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To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate he has made of the number of hon. Members whose constituents could gain access to the line of route, including the House of Commons, on a Wednesday (a) in 2002, and (b) in 2003, having travelled by public transport (i) without and (ii) with the use, where eligible, of railway Network cards.
In 2002, 42 Wednesday mornings were available for tours and approximately 600 visitors a day were accommodated. In 2003, it is estimated that 41 Wednesday mornings will be available for tours and that 740 constituents a day could have access to the Line of Route, with a further 1,200 on Wednesday afternoons during Adjournments. This greater throughput is possible due to a more efficient operation following the creation of the Central Tours Office.
It is not possible to forecast the impact of railway network cards, but for guidance, groups would need to arrive at the Palace by 9.15 am on Wednesdays to complete a tour which includes the Chamber. Access to the Line of Route is available on tours booked with the Central Tours Office until 1200 on Wednesdays, although these tours exclude the House of Commons Chamber.