Tour Bus Company Fights City on Permits
(Memphis) Memphis’ history can be pretty awesome, and people come from around the world to get a taste of the barbeque and blues.
Blues City Tours is front and center right off Beale Street and calls themselves ‘the tours you can trust.’
A van load of tourists did just that one rainy night this summer when a jeep and their tour bus crossed paths. Blues City’s bus smashed into Chapman’s Furniture.
While accident investigators tried to figure out what went wrong, we tried to pull Blues City’s latest inspection and permit from the city, only to find they don’t have a city permit at all.
“What I’m saying is we don’t have to,” said owner Melvin Bledsoe. “We don’t have to have a city permit, we have federal interstate permits which supercedes anything the city does.”
It’s right on their buses, a federal license, you see them on charter buses — but are they enough?
“The federal laws don’t apply, the local laws apply,” said Aubrey Howard, Memphis’ permits director. “We have sent them correspondence, meetings with them.”
We asked why didn’t police issue tickets. Permits said talk to police, and police pointed us back to permits.
We do know lawyers for Blues City have fought against city permits for years.
The longer they fight, the longer Blues City doesn’t pay.
It’s thousands of dollars the city may have missed out on, at a time when it’s struggling to pay for pre-k, Fire and Police
We brought the issue to the attention of Mayor A C Wharton.
“I don’t want to be a part of anything that shows we’re somewhat lax,” said Wharton.
He ordered a full review immediately, but nearly a week later lawyers still don’t have a definitive answer on if Blues City should pay or is in fact compliant with the law.
As of now, city inspections were never done possibly putting you in danger and costing the city cash.
It’s not just Blues City — more than two dozen other companies are reportedly not following the rules either.