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September 06 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Death of sole trader leaves
passengers in the lurch

The death of Ripon-based Shaun McGowan, who traded as Shaun’s Minibus & Coach Hire, has left North Yorkshire County Council scrambling to cover his 30 contracts just as the new school year started.

Mr McGowan, 52, who died from cancer on Saturday (2 September) was a sole trader, who ran a taxi, minibus and bus business, and held an O-Licence for 14 vehicles. When a sole trader dies, the business automatically falls.

The same happens if someone in a partnership leaves or dies - as the partnership automatically fails - which is why Traffic Commissioners strongly recommend that operators use limited company status.

In 2015 Mr McGowan started a commercial Ripon town service using a pair of ex-Metroline Optare Tempo hybrids.. It did not have any financial support from the council and no operators have expressed an interest. As a result, it has not been covered.

Mr McGowan’s two contracted bus routes, the Thirsk-Northallerton route 153 and Ripon-Thirsk route 147, were taken over on an emergency basis from Monday (4 September) by Hodgson Coaches and Dales & District respectively.

His other contracts were for mainstream and special needs school transport.

Due to different licencing arrangements, the non-contracted private hire/taxi ranking business, trading as Arrow Taxis, continues in operation.

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