HC Deb 14 March 1962 vol 655 cc1316-7
38. Mr. Box

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give a general direction to the Traffic Commissioners to give sympathetic consideration to applications by local authorities for licences to run their own bus services where other transport facilities have been closed or reduced.

Mr. Hay

No, Sir. Traffic Commissioners are very ready to consider any applications under the Road Traffic Act, 1960, from local authorities with the necessary statutory powers, or from anyone else, to replace transport facilities which have been withdrawn or reduced.

Mr. Box

Is ray hon. Friend aware that there are a number of isolated communities in Wales which are very concerned at the withdrawal of road and rail services? Will he not reconsider the matter and see whether some assistance could be given to local authorities to run these services where private enterprise bus companies are unwilling to provide them?

Mr. Hay

No, Sir. As I said, the Traffic Commissioners are always ready to consider applications from anybody, whether local authorities or private people. The difficulty in South Wales, as in many other parts of the country, is not the absence of powers but the absence of passengers.

Mr. Ridley

If my hon. Friend cannot help in the way suggested, can he at least tell us when he will provide some solution to this very pressing problem?

Mr. Hay

It is not necessarily the obligation of my right hon. Friend to provide a solution for this difficult problem. There are a great many difficult points involved, the principal one being that traffic is declining. There is nothing my right hon. Friend can do to stimulate traffic either for the buses or for the railways.

Mr. Manuel

Will the hon. Gentleman recognise that when a rural area, or any area, is denuded of rail or road public services, he must not do as is suggested by the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Box) and ask the local authority to undertake these uneconomic services? The onus must be carried by the Government in providing this social necessity in such areas.

Mr. Hay

No, Sir. I would not go as far as to say that.

Forward to