City of Charlotte eyeing possibility of regulating party buses

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Busy North Tryon Street runs through the heart of Charlotte's City Council District Four. That's where UNC Charlotte student Polly Rogers died after falling out of an emergency window of a party bus.

We met with Charlotte City Councilman Greg Phipps, who represents the district, at the accident site. He's raising questions over how the vehicles are regulated.

"They're operating in the city and they are regulated by the state, and we have very little or no authority on them," he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, like Phipps, has approached the city attorney's office to see what can be put in place following the tragic incident and numerous violations and citations connected to Charlotte Party Charters.

Eiselt is hoping state lawmakers in Raleigh can step in and give city council more authority.

"So this is a short session. I'm not sure how much they could accomplish in the short session," she said. "Anything over 16 seats I think falls under the state DOT."

The short session for State Representative Kelly Alexander and his colleagues starts in Raleigh next week.

"The rules of the House and Senate may make it difficult to get something done in the short session," Alexander said. He's hoping party buses will be among the talking points.

"And the best way for that to start is for members of the city council to draft something and present it to the delegation, as a local bill," Alexander said.

Phipps agrees.

"If we could just take a look at what we have, see what areas could be strengthened, and to have the general assembly to consider it," he said.

The North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes for its short session on May 16.

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