HC Deb 23 June 1986 vol 100 cc8-9
7. Mr. Greenway

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his latest estimate of the number of passengers using London buses and the London Underground; what were the comparable figures in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Mitchell

In 1985–86 there were some 1,160 million passenger journeys on the buses — 7 per cent. more than in 1981 — and 740 million on the underground— 37 per cent. more than in 1981, and the highest level ever. I am delighted at LRT's success in continuing to attract passengers while making major improvements in efficiency. This year revenue subsidy will be slashed to some £79 million compared with £230 million planned by the GLC.

Mr. Greenway

Is not that remarkable increase in the number of passengers using buses and underground trains in London a matter for great congratulation? Does my hon. Friend recall how the GLC—not lamented—which in 1981 doubled the fares as well as Londoners' rates, said that, with the removal of London Transport from the GLC, there would be massive accidents on the roads, race riots and all the rest? [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Relevance, please.

Mr. Greenway

Those are some of the things that the GLC said. Will my hon. Friend predict the likely increase in passenger use of London Transport in the coming year?

Mr. Mitchell

I expect that there will be about the same number of bus passenger journeys and an increase from about 672 million to 740 million Underground passengers. Clearly that will be an all-time record number of passengers. The financial burden borne by ratepayers and taxpayers has decreased by 1p in the pound and the level of revenue support needed has been halved in one year.

Mr. Stott

I recognise that there has been an increase in usage of the tube and buses in London, but does the Minister accept that, since the Government took control of London Transport, fares have increased by 16 per cent. that 3 million bus miles have been lost, that Londoners are paying an additional £1 million in rates — despite the Government's promises—and that the child's fare has increased by 50 per cent.? That is not a particularly good record.

Mr. Mitchell

Most of the improvements have been brought about by increased efficiency. Fare increases have been in line with inflation. That is an extremely good record. The massive increase in the number of passengers shows that the fare levels are attractive to them.