Q&A - Passenger Paying for Gas

Q&A ImageIf someone offers to help pay for the gas and they give you the money right away.

Could they sue you in the case of an accident?  If they pay at the end of the trip is that different?

What is the protocol for passengers paying for gas if there is a protocol?


It is illegal in the province

It is illegal in the province of BC to receive monetary compensation for transportation services for drivers/entities that are not specifically licensed and insured as commercial transport. (i.e. Taxi, Bus, etc)

The typical "walk-around" for such matter for persons wishing to car-pool together is to alternate vehicles on a time interval basis: 1 week you drive, other week they drive.

As a driver/operator of a vehicle, you are responsible for your passenger's safety and safe-keeping from financial peril which may likely result in-case of an accident. Such responsibility is independant of fininacial relations above described. In-fact, if a bum breaks into a car, disengages the hand break, rolls down the hill and crashes into a ditch, the owner of the vehicle could have potential liability towards the well-being of the individual involved.

If an accident occurs, the fault assignement will dictate owners/operators liability towards the passenger(s). If the fault is 100% operator's fault, all claims to ICBC from the injured passengers will be satisfied from the owner/operator's policy. If the fault is 100% other vehicle, then all claims will be satisfied out of the insurance policy of the other vehicle, or out of under-insured motorist protection fund.

Of course in-case when the underinsured motorist fund is used, the ammount of the claims covered will be billed directly to the liable party. i.e. if you carry $200,000 3rd party liability, and are involved in a 100% fault crash with 4 other passengers involved. Each passenger then submits a theoretical claim of $100,000 and if it is granted, you are liable for $100k x 4 - $200k (3rd party liability coverage) = $200,000 personal liability against the policy holder.


Strictly speaking, even without the crash, accepting payment for gas to transport anyone can land you in trouble.

The Passenger Transportation Act sets the following definitions:

"compensation" includes a rate, remuneration or reward of any kind paid, payable or promised, or received or demanded, directly or indirectly;

"commercial passenger vehicle" means a motor vehicle operated on a highway by or on behalf of a person who charges or collects compensation for the transportation of passengers in that motor vehicle;

"general passenger vehicle" means a commercial passenger vehicle when it is not operated as an inter-city bus or as a passenger directed vehicle;

There are a number of offences set out in section 57 of the PTA that you could run afoul of in this type of circumstance.

However, there is an exemption for people who participate in a carpool:

"car pool vehicle" means a car pool vehicle within the meaning of subsection (2);

(2)  A motor vehicle that can accommodate a driver and not more than 11 passengers is a car pool vehicle on any day if

(a) on that day, the motor vehicle is used for no purpose other than to transport passengers on one return trip between

(i)  the residences of any or all of the driver and the passengers, and

(ii)  the respective places of employment of the driver and passengers, or a common destination, and

(b) neither the driver nor the operator receives any compensation for that transportation other than contributions for operating costs, which contributions do not, in the aggregate, exceed the operating costs that are attributable to the return trip referred to in paragraph (a).

"operating costs" means the costs for

(a) gasoline,

(b) tolls,

(c) ferry fares,

(d) insurance, and

(e) maintenance,

but does not include depreciation;

To move on to the suing aspect of your question, the passenger may choose to sue the driver of a vehicle for compensation post crash whether money has changed hands before the ride, after the ride or not at all.

Passenger Paying for Gas

"In-fact, if a bum breaks into a car, disengages the hand break (sic), rolls down the hill and crashes into a ditch, the owner of the vehicle could have potential liability towards the well-being of the individual involved."

This a direct quote from a previous answer, and if this is the law, then the law is indeed an ass! The owner has taken every possible precaution, yet the deliberate act of the criminal in breaking in can be ignored. How is this justice? Would this also affect the owner's Safe Driver record?

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