Insurance could limit bars who shuttle fans to and from sports games and festivals.
With just one week to the Milwaukee Brewers’ home-opener, some bar shuttle services are in limbo.
More than a hundred local bars offer free shuttle services to Miller Park. Some bars said the Wisconsin State Patrol is cracking down on those that don't meet the state’s insurance requirements.
Bar shuttle services to and from Miller Park do a lot more than pack pubs.
"We take, on average, 50 people to a Brewers game,” said O’Lydias Bar owner Linda Sackett.
They save attendees big bucks on parking fees.
“It's also to prevent drinking and driving,” she said.
Sackett said this year it's costing her a fortune.
"$17,846 dollars for one year for two shuttles."
Sackett told TODAY’S TMJ4 that figure is about $8,000 more than she paid in previous years.
"This is insane," she said.
This after one of her two shuttles was pulled over at Summerfest last June.
"The state came out, inspected my vehicles, everything else and said, just so you know, it's going into effect that you're going to need the $5 million in coverage,” Sackett said.
According to Sackett’s insurance provider, her bus is considered 'for hire' which requires higher insurance coverage based on Wisconsin law. Sackett argues it's a free service.
"You can get on a shuttle and never step foot in here,” she said.
"They want to make sure if you've got 30 people on a shuttle and it turns over, you have enough coverage, I understand it,” said Kelly’s Bleachers owner Anthony Luchini.
Luchini said he went through the same ordeal back in 2012 when he and several bar owners who offer shuttle rides to and from Miller Park met with the State Patrol about insurance requirements.
"I get it, they're mad and frustrated, I've been down that road," he said.
On top of that, Luchini said his drivers are required to have commercial driver's licenses and each bus has a yearly inspection.
"It's even more frustrating that we have to do this and not other shuttles have to do that,” said Luchini.
Wisconsin lawmakers drafted a proposal in 2017 that would lower insurance requirements for shuttle services. Gov. Scott Walker has yet to weigh in.