HC Deb 24 June 1924 vol 175 cc362-82
Viscount CURZON

I beg to move, in page 13, line 4, after the word "omnibus" to insert the words "or tramway car."

This Amendment requires very little explanation. It was brought up in Committee, and only defeated by a very narrow majority. As the Bill is drafted it deals solely with omnibuses and with no other form of traction. What we say is that a Bill which is to give the Minister power should deal with all forms of traffic. We think that thereby we ought to secure much more elastic arrangements. We think also the trams are unsatisfactory in some places and may be in some other places a cause of grave obstruction of the traffic. I am not nearly so much opposed to the trams as a good many hon. Members opposite may think, and for this reason: that I believe you cannot deal with the traffic problem of London unless you have the tramway system. It is quite impossible for anybody to imagine that you should uproot the tramway system, and then, without the trams, bring the working population of London to their work in the morning, and take them back at night to their dormitories. At present there would be nothing—to take an extreme case—to prevent the tramway authority, say the London County Council, from attempting to crush out the competition of the buses by running an enormous number of trams over particular roads or, it might be—to put it the other way about—that the omnibuses might endeavour to get rid of the competition of the tramways by doing a somewhat similar thing.

We think the Minister ought to have power, under these circumstances, to deal with the trains as he would deal with the omnibuses. I know it will be said that the tramway system is not really the same as the omnibus system, because the first has got rails laid down and cannot change its routes. But after this Bill passes neither will the omnibuses be able to change their route. They will get tied down very much in the same way as are now the tramways, except that in the case of the one they run upon the rails. Therefore I do submit that the Minister ought to have the power to deal with the trams in exactly the same way as the omnibuses may be dealt with, if it should be found necessary. If hon. Members think that some safeguard is necessary I would point out this, that it is the ambition of myself and some of those with whom I associated to bring the Minister more directly in touch with the House of Commons than is done under this Bill at present. I am perfectly certain that the House of Commons, at any rate, would never tolerate undue interference with the tram system of London by a Minister or anybody else, if it operated to the, detriment of the working population of London. The Minister must come here every year for his salary, and in that lies the safeguard against any excessive use of such power as we are seeking to give him. It is purely a permissive power and it says that he may do it supposing he finds it necessary.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I do not quite agree with the Proposer of this Amendment on one point, and that is where he says that the trams are necessary to carry the large number of people who wish to be carried. A tram is a vehicle which weighs anything from 15 to 30 tons. It is fixed to a permanent way, and it has to go in one definite direction. The tramway undertaking has become a high example of municipal enterprise, and we are continually legislating against the omnibus, although nothing is being mentioned about the tram. As a matter of fact the tram is looked upon as something sacred and as something which should never be assailed. It is an inflexible vehicle which has to keep in one particular line. The object of this Bill is to make traffic more free, and if you are going to allow tramcars to stop in the centre of the road how are you going to reduce the congestion without reducing the number of trams which are allowed to run on a particular route? I will take for example the City of Manchester. I think that city ought to be ashamed of itself for having such an abominable system of trams. There you will find routes with no competition from the buses and only trams, and there you find a greater congestion than there is in London. Let me cite another instance where the trams have an absolute monopoly, and that is Leeds. I had a personal experience of this on Sunday last, in Leeds, when I travelled three and a-half miles on a tram to a very fine park called Roundhay Park. When I wanted to get home I found there was only one means of transport to get back to Leeds. About 8.30 I came out of the park gates, and there was a queue 250 yards long of people being marshalled like animals into a tram. Passing this gate were chars-a-banc, and they were not allowed to pick people up at that gate because the council controlled that line, and hundreds of people had to walk home, and I was one of them.

That might happen in London where the Minister of Transport might say, "There are too many omnibuses, and we are going to stop them and let the trams go on," and then you would be in exactly the position which I have described. I hate trams myself. I regard them as a legacy of the last generation, and they are an old man's novelty. Personally, I think a lot of work could be found for the unemployed by pulling up the tramways. I think the Minister should have power to restrict trams, and it should not always be the omnibuses. The tram is doomed, and it will have to go within the next 50 years. Let this Bill be the first nail in the coffin of the tram, and I think the Minister should be able to say that this inflexible, heavy, cumbersome vehicle should be prohibited from being used in a narrow street. Therefore, we want to include the trams so that London will not get into the same deplorable condition as we find exists in Manchester and Leeds.


