Bus owners blow gasket over ‘obstructive’ council demand

Children have been in tears and hundreds have already signed petitions at the news a unique East Coast attraction could be running out of steam.

Elizabeth makes her way through the streets of Whitby. Picture by Gerard Binks.

The owners of Elizabeth the Steam Bus, Viv and Vernon Smith, have announced that this summer will be their last.

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They say the straw that broke the camel’s back was the attitude of Scarborough Council to a request for Elizabeth to be watered for a dozen days a year at Whitby Marina when their usual hosts Whitby Town FC are busy on match days.

They say they were told they could only do this if she fits into a parking bay and pays for the time she is stationary – a matter of minutes. Mr Smith said: “There are a variety of reasons but the council’s behaviour is a catalyst. We think it’s time the council wakes up the level of public support and match it instead of being what we perceive as obstructive.”

The 11-tonne bus has been doing the rounds of Whitby for eight years now, carrying up to 50,000 passengers a year. The council said it was “surprised” by the claims and had only started discussions last Friday. It added: “We are still trying to work out how we can assist them.”