§ Mr. Straw
I wish to present a second petition, from the Blackburn borough council. It bears the common seal of the council under the signature of the chief executive and mayor, Councillor Clifford West.
The petition relates to the Transport Bill and is supported by a bookfull of signatures of residents of Blackburn, Darwen and elsewhere in east Lancashire. It claims that the proposed legislation set out in the Government's White Paper on buses is a threat to bus services in Blackburn. It petitions the Secretary of State for Transport to withdraw the proposals.
The petition itself shows that the Blackburn borough council has examined the White Paper on buses and the Transport Bill and feels that, if implemented, it will mean that:
But there are wider aspects to the proposals— the ratepayers' considerable investments in the countrywide fare marketing and co-ordination schemes are in jeopardy. New buses will not be bought, which means more unemployment in the bus-building industry, socially needed transport services will be put under pressure, highway costs, road accidents and congestion will increase, and the business of the community as a whole will suffer. Public transport is needed as a social service and the proposals of the White Paper would destroy that.
- (a) concessionary fares for elderly, disabled and other people in special need, including schoolchildren, could disappear
- (b) that the strict safety standards needed for public service vehicles will not be upheld
- (c)that continuity, reliability and stability of services will end
- (d) many bus services will vanish, especially socially desirable services for small schoolchildren together with those operated early morning, evening, Sunday and on Bank Holidays
- (e) the few services that are left will no longer link and services will become less frequent
- (f) passengers will not know which services should run at what times or what fares are to be charged
- (g) operators will compete with old, unsuitable buses and coaches
- (h) neither users nor ratepayers will have any say about their local transport services.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your honourable House reject any legislation to implement the proposals of the White Paper on buses and the Transport Bill.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray etc. The bottom of the petition states that the common seal of the Blackburn borough council was affixed in the presence of the mayor and the chief executive.
To lie upon the Table.