HC Deb 30 March 1960 vol 620 cc1297-8
1. Dr. Glyn

asked the Minister of Transport to what extent his ban on U-turning in the pink zone has eased the congestion of traffic in the London area; if he is satisfied with the progress so far made; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave to a similar Question by the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) on 23rd March.

Dr. Glyn

Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask whether we can have an assurance that the ban will not be reintroduced for taxis?

Mr. Marples

The ban was taken off because the trade union concerned and the taxi-cab drivers gave a pledge that they would not use the U-turn during congested periods in difficult streets. If they continue to keep their word, the ban will not be reimposed.

Sir R. Nugent

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of us are very disappointed that he should have taken this retrograde step, because we hope to see a reduction in the number of right-hand turns and particularly the banning of U-turns, which seriously interfere with traffic flow, add to the danger on the road and are generally against the interest of traffic movement? Will my right hon. Friend reconsider this with a view to reimposing the ban?

Mr. Marples

Taxi-cabs are a special case. They have a special lock. I consulted the police before taking off the ban and, on balance, we found that provided that taxi-cab drivers tried to play the game with the public it was worth while taking it off. Some people take a couple of bags, one in each hand, to a taxi rank in the centre of the road and there might be danger of an accident. On balance—and it was a very fine balance—it was decided to take the ban off for taxis.

Mr. Lipton

Will the right hon. Gentleman stand by the only sensible decision he has come to since he became Minister of Transport?

Mr. Marples

I am grateful to the hon. Member for the usual courtesy and kindness of that nice remark to me.

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