The Scarborough News

Ex-bus boss secures a taxi licence

- By Ian Johnson ian.johnson@jpress.co.uk Twitter: @Ian_JohnsonSN

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.

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