HC Deb 18 March 1931 vol 249 cc2017-8

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the loss to the country owing to the impossibility of travel agents booking advance sight-seeing tours of London for potential visitors from overseas, due to the delay in his reaching a decision with regard to the proposal to ban all motor coaches from Central London, he will make an immediate statement to the effect that such visitors will not be inconvenienced by any regulations which he proposes to issue?


I have decided not to proceed with the making of the regulations of which notice was given on 19th December last, and to adopt the alternative course of giving general directions to the Traffic Commissioner for the Metropolitan area, in pursuance of Section 63 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, in the matter of the restriction of motor coach services in the Central London area. In these general directions the attention of the Commissioner will be drawn to the desirability of so exercising his discretion in the grant or refusal of road service licences as to allow facilities for sight-seeing excursions and tours, where it is clear that a legitimate public demand exists which could not otherwise be met. I propose to issue and to publish the general directions to the Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner at once.


Will the right hon. Gentleman press the Commissioner to come to an early decision in view of the great financial loss to the country caused by the present uncertainty of the position?


I think the right hon. Gentleman may take it that the directions which will be issued, and which I will publish at once, will in fact guide the Traffic Commissioner in his policy.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

May we take it that these Regulations will not prevent passengers from the north coming right in to the centre of the City?


That does not follow. Passengers from the north will be able to come to within a reasonable distance of the centre subject always to the reasonable discretion of the Traffic Commissioner, but I cannot conceive, and I hope that the House will never insist upon the right, of everybody being able to travel from door to door irrespective of public convenience.

Colonel ASHLEY

Are we to understand that this discretion of the Traffic Commissioner will apply only to visitors who come to this country for the purpose of seeing London?


I cannot give a categorical answer upon that point, but substantially it is to meet what I thought was a legitimate case of the sight-seeing visitor—the tourist and overseas visitor, and so on. There must be a certain elasticity in administration, but, substantially, that is the only concession.