HC Deb 19 July 1971 vol 821 cc1024-5
19. Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if, in view of the continued run-down of the rural bus services of Wales, he will commission an emergency report on the situation.

Mr. Peter Thomas

The Welsh Council is about to undertake a detailed study of rural transport problems. It will be reporting its conclusions to me.

Mr. Jones

Is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware of the insidious dangers posed by the heartless slashing and trimming of these services? What special and determined action will he take on behalf of villagers in isolated communities who do not possess cars?

Mr. Peter Thomas

Parliament has made available the necessary powers in Section 34 of the Transport Act, 1968. It is up to local councils to make full use of them.

Mr. William Edwards

Is the Secretary of State aware that one of the major problems about rural transport is the fantastic cost of travelling on the buses at present, and that in about six months' time there will be no need to subsidise some of these services because passengers will not be travelling on them because they cannot afford to do so?

Mr. Peter Thomas

I accept that cost has been quite a serious factor. I note that when services were withdrawn in Pembrokeshire some of the services were taken up by local operators, and they appear to be running the services without any subvention.