I do not know whether the hon. Member who has just sat down appreciates the fact that the London County Council tramways carry about 25 per cent. of the passengers who travel from day to day in London. During the early morning rush and the evening rush, when the omnibuses and the tubes do not lay themselves out to deal with the traffic, and particularly in the case of the workmen's traffic, I can assure hon. Members that you could not possibly deal with London traffic if the tramways were abolished. I would also like to point out that some £14,000,000 have been invested in the London County Council tramway enterprise, and that would all be destroyed if you abolished the trams. Hon. Members opposite will insist on putting public authorities and private liability companies on exactly the same footing.

May I point out that the tramways cannot be run at all without the House of Commons and another place giving them power to run, and another place is very active indeed in interfering with traffic Bills, and quite improperly so. All the embargoes imposed by this Bill are additional to the serious obstruction that already exists. If Parliament has sanctioned a tramway there should be no higher authority, and this House ought not to give power through a Minister to restrict the number of tramcars to be run. The second consideration is that surely, if you have a considerable amount of fixed capital such as is represented by the laying of a tramway track, with its conduit or overhead wires, it would be contrary to the highest principles of public economy that you should then diminish the use you are going to get out of that fixed capital. If an omnibus changes from one street to another it loses nothing except that it must eater for a different traffic, but if the use of a tramline is to be diminished by, say, 50 per cent., it means that the capital cost of running each of those trams is immediately going to be doubled. Again I say, that coming from and hon. Member whose election some time ago had something to do with public economy, that seems to me to be an extraordinary proposal.


May I say that we have no trams in my constituency. We have more sense.


That may account for the hon. Member's position. The sooner the Richmond Corporation gets some tramcars the sooner will he change his opinion. But I have no violent prejudice in favour of tramways. I think it is unfortunate for Members, either of this House or of a local authority, to get a violent prejudice in favour of the tramway as against an omnibus, or in favour of the omnibus as against the tramway. I believe there is room for all of them within their proper sphere, and that is one of the reasons why I strongly resent the action of Parliament in the past in refusing powers to the London County Council to run omnibuses as well as trams. If only Parliament had been sufficiently broad-minded, which it was not, to allow us reasonable freedom in running our own traffic the London County Council would be in a position of far greater freedom to consider the merits of particular forms of transport, instead of being driven to use tramways when, perhaps, in certain individual cases, it would have been better not to do so. To prove my impartiality on this question of the different forms of traffic, and to show that all I am out for is to get the best results in the interests of the citizens of London, I may mention to the House that recently at the London County Council—this terrible Tory body that hon. Members opposite hate so much—I moved a Resolution on this very matter in order to get the facts, because I thought there was something in the case of omnibuses and rail-less cars in given circumstances. I wanted the facts, and I moved this Resolution: That it be referred to the Highways Committee to consider and report as to the relative costs and efficiency of municipal rail-less trams, and motor omnibuses operated by provincial corporations as compared with the council's tramways and the London combine omnibuses; and as to how far it would be sound policy for the future development of the council's undertaking to be by way of rail-less trams and omnibuses rather than fixed track tramways. That is an impartial Resolution, aimed at getting the facts. That is all. Let the facts determine the traffic policy on these matters. What did we find? Let it be remembered that a tramcar in London carries something like double the number of people that even a modern omnibus will carry—certainly 50 per cent. more. Therefore, its carrying capacity is very much greater, and its cost per passenger seat must be revised accordingly. The total expenditure per car-mile of operating London County Council tramcars during the year 1922–23 was 13.85d. Such a car carries 50 per cent. more passengers than one of the London General Omnibus Company's omnibuses. The London General Omnibus Company's omnibuses cost per car-mile 14.42d., carrying a substantially smaller number of passengers; so that the London County Council tramways, carrying, I suggest, at least 50 per cent. more passengers, cost actually about ¾d. per car-mile less than the omnibus.


Why, then, did the Liverpool Council adopt omnibuses?


Members of local councils are often of similar mentality to the hon. Member for Richmond. They are very much dominated by prejudices, and many of them are going to be on the Minister's advisory committee to bring an impartial mind to bear on this matter. A tramway map in London is a political map. The West End has a great hole in it where no tramway may come. That is partly because of silly political prejudice—simply because the tramway is municipally owned, which is a crime in itself according to some hon. Members opposite—and partly because the people in question do not like such proletarian vehicles as tramcars to come into their districts. As a matter of fact, the majority of the local authorities in London have agreed to tramways. Poplar Borough Council does not object to tramways; Hackney Borough Council does not object to tramways; nearly all the borough councils do not object, except those superior people in the West End of London, nearly all of whom are the owners of private cars; and it is the same with the City Corporation.


Are you speaking with an unprejudiced mind now?

