Information is not available in the form requested. Deregulation has encouraged operators to introduce minibuses on their services and they now represent about 10 to15 per cent. of all PSVs used on local services. Passengers in over 400 areas are benefiting from this flexible form of transport.
With respect, does that answer not show that the Minister does not really know what has happened as a result of the Transport Act 1985? Should the Government not do more to survey the congestion that arises in some areas, as well as boasting about the improvements achieved? Many people have suffered a deterioration of service. Why does the Minister not analyse the situation and give a full report to the House?
The hon. Gentleman will be interested to know that the latest research shows an increase from 400 minibuses operating in 40 places throughout the country before deregulation to no fewer than 5,600 in over 400 places. The big advantage of the minibus is that it reaches those parts that bigger buses cannot reach.
Is my hon. Friend aware that I, like the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike), come from Lancashire and that, in the rural parts of Lancashire that I represent, there are more minibuses than ever before, which are reaching far more customers in those areas and are greatly appreciated by the communities there?