HC Deb 06 March 1995 vol 256 c12
13. Ms Lynne

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the transport industry about the introduction of low-floor buses in the past 12 months.

Mr. Norris

My Department has had a number of discussions about the introduction of low-floor buses over the past 12 months with both the manufacturing and operating industries.

Ms Lynne

There is no mention in the Government's Disability Discrimination Bill about access to transport vehicles. What time scale does the Minister envisage for bringing forward legislation to make buses and trains accessible to disabled people? Does he accept that deregulation of buses and the proposed privatisation of the railways could set back that process?

Mr. Norris

As to the hon. Lady's latter point, I see privatisation as doing more to accelerate the provision of decent facilities for disabled people than anything that nationalisation has achieved over the past half century. On the hon. Lady's main point, we have concentrated on ensuring that European Community construction and use directives allow us to specify low-floor buses. That is exactly the right way to proceed, but that process will take time because the Commission must deliberate on the issue. Low-floor buses will bring significant advantages, which I welcome. Not only will they advantage the disabled and others but they can be financially profitable because they allow much faster loading times.