HC Deb 03 July 1995 vol 263 cc7-8
7. Mr. Corbyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his policy in respect of the introduction of competing travelcards in London. [30124]

Mr. Norris

The existing London travelcard is a rightly popular form of ticketing and we are committed to its continued availability. Future developments in ticketing alongside the existing travelcard will primarily be a matter for the transport operators to pursue.

Mr. Corbyn

It is the latter part of the Minister's reply that worries me. Can he confirm now, once and for all, that there will be no establishment of competing travelcards in London, that there will be the maintenance of one travelcard which covers bus, underground and railway operations and that he will tell the rail franchising director that there should be no possibility of introducing any other form of travelcard which limits accessibility to, and interchange between, public transport in London? London's success depends on an integrated transport network and on an overall travelcard to facilitate that.

Mr. Norris

The hon. Gentleman is right. As I said, the travelcard is hugely important. He is also right to say that we would not want for a second to lose it. I hope that he will allow me to say, however, that the idea that we must assume that all ticketing technology is frozen in time is misleading and unhelpful. Stored value ticketing, for example, adds attractive opportunities for London Transport to appeal to people who do not need or want the present travelcard, which is time-limited, but who would like to have stored value in a ticket that they could carry with them to their great convenience. That is the kind of technical development that can sit alongside the travelcard. I say straightforwardly and on the record, because misleading information about the matter is frequently put forward, that we have no plans to water down the present travelcard for we hugely recognise the value that it has for millions of Londoners.

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