Inside a party bus (Wikimedia Commons)

Inside a party bus (Wikimedia Commons)

Province ‘reinforcing’ new rules for party buses as holiday season approaches

Ministry reminds the public that it’s against the law to consume alcohol, cannabis inside a vehicle

The provincial government is highlighting recent “safety improvements” to rules for party bus operators as the holiday season approaches.

Stricter rules took effect on Sept. 16 that require operators to obtain consent forms from parents and guardians of minors, and to have “safety monitors” on board with unaccompanied minors.

The new regulations also came with an increase in fines for those who don’t follow the rules – from $1,500 to a maximum of $50,000.

“In April, we brought in stricter measures, including the requirement of safety monitors on board buses with unaccompanied minors,” said Garry Begg, MLA for Surrey-Guildford, on behalf of Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure on Thursday in Delta.

“Today, we are reinforcing the safety improvements made over the last number of months: higher fines for non-compliance, and additional passenger transportation enforcement officers to perform further inspections,” he added.

This year, the provincial government says passenger transportation enforcement officers conducted more checks than in the past three years combined.

Meantime, the ministry is reminding the public that it is against the law to consume alcohol and cannabis inside a vehicle.

READ MORE: Surrey Mounties say 40 intoxicated teens found on ‘party bus’ in Newton

Underage drinking in party buses have made headlines in Surrey in recent months.

Surrey RCMP say in late August, they discovered 40 intoxicated teens on a single party bus in Newton. They had received a tip that teens and young adults were drinking in both the buses and limousines in the Strawberry Hill area.

As a result, the Surrey RCMP and the city’s bylaws enforcement department are targeting underage drinking in chauffeured vehicles in the city.

In that specific case, police say it’s alleged that those on board were “paying a fee and being permitted to consume alcohol on board.”

The bus driver received multiple violation tickets as a result of not having a chauffeur’s licence, having open liquor in the vehicle and more people on board that the 35-person-allowed capacity. Being caught with open liquor in a vehicle in B.C. carries a $180 fine under the Liquor Licence Act.

Surrey RCMP Constable Richard Wright said in mid-September that police believe there have been other instances.

“We have seen the party bus parties spilling out onto the streets and certainly when there’s a large group of intoxicated people, it leads to concerning behaviour and unsafe behaviour in the community and we want to stamp that out,” he said.

None of the youth were ticketed, according to Wright, but all were released to a guardian.

Wright said police advise parents who suspect their children “may be getting involved with dangerous or illegal activity” to contact the Parent Helpline at 604-599-7800.

SEE ALSO: Crown says Surrey party bus brawl ‘screams’ for greater regulation

It wasn’t the first time party buses made headlines in the region.

In 2012, a brawl erupted between Surrey high school grads and a motorist who crossed their path behind a Husky gas station in Cloverdale. The charter bus had been carrying about 50 young people during an after-grad celebration and made a pit stop at the station. Subsequently a mini-van’s windows were smashed, a cloud of bear spray was loosed, rocks were thrown and roughly a dozen cop cars were called to the scene, as well as five ambulances and two fire trucks.

In 2017, a party bus went up in flames in Vancouver. No one was injured. In 2016, a 23-year-old Langley woman died after falling from a party bus in Vancouver.

Party buses must also display valid decals they’ve passed a safety inspection, and failure to comply carries a fine of $318, raised from $81. Moreover, failure to comply with regulations can result in fines from $1,500 to a maximum of $50,000.

-Files from Tom Zytaruk



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

Elsie Hellstrom (top left), Mary Gjernes (top right), Stan Moore (bottom left) and Evelina Walter all celebrated their birthdays this month. All photos courtesy of Brittany Siemens.
Mission seniors residence celebrates 4 centenarian birthdays this month

Special party honouring a combined 405 years of life held on Jan. 25

A Chilliwack driver’s vehicle was impounded for seven days after an excessive speeding violation. (RCMP photo)
RCMP catch Chilliwack driver doing 60 km/h over posted speed limit

The motorist was hit with a big ticket and a seven day vehicle impoundment

Abbotsford Police is investigating after bullet casings were found following a shots fired call at the intersection of Purcell Avenue and Wells Gray Avenue on Tuesday night. (File photo)
Bullet casings found after shots-fired call in Abbotsford on Tuesday

Abbotsford Police Department seeking witnesses and CCTV footage following shooting

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on B.C. nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of hospital nurses in Victoria region

Sooke’s Amy McLaughlin holds Theodore, a bunny who will be going to a new owner in Nanaimo within the coming days if all goes will at an upcoming bunny play-date. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Vancouver Island woman looking to hop into bigger space for bunny rescue operation

Amy McLaughlin has rescued more than 400 bunnies, pushing for the capacity to help more

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

BC Place Stadium in a photo posted to cisc-icca.ca.
Roof of BC Place a stage for performers during online music festival

‘This will be the first time any artists have performed from the 204-foot iconic Vancouver rooftop’

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

Most Read