Buses (Mounting-platforms)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th June 1971.

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Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire 12:00 am, 16th June 1971

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to take steps to ensure in future that the mounting-platform on all buses, which is some cases exceeds 16 inches from the ground, is made low enough for disabled and elderly people, people with shopping-bags and small children to board buses easily.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

My right hon. Friend has no proposals to change the law, but we shall be drawing the attention of public transport operators to the special needs of disabled travellers.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

I appreciate that it might be a tremendous task to change all existing buses, but will my hon. Friend consider a change in the law, if necessary, to ensure that platforms are lower on all buses built in future?

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

I note what my right hon. and learned Friend has said, but there is a difficulty here. If platforms were reduced in height there would be the possibility, with the springing of modern buses, of a collision between the platforms and objects on the road. There is also the fact that occasionally a bus is able to draw close to the kerb, thereby enabling a disabled person more easily to climb aboard. If platforms were reduced in height or contrivances were added to them, there would be an additional problem of contact with the kerb.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for replying to my representations on this subject on behalf of the disabled people in my area. Will he consult his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services with a view to establishing a working party consisting of doctors and transport people, not only from his Department but also from among those working in rehabilitation units of hospitals where the technical problems can be looked at thoroughly, and will he follow any advice that is given by further action by his Department?

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

I appreciate the point, but I must tell the hon. Gentleman that, in association with the Association for the Disabled, my Department is preparing a survey on this matter, which I hope will be sent to all operators and, no doubt, local authorities as well.