HC Deb 24 July 1963 vol 681 cc1454-5
19. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give a general direction to the licensing authorities henceforth to refuse Passenger Service Licences to omnibuses which have inadequate facilities for carrying luggage and prams.

Mr. Marples

No, Sir. This is a matter which is within the Traffic Commissioners' discretion when considering applications for, or variations of, road service licences. With their knowledge of local needs the Traffic Commissioners are in a position to consider each case on its merits.

Mr. Ridley

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that one of the reasons why rail closures are being opposed is that some bus companies will not allow luggage and prams to be carried on the vehicles? Would my right hon. Friend at least make a statement to the effect that he expects every bus company to offer these facilities, because that would ease the transport problem in some rural areas very much indeed?

Mr. Marples

I agree with the principle behind the supplementary question. I have already published proposals to allow buses to draw trailers to carry luggage and prams. If the Traffic Commissioners issue a road service licence enabling a trailer to be used, trailers may be provided.

Mr. Snow

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that coach body manufacturers, as opposed to coach chassis manufacturers, are producing designs—apart from trailers—suitable to meet the future requirements which are their concern? Is he aware that there is a belief that coach body designers and manufacturers resist the idea of producing designs which are somewhat unconventional so far as this country is concerned?

Mr. Marples

I am not aware of that. I have never heard that suggestion before. If the hon. Gentleman has any method of design which he thinks ought to be considered, I will look at it.