Conurbation Transport Authorities

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th April 1967.

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Photo of Mr Daniel Awdry Mr Daniel Awdry , Chippenham 12:00 am, 19th April 1967

asked the Minister of Transport whether, before presenting the Transport Bill to Parliament, she will publish a further White Paper setting out in detail her final proposals concerning the constitution of conurbation transport authorities, their precise operating areas, the ownership of the assets, their financial accountability, and all their possible sources of income.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Yes, Sir. I intend to set out in a White Paper my detailed proposals for conurbation transport authorities, including their constitution and financial arrangements. The precise operating areas, however, will probably be determined following the legislation itself.

Photo of Mr Daniel Awdry Mr Daniel Awdry , Chippenham

I am grateful for that reply. Is the right hon. Lady aware that many municipal transport undertakings feel that they have not been consulted nearly enough? Will she undertake that she will make no final decision until she has fully considered all their views?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I have been at pains to consult them in considerable detail and, of course, I shall take their views into account.

Photo of Mr Charles Mapp Mr Charles Mapp , Oldham East

Will the areas of these proposed conurbation authorities embrace the whole of the countryside? If they are purely conurbation authorities, what will be the effect of the neutralisation of the rural countryside on their fare structure? Will it not be to lead to a substantial increase in fares?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

That is one the considerations which has to be studied area by area. That is why, as I have said, it would not be appropriate to try to define the boundaries in the main legislation. That will be done by Order under the Bill and as a consequence of detailed discussions with the areas concerned.

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

When does the right hon. Lady expect the White Paper to be published?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Certainly before the legislation and in time to give hon. Members a chance to study the details so that they can be fully informed in the discussions which will take place on the Bill itself.

Photo of Mr Daniel Awdry Mr Daniel Awdry , Chippenham

asked the Minister of Transport what estimate she has made of the effect on the level of bus fares and the frequency of services of the formation of new conurbation transport authorities.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

These are matters for which the authorities themselves will be responsible.

Photo of Mr Daniel Awdry Mr Daniel Awdry , Chippenham

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the possibility that these new authorities with their very large staffs will in fact put up the general level of fares?

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

No, Sir, because there are staffs now for the running of public transport bus operations. The difference is that by her plan my right hon. Friend is bringing together the staffs of the traffic controllers, the bus operators and those who are concerned with road planning in order that an efficient transport plan can be produced for the first time.

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

In order to get a better frequency and an easier flow of services in conurbations, will the White Paper indicate any control of the present freight services within the conurbations?

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

We are now discussing passenger transport authorities.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

My right hon. Friend has put forward a plan for dealing with freight by the establishment of the National Freight Organisation.