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

A recent seizure that included drugs, cash and a firearm from two serparate incidents on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (Photo: Surrey RCMP handout)
Surrey RCMP seize drugs, cash and gun over the weekend

Police say items were seized during two different incidents

Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘immediate’ government help for businesses shut down

‘Don’t punish all businesses for the sins of a few,’ CEO Anita Huberman says

The 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Mammography machine, new to the Surrey Breast Health Clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (submitted photo)
New 3D breast-cancer technology in Surrey ‘has already helped so many women’

Digital breast tomosynthesis new to Surrey Breast Health Clinic

Stephanie Cadieux, recently re-elected as MLA for Surrey South, has been named BC Liberal Caucus Chair. (contributed photo)
Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux named Liberal caucus chair

Longtime MLA confident BC Liberals will present an effective opposition

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Tabor Home in Abbotsford records 8 deaths and 124 COVID-19 cases

63 per cent of residents at long-term-care facility have tested positive

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Most Read