Tour companies booted from Hollywood Walk of Fame
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tourists will no longer be hassled by tour bus companies on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in an effort by city officials to make the area more safe and inviting.
Beginning this week, sightseeing bus operators will start selling tickets from kiosks or shops on private property instead of the famed walkway, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/17AWXj8).
Hollywood has seen the number of tour bus businesses increase in recent years to meet the demand of people eager to see celebrity hot spots or the homes of the rich and famous.
James Foutch, who works for Starline Tours, welcomes the city's decision to limit tour bus operators.
"It seems every day someone puts a sticker on a bus and says they're the new No. 1 bus tour," Foutch told the newspaper. "It's become a free-for-all. Everyone is doing whatever they want and nobody's policing what happens."
City officials say the restriction also will improve safety. In June, a woman was stabbed to death after she took a picture of several homeless people and refused their demand to pay $1. Three people are facing charges in the woman's death.
Earlier this year, a masked Spider-Man robbed a Starline employee of $6,000 in cash and credit card receipts. No arrests have been made.
Since the fatal stabbing, police have added about 60 officers to area patrols.
Vendors who don't comply will be cited and ordered to move. Other changes may be in store, including designating tour bus depots, where sightseers can get on the buses.
More than 40 million people visited Los Angeles and city officials want to ensure tourists feel safe walking the busy thoroughfare.
"We want them to have a quality experience so they can stay longer and help our local economy," Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said.