Limo Bus Decorated Like Pirate Ship Anchored Until Owner Gets Proper License
Billy Fox, of Dagsboro, Del., has crafted a one-of-a-kind limo bus to safely transport passengers who have had a bit too much to drink. The 14-seat Black Pearl is decorated like a pirate ship and offers free trips home to intoxicated bar patrons in and around Fenwick Island and Selbyville, only accepting tips and donations from grateful riders. Fox says he can afford to provide this service because his operation is subsidized by sponsorships from local businesses, especially bars and restaurants that rely on the limo bus to transport patrons home safely.
However, Fox recently restricted the Black Pearl’s range until he receives the proper licenses from the state to ferry passengers. When they learned about the limo bus, the Office of Public Carrier Regulation, a division of the Delaware Department of Transportation, contacted Fox and told him he would need to get his bus licensed whether he charged a fare or made a profit from his service or not.
"We want to comply and are going to comply," said Fox. "It’s so we can provide a service here in southern Delaware that everyone needs. It is a needed service."
The Delaware DOT told him that he could continue to transport guests between businesses that sponsor the Black Pearl, but he can’t transport passengers to their homes until he has acquired the proper license.
"We have not shut him down," said DelDOT spokesman Geoff Sundstrom. "In fact, he is operating between a number of sponsoring businesses. He’s required to meet the same state insurance and background check requirements that any other public carrier is required to fulfill."
Fox has begun the process of obtaining his limousine license but isn’t sure when it will be granted. He has to pay a $400 fee, pass a background check, complete a fare schedule, submit a petition, complete his license application, provide minimum insurance coverage and take some additional steps before the state agency will issue his license.
Fox said that he had not previously applied for the license because he never imagined that the Black Pearl would become so popular. His original plan was to promote local businesses and make area roads safer by discouraging drunk driving. Before he knew it, he was transporting a lot more passengers than he planned and knew that he would have to get his licensing in order sooner rather than later.
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