HC Deb 24 May 1976 vol 912 cc20-1
18. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will take steps to meet representatives of the transport users' consultative committee in the near future to discuss increases in bus fares.

Mr. John Fraser

Following the Transport Acts of 1953 and 1962, the transport consultative committees are not empowered to consider bus services or fares and charges. I shall, however, be discussing with them the Government's consultative document on transport policy, which refers to both these subjects.

Mr. Ridsdale

When the Minister discusses this subject with the transport users' consultative committee, will he look into the operation of concessionary fares? These fares are operating very unfairly in various parts of the country. Will he also say whether it is possible for retirement pensioners to have a half-fare concession, as they do on the railways?

Mr. Fraser

I should be happy to discuss those matters and even happier if a guiding light could be shown by some Conservative local authorities which refuse concessionary fares.

Mr. Adley

Will the Minister listen carefully to the idea which has been put forward and recognise that there is great unfairness between local authority areas? It is not always a question of the local authorities. If the Government would get together with the National Bus Company to see whether a scheme similar to the British Rail scheme could be devised, with a card that pensioners could purchase, they would rightly earn themselves considerable gratitude throughout the country.

Mr. Fraser

There is always a balance to be struck between local autonomy and uniformity which brings a benefit both in custom and to users, particularly those who are vulnerable. I shall be very happy to discuss this matter.

Mr. Pavitt

Will my hon. Friend take a special look at concessionary fares for those disabled by blindness? Is he aware that the National League for the Blind has a number of special problems and that it would be helped considerably if there could be a meeting of transport providers, both road and rail?

Mr. Fraser

Yes, I am willing to discuss this matter.

Forward to