HC Deb 20 November 1946 vol 430 cc828-9
5. Mr. Francis Noel-Baker

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that subscribers in the London area wishing to make toll calls are subjected to delays, particularly after 6.30 p.m.; to what extent these delays are due to shortage of staff or to obsolete equipment; and when he hopes to improve this service.

Mr. Burke

Delays at present experienced in obtaining a reply from the operator on toll calls are largely due to staffing difficulties. Additional operators have been recruited and trained within recent months and as they gain experience the service will improve. The delays are not caused by obsolete equipment.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is my hon. Friend aware that owing to the way in which his switchboards are arranged it is theoretically possible for a subscriber to dial TOL and never get a connection at all, because there is no way of determining priorities as to who started dialling first? Is he further aware that it often takes up to three-quarters of an hour to get a call on a toll exchange from London, and is he hopeful that an increase in staff will improve the position?

Mr. Burke

Yes, I am very hopeful.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

What we really want to know is how to attract the attention of the young lady at the Exchange. [Laughter.] This is not a matter for laughter; once we get the young lady, then all is simple.