HC Deb 05 March 1897 vol 47 cc47-8

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is in a position to state what steps have been taken since the last Session of Parliament to provide bicycles for the use of letter carriers and telegraph messengers in the United Kingdom, and especially in the country and suburban districts; what price has been paid; and to whom and in what circumstances or cases will an officer of the Department be supplied with a bicycle, and upon what terms as to the care or safe custody of the machine?


For many years it, has been the practice to establish cycle posts in rural districts where the conditions are suitable, but no special advance in this direction has been made since the last Session of Parliament. It must be recollected that only those rural posts are adapted for cycles where the roads are tolerably flat and in good order, and where the postman has not to cross fields and follow bye-roads. In those cases, where cycles are used by postmen in the service of the Department, the Department does not itself provide the cycles, but grants an allowance of four shillings a week in each case, the postman making his own arrangements as to purchase and maintenance. As regards telegraph messengers, arrangements have been made since last Session to supply bicycles—which will remain the property of the Department—to 22 provincial towns as an experiment. At the same time weekly allowances will be given to telegraph messengers in a corresponding number of provincial towns to use bicycles, of which they themselves will become the possessors and for the care of which they will be responsible. The result of this concurrent trial of the two systems will enable the Department to decide which will be preferable as a permanent arrangement. In the suburban districts of London sonic bicycles, the property of the Department, are about to be used experimentally with the same object. It would not be expedient to state the price paid for the bicycles. The Postmaster General has enjoined upon postmasters and sub-postmasters generally the desirability of arranging for the employment of persons mounted on cycles in the delivery of telegrams wherever it is practicable, especially for distances exceeding three miles. For such distances the charge for delivery by cycle will be at the rate of 4d. per mile, as compared with the charge of 1s. per mile by man and horse.

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