London Underground System

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th February 1964.

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Mr. Gresham Cooke:

asked the Minister of Transport if, in considering methods of relieving traffic congestion in London, he will make a special study of the methods of the Paris Metro system, where there are three route miles of railways to every one square mile of the Paris area, with a view to extending the London Underground system, which has only one route mile to every four square miles of the area served.

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

Responsibility for any new developments on the London Underground system rests with the London Transport Board, which has a direct interest in the relief of traffic congestion.

Any proposals made by the Board must be related to the particular needs and circumstances of London, which are very different from those of Paris. But London Transport has studied the Paris Metro and other foreign systems for any ideas which might usefully be developed here.

Mr. Gresham Cooke:

Will my hon. Friend point out to the London Transport Board that the Paris Metro system is 12 times more intensive than the London Underground system and thereby leads to less traffic being on the roads and to less congestion on the buses? Would he also point out that areas like Chelsea and South London are not served to a marked degree by the Underground and that, if the Board wants to relieve congestion, that is the way to do it?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

I cannot agree with my hon. Friend and it pains me to say so. Paris is a smaller and more compact city. A larger part of the population lives in the central area and the Metro provides an intensive service for that area. It does not have to serve the outer suburbs and there is no highly-developed network of bus services comparable with that in London for short journeys. The circumstances are very different.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

Surely the extension of Underground facilities in London are a matter not just for the London Transport Board, but for the Minister? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any intention on his part, or on the part of his Department, to extend our present inadequate Underground services?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

London Transport is considering certain lines in London, one of them being an extension of the Victoria Line to Brixton, and another a possible link between Aldwych and Waterloo, but it is awaiting the results of the London traffic survey before putting forward any firm proposals.