Whitby’s historic attraction may be thing of the past under bus stop plans

A TREASURED attraction could be lost from a seaside town under new bus stop plans being considered by highways chiefs.

Elizabeth, the oldest steam bus in the country, in Whitby

The owners of Whitby’s steam bus, fondly known as Elizabeth, fear proposals to move its stop away from the seafront will hit passing custom and “annihilate” their business.

Vernon and Viv Smith, who currently run 20-minute trips from the bandstand in front of the lifeboat museum on Pier Road, said they may have to take the bus and their charabanc coach, Charlotte, to another resort or sell the vehicles if the plans go ahead.

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“What we do is visual, so if you can’t see them it really would annihilate our business,” said Mr Smith.

Scores of supporters have signed a petition and written to North Yorkshire County Council urging a re-think. Mr Smith said the outpouring of public support had been “absolutely overwhelming”.

“The steam bus, for whatever reason, captures people’s hearts, both locals and visitors,” he said.

Highways officers, who are to meet with the couple next Friday to find a way forward, said the plans were to protect passengers, who currently board the vehicle from the road where they might be at risk from passing traffic.

“We have no desire to interfere with people’s enjoyment of services such as the Whitby steam bus, but the safety of passengers has to be considered as a priority,” said a spokesman.

“We are inviting operators who use the Pier Road area to discuss the situation with us, with a view to arriving at a mutually satisfactory arrangement.”