Higher fines, stricter safety standards on the way for party buses

Claire Trevana

THE Province is quadrupling fines for party buses and commercial vehicles that do not meet inspection standards, to keep teenagers and minors safer.

The ministry is immediately raising the fines for all party buses and commercial vehicles that do not display valid decals confirming they have passed a safety inspection. Fines will increase from $81 to $318, making them among the highest in Western Canada.

“For a long time, the party bus industry has been ignored, leaving glaring gaps in safety,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Our government is adopting a suite of new measures so all passengers – and in particular minors – are safe when they take a ride in a party bus.”

The ministry will be engaging with the transportation industry and the Passenger Transportation Board to have new safety measures in place and enforceable in early 2019.

These include:

* having a safety monitor or chaperones if a minor is on board a party bus

* requiring minors to have a signed consent form from a parent or guardian

* having new licensees of party buses submit a passenger safety plan to show they are capable of providing a safe service

* installing cameras in party buses, similar to the taxi camera program

* requiring party bus operators to install an emergency alert system in vehicles with separate passenger compartments

“I’m supportive of these new measures to bolster safety in the party bus industry,” said Catharine Read, Board Chair, Passenger Transportation Board. “I look forward to working with the ministry and industry stakeholders to put these additional measures in place.”

The ministry reminds the public that it is against the law to consume alcohol inside a vehicle. The RCMP and local police will be conducting focused enforcement during the holiday season and will continue to ticket people breaking the law.