HC Deb 25 November 1942 vol 385 cc705-6
29. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport how many representations have been received respecting the abolition of cheap fares and return fares at slightly reduced rates; whether any further consideration is being given to this matter; whether the matter is open to review after an experimental period; what action is to be taken respecting any increased income on any transport service due to the abolition of previous facilities; and whether the latest hour for ordinary workmen's tickets will be raised to 8.30 a.m.?

Mr. Noel-Baker

The decision to withdraw the ordinary cheap day tickets and other cheap tickets for various classes of pleasure travel on the railways was taken in order to reduce unnecessary travel, and thus to help the railways to deal with the present very heavy essential traffic of passengers and goods. So long as the present difficult transport conditions continue, I can hold out no hope to my hon. Friend that the decision will be reversed. I have received about 120 communications on the subject, of which 29 were from representative bodies. The purpose of the measure is to reduce revenue, by reducing traffic. If, however, any increased revenue should result, it will accrue to the Exchequer, through the operation of the Railway Control Agreement. In answer to the last part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I would have given to-day to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Mile End (Mr. Frankel) if he had been in his place.

Mr. Sorensen

While entirely appreciating both the motive and purpose of the reduction in facilities, may I ask whether my hon. Friend would not reconsider this matter at an early date, in view of the apparently quite legitimate requests and complaints by those using transport in London at the present time? Would he be prepared to receive a deputation on this matter?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am always ready to receive deputations, and I would certainly receive one in this case, which is, I admit, one of great difficulty. I would not like to hold out any hope that the general abolition of cheap fares put on originally in order to encourage travel off the peak hours could be reconsidered, but on the particular question of extending the time for ordinary workmen's tickets I am giving that the closest attention and I will let my hon. Friend know the result of the deliberations of my Department.