If it looks like a duck and it drives like a duck, it needs permission from the Boston police commissioner

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a company that wants to operate amphibious sightseeing tours in Boston has to first get permission from the Boston police commissioner.

Nautical Tours has been trying to win permission to carry sightseers around the Hub since 2007, when it first asked the state Department of Public Utilities for a license to serve Boston.

The department said the company was unable to prove it had the financing to support its operations, but that it would grant permission - on the condition the company win a permit from the Boston police commissioner. Instead, in 2010, the company asked the Boston City Council for permission and, when that was not forthcoming, sued the state.

But the state's highest court told the company to stop quacking and just apply to the police commissioner. It noted the city's police commissioner has had authority over sightseeing operators since 1913:

Given the nature of sightseeing vehicles, here amphibious motor vehicles, and the public safety concerns associated with their operation on the sometimes narrow, crooked, and congested streets of Boston, the sightseeing licensing requirement is reasonable.




Free tagging: 


A better answer was provided in the OP

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Because if you have ever been almost run over by one of those things you would understand why the police have a stake in their presence on the road.

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Same reason they are involved

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Same reason they are involved in cabs and playing with their cell phones at contraction sites, easy work at high wages.

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Seems like requiring this

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Seems like requiring this license is just protectionism for the existing tour operators.

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Operating World War II vehicles

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that were intended to be disposable, and can only be maintained and repaired by using World War II surplus parts (like the seals that prevent water from coming in the propeller shaft - see http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2002/MAR0201.pdf and http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2000/M00_5.pdf ).

Personally, I'd think I'd want the police involved in any decisions about whether or not people can use these vehicles for hire before allowing them loose on the streets and waterways of Downtown Boston.

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Wouldn't it be easier

Wouldn't it be easier to apply to the Police Commissioner than to apply to the City Council and then to file a suit? I don't see why Nautical didn't do what they needed to do.

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Plenty of parking and pick up/drop off space on the greenway for them - see all those lanes to the side of the traffic lanes marked with bicycles?

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