At the beginning of 2011, those $40 to $60 van tours of celebrity homes and famous locales took a turn for the moon. The result, per a great article in The Hollywood Reporter August 10 print issue by Daniel Miller, has been new municipal regulations and often less than happy burgh residents.
Miller opens with a rather staggering bell curve (or should that be bell curb?):
While there were only a half-dozen or so companies a decade ago, observers say there are now as many as 40 such operators plying their trade in and around Hollywood. Some, like Starline Tours, are established firms with decades of experience; others are fly-by-night operators who troll Hollywood Boulevard in search of tourists. A canvassing of the boulevard July 9 by the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance found that 64 individuals representing 22 companies were hawking tours.
As noted by Miller, today is the day LA City Councilman Eric Garcetti was scheduled to take receipt of a report about the feasibility of certifying the drivers of those ubiquitous open-top vans. In much the same way that London cab divers have to prove their grasp of “The Knowledge,” these individuals would have to pass Hollywood history and civility muster.
Much more in the Miller piece, including some fun video. Watch, read, bookmark it here.