9.0 P.M.


I did not interrupt the hon. Member when he was speaking. I think I have dealt with almost all his interruptions, and I think it is time he realised that he has had enough interruptions. The question was put to the managers of certain provincial traffic undertakings. Let me take the case of Birmingham, and I wish that some of the hon. and right hon. Members for Birmingham were here. They ought to be here advocating the municipal ownership of these forms of traffic. Birmingham is fortunate in having powers to run all three forms of traffic, and it does so. It runs tramcars, it runs trolley omnibuses, and it runs petrol omnibuses, and, therefore, the manager, who is the common manager of the whole undertaking, may surely be accepted as an impartial person in regard to these various forms of traffic. What does the Birmingham tramway manager say? This is his summing up at the Municipal Tramways Association in August of last year:

  1. "(1) In anticipation of an extension, of an existing tramway, where it was reason- 368 ably probable that tramways would be required at some future date, I would use the trolley omnibus.
  2. (2) I would use the trolley omnibus in substitution for a single line of tramway where the traffics are light or where it was not possible to double the track, particularly when faced with reconstruction.
  3. (3) On routes in suburban districts where some sort of transport is necessary and where there was no likelihood of trams being required, I would certainly use the petrol omnibus.
  4. (4) I would use the petrol omnibus in running cross-country routes and in connecting up the outer termini of tramwavs.
  5. (5) I desire to repeat and emphasise that for the transport of large masses of people expeditiously and cheaply, the humble tramcar has no competitor and still holds the field."
That does not come from a man who is prejudiced, but from a man who, running all three forms of transport, bases his opinion on experience. I would beg the House, in considering future traffic policy, to give the municipalities full powers to run all sorts of traffic, letting them decide as to each upon its merits. In this particular case it would be the height of folly, having sanctioned the tramways, and large sums of money having been expended in Parliamentary expenses—it is one of this tragedies that municipalities have to come to this House at all to run tramways in their own streets; it is wrong and a waste of money, and other authorities waste money in fighting them—it would be an act of confiscation on the part of this House, having given the powers and allowed the tramways to be laid down, to say now that they shall only be used to the extent of half their capacity. It would be a waste of capital also, because the maximum load would not be got out of the capital used. For these reasons, and on the merits of the case and on the sheer facts, I hope the House will reject this Amendment.


We felt, in framing this Bill, that all that we could deal with was the omnibuses. I know that there are three or four other Amendments which seek in one way or another to take away these powers. Tramcars are essentially in a different position from omnibuses in every way. First of all there is the permanent way. You cannot move them. You have either to scrap them or let them go on. Large sums of money have been spent and they have statutory rights which there is no power in the Bill to take away from them. It seems to me it is useless to go on with the idea of dealing with the matter in this way at all. Certainly I could not accept the Amendment nor any other Amendment dealing with tramcars in one way or another with a view to restricting them.


The hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) said on the Second Reading that it was a great pity the municipalities which were given the power to indulge in transport trading were not given the power to do the whole business and to choose whatever form of transport they thought most desirable for dealing with the masses in London. It is, I think, owing to short-sighted policy in the past that we have got into the position to-day that municipalities will look upon the transport system in London through tramway eyes. I have a certain amount of sympathy with the Amendment because, although you cannot, I think, under this Bill take away the statutory right which exists to-day to run their trams, one must remember that as the traffic grows and as London becomes busier and busier, so those parts of the tramway system which abut into very crowded areas really become a non-paying part of your tramway system, because it is essential that when you have a vehicle which carries, as a tram does, nearly 80 per cent. more than an omnibus, if you are going to earn money and to run it efficiently it must be a moving and not a stationary vehicle. That is really what is happening to many of your tramway lines. You are getting congestion at the terminus through other traffic, and that is not paying. You will see now, because of one bridge being closed, as many as 45 trams in a row from Westminster Bridge down to Walnut Tree Walk, and that is the sort of thing that is going to occur more and more in future as traffic becomes worse. Consequently, although I will not go so far as to press that an Amendment of this kind should be accepted, I think the municipalities themselves will have to consider where their terminus on the London side is going to be fixed, because if they will soon have the power, as I hope they will, of running omnibuses as well as trams, it becomes purely a matter of £ s. d. to see where your traffic terminus is most suitably placed. As to the hon. Member's remarks with regard to the West End of London and the blot that it is that there are no trams, take a route like 25, which goes down Bond Street and Piccadilly to Victoria. Does anyone really seriously suggest running two lines of trams dawn Bond Street, because that is the alternative, and that is a route which can never be filled by omnibuses. It is very overcrowded from the point of view of traffic in the streets, but you can never put too many omnibuses on the 25 route. Yet what is the alternative? Will it be a solution to put trams down? You must look on the West End as a problem quite apart, and not blame one particular party of London administration for not doing a thing like that, which I think you will admit will not be for the benefit of traffic as a whole.


