HC Deb 27 June 1962 vol 661 cc1150-1
14. Mr. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Transport whether, with a view to avoiding congestion on the roads and overcrowding of public transport in London at the rush hours, he will take steps by the establishment of a central bureau and otherwise to co-ordinate plans for the staggering of working hours.

Mr. Hay

Work to promote staggered working hours in Central London is in the hands of six zone committees, which have knowledge of local conditions and co-ordinate arrangements in their zones through close contacts with employers and representatives of employees. We are reviewing the arrangements for coordinating the work of these zone committees.

The planning of industrial working hours throughout the London area is already co-ordinated under the auspices of the South Eastern Regional Board for Industry.

Mr. Fletcher

Will the hon. Gentleman do something to expedite the coordination and to produce some amelioration of the present position, which is really laying intolerable stress and strain on the millions of people who have to suffer from this congestion both on the roads and on London Transport in the rush hours?

Mr. Hay

I would not want to minimise what has already been done. Since 1957 arrangements have been agreed with the various firms under which no fewer than 57,000 travellers now avoid the peak hours. But I think that there is a limit to which official action can help. A great deal more could be done if people voluntarily staggered their hours of going to and leaving work in particular.

Mr. Lipton

Would not a decisive contribution to reducing congestion be made if private cars were prevented from using bus routes in London during rush hours to enable public transport to get a move on?

Mr. Hay

That sounds a remarkably simple solution, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that the cure would be much worse than the disease.