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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

The Wheels On The Party Bus Still Go Round And Round, But With New Rules

Wikimedia Commons -
File photo. New rules regulating the party bus industry are taking effect in Washington state.

Some people ride the bus to work. Some rent a bus to party on. So-called party buses have been in the news a lot in recent years because of accidents and deaths across the country.

Now, new rules regulating the industry are taking effect in Washington state.

The old rule was “what happens on the party bus, stays on the party bus.” Under the new rules, the party can still roll on: neon lights, thumping music, brass poles. But now party buses must have a permit to operate in Washington.

Unpermitted operators face fines. If there’s booze on board a chaperone other than the driver must ride along to ensure there’s no underage drinking.

State regulators advise checking before booking to make sure the company has the proper permit from Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission. That should ensure the company meets insurance, safety and driver drug and alcohol testing standards.

The new rules follow a change in state law last year that clearly defines what a party bus is.