Danielle Raymond and her mother Julie attend announcement by Transportation Minister Todd Stone to increase regulation of party buses before this spring's high school graduation.

Danielle Raymond and her mother Julie attend announcement by Transportation Minister Todd Stone to increase regulation of party buses before this spring's high school graduation.

Party bus licensing tightened up

Each vehicle must be licensed, operating areas restricted before grad season this spring

Relatives of a teenage girl who died after taking drugs on a “party bus” ride applauded changes made Thursday to tighten licensing regulations for limousine operators.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced an overhaul of limousine licensing that will require each limousine or bus with perimeter seating to go through its own inspection and hold a licence. This replaces a “general authorization” limousine licence that allowed party bus operators to work anywhere in B.C. and add vehicles to their fleet at any time.

Stone said strict licensing and display of a special plate will allow police to know where party buses are operating so they can be checked. The changes are to take effect by May, before high school graduation events that are a mainstay of the party bus business.

Danielle Raymond and her mother Julie attended the announcement, calling it part of the reforms they have sought since Danielle’s sister Shannon died in July 2008 after drinking and then boarding a party bus where she took the street drug ecstasy.

Shannon’s death at age 16 was the first in a series of tragedies with party buses, which have expanded to 4,000 vehicles in B.C. Danielle said her own research showed companies advertising open bars on board.

“Basically their whole business operates around facilitating the minors who use them to get hammered, for lack of a better term,” she said.

In February 2013, 16-year-old Ernest Azoadam died on a party bus in Surrey. In November of that year, a 17-year-old girl from Abbotsford was dumped at a truck stop an assaulted after a trip on a party bus.

NDP transportation critic George Heyman echoed the Raymonds’ suggestion to consider requiring chaperones on party buses to make sure under-age drinking or drug use don’t occur. That’s part of pending legislation in Washington state, where party buses are allowed to serve alcohol to those old enough to drink.

Heyman said the government should also require safe drop-off locations for the buses, which now drop off passengers at bars and then pick them up later to go to another bar.

“One of the roles of the chaperones would be to ensure that no drinking takes place on party buses, period,” he said.

 

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

Just Posted

Geographic distribution of COVID-19 by local health area, for the week of April 25 to May 1.(BCCDC/Special to The News)
COVID-19 case counts drop in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows for fourth straight week

CDC stats show 2,664 people in area hit by pandemic since January 2020

A man paddling alone capsized his newly purchased kayak on the Alouette River on Sunday, May 2. (Klamer Eggens/ Facebook)
Pitt Meadows Paddling Club provides water safety tips for canoers and kayakers

Katie Stein-Sather says: know how to swim, go with friends, be aware of boat and surroundings

Grass Greetings of Pitt Meadows were the opening day sponsor for the Haney Farmers Market on Saturday. (Special to The News)
Great start to Haney Farmers Market

Market returns Saturday mornings in downtown Maple Ridge

(Drive BC)
UPDATE: All lanes open on Lougheed Highway after crash in Maple Ridge

Incident was first reported around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday

Gardeners at the Intergenerational Garden participated in the Grow-A-Row program for the Friends In Need Food Bank in previous years. (The News files)
Grow-A-Row for the food bank in Maple Ridge

Friends In Need Food Bank in need of gardeners to produce fresh produce

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A plexiglass barrier is pictured creating a barrier to protect a cashier at a grocery store in North Vancouver, B.C. Sunday, March 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Grocery store workers now eligible for COVID vaccines in Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal

Workers will be fast-tracked through the system, which is otherwise booking for people in their 50s

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Most Read