A Vancouver party bus company is facing fines of more than $27,000 for transporting 18 unaccompanied minors with alcohol on board this past weekend.
The province has been ramping up safety aboard party buses and limousines after a number of fatalities have been reported on party buses in recent years.
Vancouver Police officers were working with the Passenger Transportation Board on Friday, December 6 when they conducted a check of a party bus in the 600 block of West Georgia Street, between Seymour and Granville Streets.
I have been corrected on the fine amount… this is still an on going investigation and the administrative fine could go as high as $50000.00 to the licensee. https://t.co/jsHiaYdbYz
— Mark Christensen (@baldguy1363) December 8, 2019
“There was 18 minors on board with no chaperone. The minors were drinking,” said Seargant Aaron Roed with VPD Media Relations in an email to Daily Hive.
“There was no charges on the minors but the alcohol was seized for destruction. The minors were escorted in the bus to their final destination in Vancouver with all parents being notified,” said Roed.
Police say the fines for this are $1,500 per minor with a total of 18 minors.
“The PTB is conducting an investigation and will be putting through the fines for the offence,” said Roed.
The incident came just a day after the BC government issued a release saying that additional checks on party buses and limousines are looking to increase passenger safety.
According to a release from the province last Thursday, passenger transportation enforcement officers conducted more checks than in the past three years combined.
The increase in checks were also accompanied by a change in regulations that brought about higher administrative fines.
New regulations, which went into force on September 16, 2019, included amendments that increase the administrative fine the registrar can give licensees who do not comply with the act 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.
“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.”
The increase in the number of regulations comes after a number of deaths aboard party buses, including the death of a 23-year-old woman in Vancouver who fell off a party bus in 2016.
According to the release, other measures put in place by the province to increase passenger safety include the following:
- Additional enforcement officers and increased checks on perimeter-seating buses.
- The requirement of a safety monitor on board, trained in first aid and able to administer naloxone, when unaccompanied minors travel in a party bus or limousine.
- Consent forms from parents and guardians if minors are on board a party bus.
- Increased fines for all party buses and commercial vehicles that do not display valid decals showing they have passed a safety inspection.
The ministry is reminding the public that it is against the law to consume alcohol and cannabis inside a vehicle.
“The RCMP and local police will conduct focused enforcement during the holiday season and will continue to ticket people breaking the law.”