§ 12. Mr. Madden
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what powers are 1588 available to him to vary bus fare increases approved by traffic commissioners.
§ Mr. Horam
My right hon. Friend may vary decisions of the traffic commissioners only on appeal under Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1960.
§ Mr. Madden
Is my hon. Friend aware that the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority is seeking approval to increase bus fares by between 20 per cent. and 33 per cent.? Does he agree that such an increase would put a considerable burden on all bus passengers within the area, and is he happy that final approval in these matters should lie with the traffic commissioners, whereas approval in respect of rail fare increases lies with the Secretary of State?
§ Mr. Horam
It is a big increase in West Yorkshire—no one is in any doubt about that—but, as my right hon. Friend explained in earlier answers, this is part of the catching-up process, and it will happen, we hope, once and for all. That is precisely why we have now reversed previous policies on public expenditure support for bus fares and are now pumping another£80 million, in total, into bus revenue support. I hope that, as a consequence, fare increases will be only those necessitated by inflation and will be far more rare than they are today.
§ Mr. Flannery
Is my hon. Friend aware that in South Yorkshire fares have been kept down, even to the point of there being a conflict with the Government? May we expect that from the£80 million the£5 million of Government money which we have lost in South Yorkshire through keeping fares down—and, by the way, thereby winning a big election—will now be given back to South Yorkshire in order that fares may be kept down?