I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman will agree that there are plenty of streets in the West End which are wide and suitable for tramway traffic, and it was of those streets that I was speaking.

Lieut.-Colonel MOORE - BRABAZON

That is quite true, but I have been trying to explain that where you get bottle necks, trams must not go right through. Trams should start on broad roads and run to the outlying districts.


The point of my hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) was that this puzzle of London, with no real road from East to West or from North to South, has been made more difficult of development by reason of the limitation placed upon trams. Because of that the development of traffic has proceeded in such a way that we have the chaos that we have got to-day. But if you draw the conclusion that as the result of the closing of Waterloo Bridge the fault lies solely with the tram cars, anyone who has watched the traffic problem, as we have done, day after clay could point sometimes to half a dozen No. 12s one after the other waiting. So the evil is not confined to one particular form of locomotion, and indeed it is a problem which must be solved. Some day or other I hope the railway termini will end on the South side of the river, and that we shall be able to deal with our traffic in a much better way than we do at the moment. I hope ultimately we may have powers which will take the tramway system through at least one end of the great parks of London and thereby give us a chance. The argument of the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Becker) really verges on the ridiculous. We can travel at mid-day, when there is a real necessity for easing the congestion of traffic, and get people to come out and market and home before the big crowds commence. The omnibuses will carry you on the terms laid down by the publicly-owned tramways right to the end of Westminster Bridge and then charge you at their own sweet will until they come again on to the traffic lines of the Council tramways. As to comparing Leeds and Manchester one can only accept the hon. Member's own statement that he visited Roundhay Park, and I suppose the beauty of the park really upset his sense of proportion, because he actually said he was one of a queue going out on Sunday evening from Roundhay Park 250 yards in length. Any student of traffic problems knows that a queue 250 yards in length, or three-quarters of a mile, can be dealt with in 10 minutes by the tramway system as no other form of locomotion can deal with it


Not in Leeds.


The other point is, of course, a matter in which ordinary common sense ought to operate, and I will not go further with it. It is merely that if you look at the Manchester Corporation tramway service, operating in very narrow streets with a success which is remarkable, it is due to the fact that they have not had to end their termini at bottle necks and are given the opportunity of circular roads, which are denied to us. Take my own Division. We have the county council tramway cars ending at Abbey Wood. The Erith Council tramways begin there, and their vehicles go round to Bexley Heath Broadway, of which the hon. Member has faithful recollection. There they end, and the Erith Council admittedly bears a loss on its rates and will not give up its power of owning these trams. From there they run back in a circle and complete the circle through Erith and Bexley Heath back to Abbey Wood—two separate urban authorities running two wretched little lines of tramways, both bearing a loss on the rates, and all due to the limited powers which have been conferred upon the county council. For these reasons, I would suggest that this Amendment be not proceeded with, and that we proceed to the next Amendment.


I should not have intervened had it not been for two of the speeches we have heard from the other side. It is more or less a tragedy that so much municipal capital is invested in the tramway system. In the next ten years the muncipalities of this country will have to scrap completely the whole of their tramway systems.


I have allowed this Debate to go a little too wide. Future developments of tramways are not concerned with this Amendment.


I was replying to the point raised by the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Mills).


I allowed the hon. Member to go a little too far.


The tramways in London would be exceedingly dangerous in the West End. They drop their passengers in the middle of the street, and it is well known that the accidents which occur in the street are very much higher under the tramway system than under the omnibus system. I had the privilege not long ago of speaking to a gentleman connected with the "Safety First" movement, and he proved conclusively to me that the accidents which happened in connection with the trams were much higher than the accidents which occurred in connection with the omnibuses. I fail to see why hon. Members wish to place the disadvantages which are suffered in the East End into the West End, and why the West End should be made to suffer. I feel very strongly on this matter, because I know that in other towns the opinion is far from unanimous that the tramway system has been a success. I believe that tramways prevent the traffic problem from being dealt with in the way that it ought to be dealt with. It is a serious matter to the trade and commerce of this country that motor lorries have to waste much time owing to the regulations which are brought about because of the impediment to traffic caused by trams in the streets of London. I hope my Noble Friend will press this Amendment to a Division.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill." The House divided: Ayes, 96; Noes, 242.

