HC Deb 15 March 1939 vol 345 cc392-3
34. Mr. Alan Herbert

asked the Minister of Transport whether the London Passenger Transport Board propose to exercise their powers under Section 19 of the London Passenger Transport Act, 1933, which relates to the institution of a Thames passenger transport service?

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Burgin)

The London Passenger Transport Board inform me that they have no intention at the present time of exercising the powers referred to by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Herbert

What is the cause of the inactivity for five years, in view of the fact that in 1934 an inquiry found that such a service was desirable and practicable?

Mr. Burgin

I think that my hon. Friend rather misquotes the report of the committee. The committee were not satisfied that there was an essential need for a regular passenger service, and it did not appear to them that such a service would tend to relieve existing land transport facilities.

Mr. Gibson

Has the hon. Member been quoting a misleading case?

42. Mr. Herbert

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in the exercise of his powers under Section 17 of the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919, he will recommend the advance to the London Passenger Transport Board, or to private persons, of the capital sum necessary for the institution of a Thames passenger transport service, such as was contemplated in Section 19 of the London Passenger Transport Act, 1933?

Mr. Burgin

Whilst being in broad sympathy with the object which my hon. Friend apparently has in view, I feel I must point out the facts. The London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee, in 1934, held a public inquiry into the question of the institution of a regular passenger service on the Thames. The committee came to the conclusion that there was at that time no strong popular demand for the provision of such a ser vice, and that it would be neither a relief to existing land transport facilities nor likely to be self-supporting. I see no reason to-day to dissent from these conclusions, and I am, therefore, not pre pared to recommend that money should be advanced out of public funds for this purpose.

Mr. Herbert

Can the Minister of Trans port name any form of transport which is "likely to be self-supporting" at the present time?