British Columbia

Surrey RCMP pulled over party bus with 40 drunk teens inside

Underage drinking in chauffeured vehicles has become the next target for RCMP in Surrey, B.C., after police say officers stopped a bus and found 40 intoxicated teens inside.

All of those on board were aged between 15 and 18; several tickets issued to driver

The B.C. government announced stricter rules in April 2019 to beef up safety for party buses, including having a safety monitor on board when minors are travelling on a bus or in a limousine. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Underage drinking in chauffeured vehicles has become the next target for RCMP in Surrey, B.C., after police say officers stopped a bus and found 40 intoxicated teens inside.

The RCMP said in a new release that it joined with Surrey bylaw enforcement members to focus enforcement on the so-called party buses.

Police said they made their discovery last month during a traffic stop. They found open liquor on the bus and all of those inside were between the ages of 15 and 18.

Police said they were acting on a tip that young people were paying a fee and being permitted to drink alcohol on board.

Numerous tickets were issued to the driver of the bus for infractions that included operating over the 35-person capacity, having open liquor in the vehicle, and not holding a chauffeur's licence.

'Money is the motive'

Other chauffeured vehicle operators say there should be tougher penalties for those who break the rules, especially if it involves minors.

Raj Nagie, owner of Elite Limousine service, said the Passenger Transportation Board should have a zero tolerance policy for drivers who break the rules, especially if it involves minors

"[The] majority of companies nowadays are really abiding by the law," said Nagie. "But there's always somebody that may not follow it because money is the motive."

Sgt. Ian MacLellan said the RCMP is releasing the information to make sure parents know youth may be accessing alcohol in such situations.

The B.C. government introduced stricter rules in April 2019 to beef up safety on party buses.

Operators are now required to have a safety monitor on board when minors are travelling on a bus or in a limousine.

The chaperones must pass a criminal record check and have first-aid certification, including training on how to administer naloxone in case of a drug overdose.

In 2016, a 23-year-old woman died after falling out of an open door on a party bus en route from Langley, B.C., to Vancouver.

With files from Estefania Duran

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