HC Deb 01 March 1978 vol 945 cc437-8
4. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made with the monitoring of bus services on the periphery of London.

Mr. Horam

This is a continuous process.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Why cannot my constituents in Waltham Abbey and Epping have a direct bus to the Underground into London? Would that not make some money? Second, is the Minister satisfied that minibus operators are being enabled to come in alongside the present monopoly, which cannot maintain even its inadequate advertised services?

Mr. Horam

I think that the London Country Bus Service company has had problems arising from difficulties stemming from its original inheritance of vehicles and the sort of repair workshops which it took over. I understand that it hopes to renovate these with reasonable speed, although there will be difficulties for some time. I shall draw the specific points made by the hon. Gentleman to the attention of the chairman of the company.

Mr. Spearing

Since the taxpayer supports a good deal of our bus services throughout the country, does my hon. Friend lay a responsibility on local authorities to obtain from operators a realistic assessment of their service to the public, especially on non-timetable routes?

Mr. Horam

Certainly, we look at the the whole of a county council's approach to its bus service, the revenue support which it gives and the way in which it plans its services. We intend to reinforce that control and investigation through the Transport Bill at present going through the House.

Mr. McCrindle

When the Minister has a word with those responsible for London Transport services on such points as those raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison), will he satisfy himself that, as population has moved over the past decade away from central London to such places as Epping and Ongar, the bus services have kept pace in those outer London areas?

Mr. Horam

I note that point and I undertake to look into it.