HC Deb 18 March 1920 vol 126 cc2386-7
75. Brigadier-General SURTEES

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the projected increased tramway fares and the consequent discomfort of the public; and if he thinks the time has come when companies deriving their power from Parliament, and whose ostensible mission is to run such systems for the public convenience, should be prevented from following the policy pursued by privately-owned concerns, who naturally wish them to pay their way and to give a dividend?


I have been asked to answer this question. I am aware of several proposals to increase tramway fares, and several such increases have already been sanctioned under the Statutory Undertakings (Temporary Increase of Charges) Act, 1918. Many tramway undertakings are at present represented to be worked on terms which do not admit of adequate provision for depreciation or renewal, and some at an actual loss. This applies to tramways owned by Local Authorities as well as to those which are in the hands of private companies, and it is necessary that in the latter case such undertakings should be able both to pay their way and to provide a reasonable return on the capital invested. The whole question is now engaging the Minister's attention.


In the opinion of the Ministry of Transport, are tramways still considered to be part of our system of locomotion, or are they considered as a means of locomotion to be obsolete?


We have not arrived at that conclusion.