Division No. 108.] AYES. [9.20 p.m.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Gates, Percy Rawilnson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peal
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Greene, W. P. Crawford Rawson, Alfred Cooper
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Rentoul, G. S.
Becker, Harry Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Berry, Sir George Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Blades, Sir George Rowland Harland, A. Robinson, W. E. (Burslem)
Bourne, Robert Croft Harvey, C.M.B. (Aberd'n & Kincardine) Ropner, Major L.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Henn, Sir Sydney H. Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Russell-Wells, Sir S. (London Univ.)
Bullock, Captain M. Hogbin, Henry Cairns Samuel, A. M. (surrey, Farnham)
Burman, J. B Hood, Sir Joseph Sandeman, A. Stewart
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.) Savery, S. S.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Shepperson, E. W.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth. S.) Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Jephcott, A. R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L. Kindersley, Major G. M. Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-In-Furness)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) King. Captain Henry Douglas Steel, Samuel Strang
Cunliffe. Joseph Herbert Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Dalkeith, Earl of Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th) Thurtle, E.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. M'Connell, Thomas E. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) MacDonald, R. Waddington, R.
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) McLean, Major A. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Dawson, Sir Philip Maden, H. Warrender, Sir Victor
Deans, Richard Storry Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Doyle, Sir N. Grattan Moulton, Major Fletcher Wells, S. R.
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Edmondson, Major A. J. Pennefather, Sir John Wragg, Herbert
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Penny, Frederick George Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Phillipson, Mabel TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Galbraith, J. F. W. Raine, W. Captain Viscount Curzon and Mr. Remer.
Ackroyd, T. R. Cove, W. G. Groves, T.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Grundy, T. W.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Crittall, V. G. Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Alden, Percy Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Harbord, Arthur
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Dickle, Captain J. P. Harris, Percy A.
Ammon, Charles George Dickson, T. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Aske, Sir Robert William Dodds, S. R. Hastings, Somerville (Reading)
Attlee, Major Clement R. Duckworth, John Haycock, A. W.
Ayles, W. H. Dukes, C. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)
Baker, Walter Duncan, C. Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South)
Banton, G. Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Henderson, T. (Glasgow)
Barclay, R. Noton Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern) Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfld.)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Edwards, John H. (Accrington) Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Barnes, A. Egan, W. H. Hirst, G. H.
Batey, Joseph England, Colonel A. Hobhouse, A. L.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Falconer, J. Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)
Black, J. W. Ferguson, H. Hodges, Frank
Bondfield, Margaret Finney, V. H. Hoffman, P. C.
Bonwick, A. Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L. Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Fletcher, Lieut.-Com. R. T. H. Hudson, J. H.
Briant, Frank Foot, Isaac Isaacs, G. A.
Broad. F. A. Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Jenkins, R. F. (Ipswich)
Bromfield, William Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby) Gavan-Duffy, Thomas Jewson, Dorothea
Buchanan, G. George, Major G. L. (Pembroke) John, William (Rhondda, West)
Buckle, J. Gibbins, Joseph Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)
Cape, Thomas Gillett, George M. Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W. Derby)
Chapple, Dr. William A. Gosling, Harry Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Charleton, H. C. Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome) Jones, Rt. Hon. Lelf (Camborne)
Church, Major A. G. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Clarke, A. Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Climie, R. Greenall, T. Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.)
Cluse, W. S. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Kay, Sir R. Newbald
Clynes, Right Hon. John R. Greenwood, William (Stockport) Kedward, R. M.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Keens, T.
Compton, Joseph Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Eills Kenyon, Barnet
Costello, L. W. J. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Kirkwood, D.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Potts, John S. Sutton, J. E.
Lansbury, George Pringle, W. M. R. Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay)
Law, A. Purcell, A. A. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North) Raffety, F. W. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Lawson, John James Ramage, Captain Cecil Beresford Thornton, Maxwell R.
Leach, W. Rathbone, Hugh R. Thurtle, E.
Lee, F. Rea, W. Russell Tinker, John Joseph
Lessing, E. Rees, Sir Beddoe Toole, J.
Lindley, F. W. Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple) Tout, W. J.
Linfield, F. C. Richards, R. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Lowth, T. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Varley, Frank B.
Lunn, William Ritson, J. Viant, S. P.
McCrae, Sir George Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell) Vivian, H.
McEntee, V. L. Robertson, T. A. Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Mackinder, W. Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Chelmsford) Warne, G. H.
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Romeril, H. G. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Mansel, Sir Courtenay Rose, Frank H. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
March, S. Royle, C. Welsh, J. C.
Marks, Sir George Croydon Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West) Westwood, J.
Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kincardine, E.) Scrymgeour, E. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton) Scurr, John White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Maxton, James Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern) Whiteley, W.
Meyler, Lieut.-Colonel H. M. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Wignall, James
Middleton, G. Shinwell, Emanuel Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)
Mills, J. E. Short, Alfred (Wednesday) Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Simon, E. D.(Manchester, Withington) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Mond, H. Simpson, J. Hope Williams, Lt - Col. T.S.B. (Kennington)
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C Smillie, Robert Williams, Maj. A. S. (Kent, Sevenoaks)
Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Smith, T. (Pontefract) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Smith, W. R. (Norwich) Willison, H.
Morse, W. E. Snell, Harry Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Muir, Ramsay (Rochdale) Spence, R. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Murray, Robert Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Murrell, Frank Spero, Dr. G. E. Windsor, Walter
Nixon, H. Spoor, B. G. Wintringham, Margaret
O'Grady, Captain James Stamford, T. W. Wise, Sir Fredric
Paling, W. Stephen, Campbell Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Palmer, E. T. Stewart, Maj. R. S.(Stockton-on-Tees) Wright, W.
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Stranger, Innes Harold Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Perry, S. F. Sturrock, J. Leng
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Sullivan, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Phillipps, Vivian Sunlight, J. Mr. Frederick Hall and Mr.
Ponsonby, Arthur Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William Kennedy.

