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The Los Angeles City Council’s Trade, Travel and Tourism Committee approved a draft ordinance on Feb. 18 that would allow the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to restrict which streets tour buses can operate based on safety.
“Tourism has an important role in our city and our local economy, but public safety must come first,” said City Councilman David Ryu, 4th District, who authored a motion in 2017 calling for the restrictions. “For far too long, certain tour bus operators have been putting the public and their passengers at risk by making unsafe turns, illegal U-turns, speeding, slowing or suddenly stopping while traveling on narrow hillside streets that were never built to accommodate them. This law will ensure the tour bus industry operates with common-sense regulations centered on safety for all.”
Cities were unable to limit tour bus access on narrow or substandard hillside streets until Assembly Bill 25 was signed on Sept. 27, 2017, by then-Governor Jerry Brown. Ryu introduced his motion that resulted in the draft ordinance two days later.
The issue of unsafe tour bus operators in Los Angeles came to light after a 2016 investigation by NBC4 into safety lapses in tour buses. That led to action on the issue by local, state and federal authorities. In 2016, the United States Department of Transportation mailed letters to more than two dozen tour bus companies demanding information about modified tour buses, some of which had their roofs removed and safety belts disabled.
The draft ordinance now heads to the full City Council for final approval. A final vote is expected in the coming weeks.
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