New partnership will help Chicago crack down on party buses, mayor says

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday announced plans to crack down on illegal party bus operators.

“Party buses, like all of Chicago’s vast entertainment options, must support public safety, not work against it,” Emanuel said in a statement. “With a new partnership with the Secretary of State and continued enforcement, we will build on our efforts throughout the summer to keep residents and visitors safe.”

Emanuel announced the creation of an intergovernmental agreement, or a partnership between the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois Secretary of State and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The partnership will give Chicago increased access to state information about vehicle plates, VIN numbers and driver’s license numbers. The city will also have speedier access to drivers’ records, which can include information on moving violations, accidents and license suspensions or revocations.

In 2016, there were six shooting incidents associated with party buses, according to the mayor’s office. That number dropped to three in 2017. So far this year, there has been one incident.

An ordinance that went into effect last year requires party bus companies to provide passengers with a list of prohibited activities. A security guard is required if alcohol is allowed.

Consumers who want to verify whether their party bus is operating legally can visit the city of Chicago data portal at https://data.cityofchicago.org and search the “Public Passenger Vehicle License” list.