I beg to move, in page 13, line 32, after the word "also," to insert the words in calculating the number of omnibuses required to maintain a regular service on any particuar route and determining the number of omnibuses that alone may ply for hire under this Section, seating accommodation alone shall be considered. I attach great importance to this Amendment, and I hope the Minister will assent to it, especially as, so far, I have not had a single Amendment accepted. As he knows, we criticised Clause 7 very closely in Committee, and this is an Amendment with which he expressed considerable sympathy when it was moved before the new Clause, and he suggested then that, if it were put in Clause 7, he would be prepared on Report stage to give it sympathetic consideration. I would just like to point out that I see under Clause 7 certain streets are going to be scheduled as restricted streets. Since Bond Street has been mentioned to-day, I might very well mention it again. Certain narrow streets like, I assume, Bond Street, and parts of the Strand, which are at present very congested, the Minister is going to have power to schedule as restricted streets, and to limit the number of omnibuses that are to be allowed to ply for hire on those routes: a very big power. I am asking that, in calculating the number of omnibuses required to provide a sufficient service on a particular route, seating accommodation should be taken into consideration. Everybody knows, especially those who go to work early in the morning, and return at certain hours of the day, the struggle that takes place to board omnibuses throughout London.

At points like Liverpool Street and the Bank, women's clothes are almost torn off their backs in the struggle to get on an omnibus; and where they have succeeded in doing so, only a small percentage find seating accommodation, and the rest have to stand. I am afraid no amount of ingenuity is going entirely to do away with strap-hanging, but I am going to ask that the Minister, when he uses his very great powers to restrict the use of certain streets by limiting the number of omnibuses, should allow in his calculations for strap-hanging in the ordinary way, and should work out how many omnibuses are required to give proper seating accommodation to the public. I attach great importance to that, because it is always assumed that all the congestion is due to the omnibus and the train. Considering the amount of road space they occupy per number of passengers they carry, I maintain that the omnibus and the tram are very much less the cause of congestion than the taxicab and the private car, and if there is going to be diversion on some of these routes, the men and women who have got to get to and from their work each day should not be made to suffer this great inconvenience day in and day out. This applies to women especially, who suffer great mental and physical strain from standing on their way home after a hard day's work.

The Minister has not, made many concessions to-day. He has been very adamantine. I think I am right in saying he has made only one concession since the beginning of the afternoon. This is a slight concession which would be much appreciated by thousands of the traffic public, and it would remove a great deal of opposition to this Bill. It would remove a sense of grievance which is bound to be felt increasingly every day by the young roan or woman, and, indeed, by old people, who very often suffer more than young people from the strap-hanging which they have to endure in journeying to and from their work. This discomfort will be attributed to a wicked Minister restricting the use of the streets. That conclusion would probably be quite unjust, but if this phrase were put in, I believe it would be some guarantee to the public that the powers in this Bill will not be used unfairly.


I beg to second the Amendment.

What I am honestly afraid of is that the number of omnibuses necessary in a particular thoroughfare will be settled according to the advice of the representatives of the motor omnibus concerns. Indeed, the presence of the additional members, nearly half of whom will consist of those representatives, will make it pretty certain that they will carry great weight in the settlement of the precise number of vehicles. It is obviously certain that if the omnibuses are running overcrowded now, the omnibus concerns will put down a lower figure than is essential to carry the total number of passengers in a proper manner; and if later on there are complaints of strap-hanging, they will be able to turn round and say, "This is the number of passengers we are allowed to take." We are granting a great monopoly to certain omnibus companies. I wish we could go further, and not only say that they may run a certain number of omnibuses, but that they must do so, so as to provide the passengers with proper accommodation; but since we cannot do that, the next best thing is to make quite sure that we do not settle on a number that is less than what is requisite. We shall then, at any rate, not be met at some later date with an answer to the complaints of the general public to the effect that they are not allowed to run the necessary number to provide proper accommodation.

