CITY CRACKS DOWN ON OUTLAW PARTY BUSES, SUSTAINS REDUCTIONS IN VIOLENT CRIME
New Nights And Weekend Team, Party Bus Task Force Sustains Record Low Crime on Part Buses
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno, and Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent Eddie Johnson today announced new enforcement action to reduce crimes committed on and near illegal party buses while increasing safety onboard licensed operators and improving quality of life of residents and tourists. As Chicago prepares to celebrate the holidays, weddings and family gatherings, the creation of a Nights and Weekends Team and a partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office will allow BACP and CPD access to party bus registration information after business hours.
“The ordinance we passed last year is yielding the results we hoped for – a safer Chicago for residents and visitors,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The party is over for illegal party bus operators and the parties are safer for people using licensed operators. I’m proud of the progress we have made to keep communities safe.”
Gun violence and drug crimes related to party buses have dropped throughout the city – making for a safer city and an improved consumer experience. Shooting incidents associated with party buses decreased by 50 percent since 2016, continuing the trend of substantial reductions in violent crime. In 2016, there were six shooting incidents associated with party buses. This year, there were only three shootings on party buses.
“Our partnership with BACP has proven to be successful, and has made our city safer,” said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “When business owners run their operations out of compliance or without the proper safety protocols in place, it can put Chicagoans at risk and, in some instances, contribute to violence.”
Since June 1, 2017, when the city implemented the new rules under an ordinance championed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, regulators have seen a drop in violent crimes associated with party buses including only two illegal weapons that were recovered associated with party buses in 2018, compared to six in 2017. In 2018, BACP enforcement teams issued 385 tickets and 22 cease and desist orders to noncompliant operators for violations that include weapons, drugs and drunk driving.
“Our city ordinance has been a net win for public safety in Chicago,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “We are sending a message: if you do business in Chicago, you had better be serious about ensuring the safety of our communities and the safety of patrons.”
“I want to commend Mayor Emanuel for championing the party bus ordinance and Superintendent Johnson for cracking down on violators,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “I’m pleased to work with the city of Chicago to improve the safety and security of party buses on our roads.”
2018 Enforcement Efforts
Throughout the year, BACP’s Business Compliance and Enforcement unit (BCE) has worked closely with CPD to enforce illegal activity involving party buses. This partnership has resulted in 385 citations and 22 C&D’s issued so far this year. So far in 2018 the City has imposed $300,070 inpenalties to operators found in violation of the party bus ordinance, with four cases pending.
The following companies own vehicles which had enforcement action taken against them:
PINK TRANSPORTATION LLC – CPD incident report regarding a tip police received in which they found guns, drugs, and parole violations.
MILLENNIUM CHICAGO LIMOUSINE – CPD incident report regarding driver of charter bus being shot after passenger attempted to rob him
DBA: INTEGRITY CHAUFFEURS – Incident report where they found several guns on a party bus transporting mourners to a gang-related burial.
CHICAGO TRANSPORT AND LIMO, INC. – Joint Charter Bus Night Investigations with CPD. Driver was found to be intoxicated. CPD arrested him and issued a DUI.
SECOND CITY TROLLEY – CPD Vice ANOV issued for no security guard, no security camera, and no itinerary.
Nights And Weekends Enforcement
BACP has created a new Nights and Weekends Team to help target problem operators during the times that most complaints come in, after business hours and on weekends. Following a successful pilot program that started in September 2017, the now permanent team of investigators completed training this month (December 2018) and started permanent shifts. As a result of this new and targeted enforcement, the team has issued a total of 510 tickets, along with 50 Cease and Desistorders to non-compliant party-bus operators since the team’s inception in 2017.
Party Bus Taskforce
In May of 2018, BACP’s Bureau of Enforcement created the Charter Bus/Party Bus Task Force. This multi-agency Task Force includes CPD, the Office of Emergency Management and Communication, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation and the Secretary of State (SOS). The Task Force established a working partnership, improved cross-agency collaboration and strengthened enforcement through sharing information and best practices. The partnership with SOS has helped BACP access and review existing driver records in real time to improve on-the-ground enforcement efforts.
These innovative enforcement strategies coupled with strengthened rules, passed by the City Council last year, are helping improve safety. Companies are now required to provide each passenger with a summary of acts prohibited on buses, including unlawful possession of a firearm or controlled substance. Additionally, if alcohol is present or available at multiple stops a security guard must be onboard. The new ordinance also requires clearly identifiable exterior signage on licensed large charter/sightseeing vehicles to make it easier to identify and shut down unlicensed vehicles.
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:https://data.cityofchicago.org. 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 can be directed to[email protected].