VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Just in time for the holiday party season, party bus operators in B.C. now need permission from teen passengers’ parents to carry them.
Starting December 1, teens will need their parents to give operators written consent forms with information on their destination before they’re allowed to take a trip. The forms include pick-up and drop-off times, destinations, legal and safety requirements of party bus services, and how to report concerns or get more information about rider safety, and how to report problems that could come up.
Operators that add new vehicles to their fleets or have new business licenses also now required to have a safety monitor available while driving minors. As of April 1, all party bus operators will need them.
These rules are welcomed changes to Danielle Raymond, whose sister Shannon died after drinking alcohol and taking ecstasy on a party bus when she was only 16. Although she later died at a friend’s home, the family has been lobbying for changes to the industry, saying it should be responsible for what happens aboard their vehicles.
She says consent forms with detailed itineraries are a good idea.
“So everybody knows what’s going on, so there’s transparency, so there’s not going to be situations anymore where you have kids getting dumped off in the middle of a parking lot,” she says. “It’s just an amazing moment, really, to see this finally coming to fruition.”
Party bus operators will need to have one bus monitor who is at least 25 years old, who has passed a background check and completed training, for every 15 passengers who are minors. They will be tasked with making sure the safety requirements are fulfilled, watch how passengers are acting, and report unsafe or illegal activities to the driver, who is responsible for safety of everyone inside the vehicle.
WATCH: Party bus changes
B.C.’s transportation minister Clare Trevena said the changes are long overdue.
“Families have been waiting a long time for stricter safety standards that help boost safety every single time a minor is travelling on a party bus,” Trevena said in a release. “I’m very pleased to see these new requirements start up in time for the holiday season and New Year’s Eve.”
The rules come in to effect for new bookings starting December 1.
– With files from Renee Bernard