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Why Nashville needs and thrives from party buses in downtown | Opinion

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 10/19/2021 Audie Daniel Wood

Listen, I want to make it clear I am no fan of the party buses. As a weekend Uber driver, I cannot count the number of angry guests who have gotten upset that I could not get to them quickly because our already clogged streets were further clogged by these monstrosities.

As a teacher I empathize with the faculty and students of Hume Fogg Academic High School who are tired of loud music and wooing disrupting the classroom.

And I empathize with the normal Nashville commuter, who like me when doing rideshare, simply wants to get from point A to point B and cannot do so because of the path transportation-entertainment takes. The point I am trying to make here is that there are legitimate reasons to dislike the party buses and the passengers who ride them.

Customers drink on a party bus on Broadway in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean Customers drink on a party bus on Broadway in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

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Counterpoint: Nashville's unfettered partying is a case of the golden goose soiling the farm | Plazas

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The people who complain about parties helped make the city what it is

While I hold a healthy level of disdain for the entitlement of Nashville tourists and the inconvenience brought to us by the party buses, I hate the pity party that rich condo owners and city council people want me to buy into more.

Condo owners and tenants in $3,000 a month apartments flood Facebook community pages with post after post of how annoying and disruptive the party buses and tourist are to their sleep.

At-large Council Member Bob Mendes sends out tweets complaining about party buses loading up in his neighborhood.

To those people I say, "Excuse me for not caring about the sleep of some rich person who paid a half million dollars for a condo without doing any research on what the city nightlife looked like. Excuse me for not caring about the sleep of a council member who sits on the council that molded Nashville into the party city that it is."

Furthermore, where were these people when the tourist in party buses were driving up and down low-income neighborhoods flaunting their excess money in front of people who were working two to three jobs just to keep a subsidized roof over their head?

Where were the privileged residents when the party buses were preventing poor workers from getting to their jobs on time, thus costing them their measly paycheck? Where were they? They were busy enjoying the entertainment and dining experiences that are now in this city because of the people that want to ride the party buses.

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Party vehicles may need some rules, but they benefit the city in tax revenue

As someone who grew up floating between living with my mom in the Gallatin area and Scottsville, Kentucky with my grandma, I grew up going to a Nashville that has led me to appreciate “New Nashville” in a way most transplants and tourist do not.

a man posing for the camera: Audie Wood © Submitted Audie Wood

I appreciate the circus it has become because the circus has given me more things to do and better food to eat. I appreciate the circus and the party buses because the tax revenue they create funds so many community programs that I support.

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Sure, we should make changes to transportation entertainment that makes commuting safer and more efficient (i.e. not operating during normal business and school hours and offering liquor licenses so the bartenders and drivers could regulate the amount of alcohol consumed.)

But what we should not do is alter or destroy a business that brings in tax revenue because those that made this line of work possible and their donors no longer find its existence convenient. 

Audie Wood is a longtime Middle Tennessee resident who works in higher education and drives for Uber on the weekends.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Why Nashville needs and thrives from party buses in downtown | Opinion

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