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Grand Forks reviews party bus concerns

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On Tuesday a Grand Forks City Council member voiced some concerns about party buses while going over a tax on public transit. The Service/Safety committee agenda’s primary focus was ensuring that passengers know the fee they owe once inside a public transit vehicle. Direction quickly changed once the matter of party buses was brought up.

“I have two complaints on party buses, overcapacity and underage drinking,” council  member Terry Bjerke said.

The law requires that passenger of party buses must be 18 years of age but to consume alcohol inside the bus passengers must be at least the age of 21.

“Underage drinking regulations should be under city code. As for over capacity I would have to refer to city capacity regulations,” City Attorney Howard Johnson said.

Local party bus company Space Cruise Inc. has a carrying capacity of 50 occupants per bus. Buses can be reserved to pick up passengers and transport them place-to-place. A popular place these buses are used is in downtown Grand Forks, shuttling groups from bar to bar.

“I don’t understand how we allow buses to drive around when I know there is underage drinking, it’s essentially a bar on wheels,” Bjerke said. “I think the business should be responsible for checking if someone is underage.”

Bjerke further stated “I don’t understand why it’s okay to drink on a bus when you don’t get away with it in your own personal vehicle, I don’t see the difference.”

Open container laws claims that passengers in a registered permitted limousine or bus driven by a properly licensed driver may possess open containers and drink alcoholic beverages in the passenger area of the bus or limousine.

“We really want to meet again and do something about the underage drinking on these party buses,” City Council and committee member Ken Vein said.

No immediate actions were made at the meeting; only time will tell what the City Council will do regarding the issue of party buses.

Tony Watson is a news reporter for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]

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The student news site of University of North Dakota
Grand Forks reviews party bus concerns