on-going, were operating illegally and without the necessary requirements laid out in a new ordinance, which was enacted back in April of 2017. This ordinance requires the following:

  • If a party bus has 15 or more passengers – A licensed security professional must be on-board.
  • If there is alcohol being served on the party bus – A licensed security professional must be onboard.
  • If the bus is stopping at spots that serve alcohol – A licensed security professional must be on-board.
  • Buses that have 15 or more passengers and will be visiting multiple stops where alcohol can be consumed will be required to install security cameras or have additional personnel onboard.
  • This requirement also applies to trips where alcohol will be consumed on the bus
    Clearly-identifiable signage on licensed large charter/sightseeing vehicles to ensure any buses operating without a license are easy to identify and shut down
  • Party bus operators are required to take proactive steps to make sure no one is illegally carrying guns, other weapons or bringing drugs on-board – A licensed security professional would be a good idea to have on-board for this as well
  • If the patron(s) of a party bus want to hire or bring their own security officer, then the officer must be a licensed and insured security professional, but that security professional must NOT participate in the festivities in any manner
  • UPDATE: The most recent law passed was in September of 2017, which the City Council passed a law requiring drivers to call police for rowdy or drunken patrons, as well as if a gun was fired
  • If a party bus is found to be in violation of this ordinance a cease-and-desist is applicable to the company’s entire fleet and not just the bus that was cited

Party buses, trolleys and all other similar types of businesses operating illegally can expect hefty fines and impoundment of the vehicle. First-time violators are subject to minimum fines of $1,000 and $5,000 for any violations after that. Ignoring a cease-and-desist order carries a minimum $5,000 fine. Maximum fines will be raised to $10,000.

UPDATE: Since the new ordinance was enacted the city has issued more than 125 tickets and sent more than 28 cease and desist letters to party bus companies found to be operating illegally or not up to standards.

According to the City of Chicago’s website, consumers that want to verify if a party bus is lawful can visit the “Public Passenger Vehicle License” database on the City of Chicago data portal at If the vehicle is not listed on the City’s portal you should request verification from the charter bus company. For more information about public vehicle licensing, contact

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his office praise the success of the new ordinance claiming it has reduced illegal and violent activity on or related to these party buses. They see this as being an example of how these types of transportation companies should be treated and will push to have the state of Illinois follow suit with similar laws and ordinances.

Party buses are meant to make going out and having fun safer by allowing partiers to hit the town without worrying about driving and getting home safely. But, when party buses become almost a catalyst and enabler of bad behavior, then that is a problem which needs to be addressed.

Whether you are an owner, operator or rider all parties involved are responsible. Hiring properly licensed party bus operators is just step one. Making sure all of the necessary precautions are taken, safety measures are in place and you act like a decent human being, then there should be no problems.

So, if you have any questions or you would like to hire security for your next party bus, trolley and other similar types of rentals, then contact Head of Security today!

(877) 217-9536 |

To review the actual ordinance, MCC Section 9-114-315, please click on the link below:
MCC Section 9-114-315

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2 Responses
  1. Thanks for helping me understand that there should be a licensed professional when you are going to have drinks while riding a charter bus. I will keep this in mind and look for a company who does this since we plan to have a party on it. It will be just my friends and me for that event, and it will be a celebration of our reunion. So drinks are a must. This information will keep us safe from any law violation.

    1. Head of Security

      Hi Millie –

      Absolutely! Glad we can help. The basics of this ordinance are as follows:

      – If there are 15 or more people on a bus, charter, trolley, etc.
      – There is any alcohol and/or drinking on the bus, charter, trolley, etc.
      – The bus, charter, trolley, etc. is making intermittent stops at ANY establishment that serves alcohol

      This includes, but is not limited to bars, nightclubs, restaurants, event venues, hotels, and much more. Also note that the “and/or” is

      Please let us know if you have any questions. Also, if you would like to book security please let us know and we can get you all setup. Thanks!


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