Shut down the party bus?

Kelowna RCMP, through a tip from a concerned parent and Castanet, have, at least briefly, taken Kelowna's party bus off the streets.

Police, through information from Citizens on Patrol, pulled the bus over on Highway 97 near Leckie Saturday night about 10 p.m.

Cst. Kris Clark, says 'copious' amounts of open alcohol were seized from the bus and the passengers were sent on their way.

"The driver was held responsible for the open alcohol and was issued violation tickets ($230) under the Motor Vehicle Act and the Liquor Control and Licensing Act," says Clark.

The driver did have an appropriate class of licence, however, Clark says he was operating the bus without the proper chauffeur's permit.

The bus is an old converted school bus, painted black.

The seats had been removed and benches installed down each side. There was a dance floor in the centre with a 'stripper pole.'

The bus came equipped with a driver and a DJ.

Allegations of drinking and under-age drinking, surfaced last week from a West Kelowna woman who says her 15-year-old son was not allowed back on the bus when he vomited outside the bus.

Trudi Schnyder says her son was part of a group of teens who paid $15 each to rent the bus for a four hour party Saturday, January 14.

She says all were under age.

"They were told they could bring alcohol as long as it's not in an alcohol bottle," says Schnyder.

She adds the kids were told if the police boarded the bus they would have to 'hide it in a purse.'


Photo: Contributed - Facebook

Schnyder says she knew her son was taking alcohol with him, but was not expecting what happened later in the evening. She admits it was a bad parenting moment.

She says the bus picked up the kids at Shannon Lake Elementary School about 8 p.m. They were supposed to return at midnight.

At about 10 p.m., Schnyder says she received a text from her son saying 'pick me up.'

"After that I got 'Kelowna' and a bunch of letters (by text)."

She was unable to find out where.

All she knew, from another parent, was that he had thrown up and had been kicked off the party bus.

After several frantic minutes of texting and calling, Schnyder says someone finally answered her son's phone.

"He was a Kelowna bylaw officer and he had found my son at the Shell Station on Harvey and Richter in the flower bed on the highway side of the store," says Schnyder.

"He wasn't wearing a jacket because he was going to be on the bus all night."

Another mom had taken all of the kids' jackets so the coats would not be misplaced and because the kids were on a warm bus and thought they would not be needed.

Schnyder says paramedics were checking over her son when she arrived and, despite the cold temperatures, gave him a clean bill of health.

"At that point I was livid. Thank God that man found him."

"Yes, my son had been drinking, I'm not an idiot, kids drink. We thought as parents, we know they're going to drink, let's keep them in a safe place. We were so wrong."

Schnyder says her son had a pop bottle half full of vodka.

She says she doesn't understand how an adult could just leave a kid on the side of the road.

"You're responsible for them. Make sure they phone somebody that is going to come and get them. You don't leave them in the middle of nowhere, especially if they're not wearing a coat.

She says they thought the business was legit because, how could they be in business it they weren't. Schnyder says the RCMP told her they have found young females who've also been kicked off the bus, on other occasions, and some of them were only wearing short little party skirts.

A representative of the company says he has no knowledge of the specific incident but admits that if someone has been drinking prior to getting on the bus, is fighting or causing a disturbance, they are removed from the bus at a gas station where they can call a cab to get a ride home.

He admits there is no age restriction for people to rent the bus but says they do not allow drinking on the bus.

"We tell everybody who is renting the bus not to bring alcohol on the bus. We're not necessarily checking people when they come on but if they take anything on then they are taking their own risk," says the company representative.

"If we see it we ask them to take it off the bus."

Meantime, Clark says it is illegal for anybody to drink in any moving vehicle regardless of age.

Clark adds the bus does have a business licence to operate within the city.

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