B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

The “party bus” industry has got another black eye in B.C. after Surrey Mounties acting on a tip stopped one such bus in that city and discovered 40 intoxicated minors on board.

This was on Aug. 31. As a result, the RCMP and the city’s bylaws enforcement department are targeting underage drinking in chauffeured vehicles in Surrey.

Constable Richard Wright said police had received a tip that teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and in limousines in Strawberry Hill.

“It was alleged that youth and young adults were paying a fee and being permitted to consume alcohol on board,” he said. Wright said that beside finding the 40 intoxicated passengers, all between the ages of 15 and 18 years old, police also found open liquor inside the bus.

“We do believe there have been other instances in the past,” he said. “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.”

Wright said 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.

“The driver did. The driver and the owner are not the same person.”

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

SEE VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Authorities also conducted a “follow up” with the owner of the party bus, he said, “reviewing the expectations of compliance with the Motor Vehicle Act and Liquor Control and Licensing Act. Police have not released the name of the company as no charges have been laid. “At this time what’s being done is the Surrey traffic enforcement and bylaw enforcement units are following that party operator very carefully and ensuring compliance moving forward,” Wright said.

“For this incident, none of the youth were ticketed and they all had parents called, and the investigators made sure all the parents were present before any of the youths were released to their guardian.”

Sergeant Ian MacLellan, Surrey RCMP traffic services commander, said police will continue to target this and “are also bringing this information to the public in order to arm parents with information about how youth may be accessing alcohol, in support of parents’ efforts to keep their kid safe.”

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.

Party buses occasionally make headlines, mostly negative. 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.

“This case is a tragic example of what can happen when under-aged teens are allowed to get drunk on ‘party buses,’” Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson said at the time. “The bloody and senseless violence in this case screams for greater regulation and monitoring of party bus operators.”

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.

On April 17, 2019 the provincial government brought in new regulations governing the party bus industry. Claire Trevena, minister of transportation and infrastructure, said these will “help ensure our kids arrive home safely at the end of the night.” Operators are now required to have a safety monitor on board, with first-aid training, when minors are passengers, and must also obtain consent forms from parents and guardians of minors.

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.

Time Limousine Service Ltd., which operates in Surrey and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, is one company that explicitly states on its website that alcohol and illegal drugs are not allowed in its vehicles and if any are found, “the contract will terminate immediately and no refund will be issued.”

“It’s extremely disheartening to see the recent story regarding the underage drinking that occurred on a party bus over the summer,” manager Kash Virk wrote the Now-Leader. “The recent change in the ruling with unaccompanied minors and party buses is definitely something we support. This issue not only reflects poorly on the company involved but everyone in our industry. We do hope that the Passenger Transportation Board does take measures in dealing with this strictly and accordingly.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

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

Just Posted

COVID-19: Caring for your mental health during a global pandemic

Canadian Mental Health Association Quesnel offers advice, resources to deal with anxiety and stress

Quesnel family pinning autism awareness onto community

Laura and Matthew Hender have sold thousands of autism awareness pins over the past eight years

COVID-19: Quesnel council moves to electronic meetings

Video of council’s first electronic meeting is now available on the City of Quesnel’s website

COVID-19: MP Todd Doherty updates community

‘The next 14 days are critical,’ writes the Cariboo-Prince George MP

COVID-19: All sports fields and baseball fields in Quesnel now closed

City trails and parks remain open, but users must maintain social distancing space of two metres

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read