§ 32. Captain Elliot
asked the Minister of Transport what conditions he laid down before agreeing to the fares increases proposed by London Transport to be brought into effect in the autumn of this year.
§ Captain Elliot
Will the right hon. Gentleman try to convince the London Transport authorities, whoever they are, that the way to show a profit is not necessarily to raise prices? Would he not agree that, if an efficient and profitable public transport service is provided, people will be glad to leave their cars at home or at the station and use it?
§ Mr. Marsh
It is not quite as simple as that, and in any case the basis of this decision was that the Government agreed with the G.L.C. that the undertaking would be viable on hand-over. It was that, of course, which gave rise to the fares increase and that proposition was, I believe, supported not only by the G.L.C. but by right hon. and hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Whitaker
Will my right hon. Friend tell the G.L.C. that to expect a public transport undertaking not only to cover costs but to make £2 million profit a year is flying in the face of traffic experts across the world?
§ Mr. Marsh
The agreement was that the undertaking would be viable on hand-over. I do not think that a relatively small transfer to reserves is unreasonable in an undertaking of that size. It is important to point out, however, that the G.L.C. may find that subsidising public transport can be cheaper than incurring congestion costs.