I do hope the Minister can in some way, if he does not accept these actual words, suggest other words to meet what every Member feels, namely, that the public should be protected more than they have been in the past from this gross overcrowding, which brings added profits to the shareholders and less comfort to those who use the vehicles. After all they pay their fares, and that fact should be recognised by giving them something better in the way of accommodation than straphanging.


The hon. Member who moved the Amendment complained that I had made no concessions. The difficulty is that he gives me no opportunity for doing so. This is really an attempt to deal with the question of straphanging. The great difficulty London is faced with is not to consider the number of seats for people who use the omnibuses, but the number of streets that are used by the omnibuses. We have to consider the-overcrowding of the streets by the omnibuses. Personally, I am in favour of the abolition of straphanging, but the difficulty is to find enough seating accommodation. If straphanging is wrong in omnibuses, it is equally wrong in tubes, train and trams, and we shall have to revise the traffic arrangements for the whole of London before we can begin to deal with that question. It is quite impossible for me to accept an Amendment of this kind, as it would hamper the opportunity for other reforms in the future. The hon. Member for North Lambeth (Mr. Briant) said he was afraid that the omnibus companies would ask to have too small a number of omnibuses licensed, and would still continue to overcrowd the vehicles. That is going to be our difficulty for some time. The competition is there all right. The competition is absolutely reckless, and we must have this control which we seek in this Bill. I want to secure proper accommodation in omnibuses, trains and trams for people who pay their fares. But there is one other difficulty. We all of us want to get to our job at the same time. We calculate how many minutes it will take us to get there from the time we leave our homes, and we fail to make allowance for possible delays through congestion. Further than that, there are many people who prefer to go inside the vehicle and straphang to going outside and getting wet through. Under the circumstances I cannot accept the Amendment.


I am sorry the Minister cannot see his way to accept this Amendment. I think he should go into some of the congested areas and see what occurs. There is an omnibus service that runs past this House, No. 53. It gives a six minutes' service. On a wet morning people are standing at the starting corner without any possibility of any nearer accommodation except Marlborough Road Station, and with these people it is a question of straphanging or going on top of the omnibus. There are not sufficient omnibuses there now, but I am sure that if in calculating the number of vehicles to be licensed, seating accommodation alone was taken into consideration, you would be more likely to get a larger number of omnibuses on this route and a more frequent service. Considering these facts, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept this Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes. 95; Noes, 260.

