HC Deb 21 November 1968 vol 773 c1519
30. Mr. Higgins

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that on a Saturday morning it takes over two and a half hours to obtain an operator on the telephone who will send a telegram from London to Worthing; how many operators are employed in the London area taking telegrams on Saturday mornings; and what steps he proposes to take to improve the service.

Mr. Joseph Slater

I regret that the service deteriorated recently because it was overloaded with messages for Saturday weddings. About 50 operators are employed in London on Saturday mornings. The service is now generally satisfactory.

Mr. Higgins

Is it not absurd that one can deliver a message from London to Worthing by driving there sooner than one can get a telegram operator? Will the hon. Gentleman tell us how long it takes, on average, to get an unengaged line to a telegram operator on Saturday morning?

Mr. Slater

In view of the hon. Gentleman's Question, I have had recent service reports looked out. On 12th October it took 10.9 seconds. We have not got the figure for 19th October. On 26th October it took 7.7 seconds; on 2nd November 4.1 seconds; and on 9th November 1.9 seconds.