The Scarborough News
Ex-bus boss secures a taxi licence
Former Shoreline Suncruisers boss Tom Stephenson is now working as a taxi driver, leaving question marks over his future at the firm.
The ex-transport manager was handed his licence by Scarborough Council just days after he was disqualified from his position by the bus watchdog.
At last month’s transport commissioner’s inquiry, Mr Stephenson apologised for risking passengers’ lives due to the shoddy state of his family’s fleet.
Sources say he is now driving for Boro Taxis. The firm, which has not denied the claim, has yet to comment.
Mr Stephenson was awarded the council licence on September 14, which he initially applied for in July. He was publicly disqualified from his position at Shoreline just four days earlier.
Scarborough Council confirmed he was awarded both a dual driver’s licence and a private hire vehicle licence, which, unlike Hackney Carriage licences, there isn’t a waiting list for, according to the authority. A council spokesperson added: “Both were new applications (and) not all applications go to committee. His application was granted in accordance with official policy.”
The former Shoreline boss was blamed at the Leeds inquiry, after safety officials found every bus inspected in a snap inspection had faults.
The deputy traffic commissioner heading the daylong inquiry claimed it was the worst case that he had ever seen.
The inspection was sparked by the tragic death of contractor Neil Brown, who was crushed to death after a bus he had been working under collapsed on top of him.
No blame was apportioned to Mr Stephenson for the death.
However, “gentle giant” Neil’s subsequent inquest heard his death had been preventable, after the firm’s staff failed to properly secure the handbrakes on the bus that crushed him.
Following the revelations, there were calls for North Yorkshire County Council to stop using the firm to transport Scarborough’s children to school but the authority has again vowed to stick with it.
Shoreline declined to comment on the licence, or if Mr Stephenson is still employed in a different role.