Division No. 109.] AYES. [9.43 p.m.
Ackroyd, T. R. Hobhouse, A. L. Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston) Robertson T. A.
Aske, Sir Robert William Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Chelmsford)
Barclay, R. Noton Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor) Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W. Derby) Robinson W. E. (Burslem)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Royle, C.
Black, J. W. Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne) Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern)
Bonwick, A. Kay, Sir R. Newbald Simon, E. D. (Manchester, Withingtn.)
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Kedward, R. M. Simpson, J. Hope
Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby) Keens, T. Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Chapple, Dr. William A. Kenyon, Barnet Spero, Dr. G. E.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Starmer, Sir Charles
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Lessing, E. Stewart, Maj. R. S. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Collins, Patrick (Walsall) McCrae, Sir George Stranger, Innes Harold
Conway, Sir W. Martin Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Sunlight, J.
Costello, L. W. J. Maden, H. Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Mansel Sir Courtenay Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay)
Crittall, V. G. March, S. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Marks, Sir George Croydon Thornton, Maxwell R.
Dickie, Captain J. P. Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kincardine, E.) Vivian, H.
Dodds, S. R. Meyler, Lieut.-Colonel H. M. Ward, G. (Leicester, Bosworth)
Duckworth, John Mond, H. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Morse, W. E. White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Edwards, John H. (Accrington) Moulton, Major Fletcher Williams, A (York, W. R., Sowerby)
England, Colonel A. Muir, Ramsay (Rochdale) Williams, Maj. A.S. (Kent, Sevenoaks)
Falconer, J. Murrell, Frank Willison, H.
Finney, V. H. Phillipps, Vivian Wintringham, Margaret
Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L. Pringle, W. M. R. Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Fletcher, Lieut.-Com. R. T. H. Raffety, F. W. Woodwark, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.
Foot, Isaac Ramage, Captain Cecil Beresford
George, Major G. L. (Pembroke) Rathbone, Hugh R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Harbord, Arthur Rea, W. Russell Mr. Percy Harris and Mr. Briant.
Hastings, Somerville (Reading) Rees, Sir Beddoe
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Attlee, Major Clement R. Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Ayles, W. H. Barnes, A.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Baker, Walter Barnston, Major Sir Harry
Alden, Percy Balfour, George (Hampstead) Batey, Joseph
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Banks, Reginald Mitchell Becker, Harry
Ammon, Charles George Banton, G. Blades, Sir George Rowland
Bondfield, Margaret Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Richards, R.
Bourne, Robert Croft Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South) Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Broad, F. A. Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfield) Ritson, J.
Bromfield, William Henn, Sir Sydney H. Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Buchanan, G. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Buckle, J. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Romeril, H. G.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hirst, G. H. Ropner, Major L.
Bullock, Captain M. Hodges, Frank Rose, Frank H.
Burman, J. B. Hoffman, P. C. Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Hogbin, Henry Cairns Russell-Wells, Sir S. (London Univ.)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cape, Thomas Hood, Sir Joseph Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.) Sandeman, A. Stewart
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.) Hudson, J. H. Savery, S. S.
Charleton, H. C. Illffe, Sir Edward M. Scrymgeour, E.
Church, Major A. G. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Scurr, John
Clarke, A. Isaacs, G. A. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Clarry, Reginald George Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich) Shepperson, E. W.
Clayton, G. C. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Shinwell, Emanuel
Climle, R. Jephcott, A. R. Short, Alfred (Wednesday)
Cluse, W. S. Jewson, Dorothea Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Clynes, Right Hon. John R. John, William (Rhondda, West) Smillie, Robert
Cobb, Sir Cyril Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Smith, T. (Pontelract)
Compton, Joseph Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, W. R. (Norwich)
Courthope, Lieut.-Cot. George L. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cove, W. G. Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.) Snell, Harry
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Kindersley, Major G. M. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert King, Captain Henry Douglas Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)
Curzon, Captain Viscount Kirkwood, D. Spence, R.
Dalkelth, Earl of Lansbury, George Spoor, B. G.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Law, A. Stamford, T. W.
Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North) Steel, Samuel Strang
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Lawson, John James Stephen, Campbell
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Leach, W. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Dawson, Sir Philip Lee, F. Sturrock, J. Leng
Deans, Richard Storry Lindley, F. W. Sullivan, J.
Dickson, T. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Sutcliffe, T.
Dixon, Herbert Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th) Sutton, J. E.
Dukes, C. Lowth, T. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Duncan, C. Lunn, William Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Edmondson, Major A. J. M'Connell, Thomas E. Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(Croydon, S.)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) MacDonald, R. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern) McEntee, V. L. Thurtle, E.
Egan, W. H. Mackinder, W. Tinker, John Joseph
Elvedon, Viscount McLean, Major A. Toole, J.
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Tout, W. J.
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godtray Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Varley, Frank B.
Ferguson, H. Maxton, James Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Middleton, G. Viant, S. P.
Galbraith, J. F. W. Mills, J. E. Waddington, R.
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Warne, G. H.
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North) Montague, Frederick Warrender, Sir Victor
Gates, Percy Morre-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Gavan-Duffy, Thomas Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Gibbins, Joseph Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Gillett, George M. Murray, Robert Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Gosling, Harry Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Wells, S. R.
Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome) Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Welsh, J C.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Nixon, H. Westwood, J.
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) O'Grady, Captain James Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Greene, W. P. Crawford Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Whitley, W.
Greenall, T. Paling, W. Wignall, James
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Palmer, E. T. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Greenwood, William (Stockport) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Pennefather, Sir John Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B. (Kennington)
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Penny, Frederick George Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Perkins, Colonel E. K. Wilson, Sir c. H. (Leeds, Central)
Groves, T. Perring, William George Wilson, Sir C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Grundy, T. W. Perry, S. F. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Windsor, Walter
Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.) Phillpson, Mabel Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Ponsonby, Arthur Wise, Sir Fredric
Hall, Lieut.-Col, Sir F. (Dulwich) Potts, John S. Wragg, Herbert
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Purcell, A. A. Wright, W.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Raine, W. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Harland, A. Rawilnson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Rawson Alfred cooper
Harvey, C.M.B. (Aberd'n & Kincardine) Remer, J. R. TELLERS FOR THE NOTES.—
Hastings, Sir Patrick Rentoul, G. S. Mr. Frederick Hall and Mr.
Haycock, A. W. Rhys. Hon. C. A. U. Kennedy.