§ Order for Committee read.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
, in moving that the House go into Committee on this Bill, said, that although it was a private Bill, its promoters felt that it dealt with a subject of such great importance that it was desirable it should be brought under the notice of their Lordships. He would briefly, therefore, state the special object for which it had been introduced. Their Lordships were no doubt aware that the traffic passing through the City had of late years increased enormously, and that the dimensions which it had attained were, at particular points, productive of considerable public inconvenience. The present measure had been introduced with a view to enable the City authorities to adopt such regulations in the shape of by-laws as they might consider necessary for the purpose of mitigating the evil which now admittedly existed. Some, few years ago the corporation caused Cannon Street to be widened, in the hope that a large portion of the traffic passing east: and west through the City might be diverted into that channel. That expectation had not, however, been realized, as, for some reason or another, Cannon Street did not appear to be a favourite line for public: vehicles. It was ascertained that one day last year, between the hours of half past twelve and half-past one o'clock, the number of omnibuses passing along Cheapside and the Poultry was 291, while, during the same time, only two passed along Cannon Street. He might mention another fact to show the great pressure of traffic along the principal City thoroughfare. It was found that between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning of a particular day, the number of; vehicles of all sorts that passed by Bow Church was 1,255, and in the afternoon, between four and five o'clock, the number was 1,252; while it appeared that the number of vehicles entering the City daily was 57,765. The Bill would enable the City authorities to regulate that enormous traffic, and he hoped that it would meet the approval of their Lordships. It was pro posed that the by-laws to be framed by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen should not come into operation until a month after they had received the approval of one of Her Majesty's Secretaries of State. The noble and learned Lord then moved, That the House do now go into a Committee on the said Bill,
§ LORD REDESDALE
said, that on this 1578 Bill being brought before him as Chairman of Committees, he found that its provisions were of a very novel and stringent character; it was a large power to give any municipal body, to allow them to determine what particular route should be taken by waggons, omnibuses, and other public vehicles in their passage through the City. He admitted, at the same time, that some such measure was necessary, in order to get rid of the obstructions to traffic which now so frequently occurred along the main thoroughfares of the City. He had not thought proper, under those circumstances, to offer any opposition to the Bill; but he thought that as it was, to some extent, a measure of a public character, it ought to be brought under the consideration of the House generally before it was adopted. He had also thought it desirable to cause a provision to be introduced into the Bill to the effect that its operation should be limited to a period of seven years—believing that if it were at first made permanent, and it should afterwards be found desirable to withdraw those powers, there might be found some difficulty in taking them away from so powerful a body as the City.
§ LORD CRANWORTH
said, it was proposed that the contemplated by-laws should receive the sanction of the Secretary of State; it appeared to him that it was also desirable that the Secretary of State should have the power of calling on the City authorities to adopt such additional regulations as he might think necessary.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
said, he did not think there could be any occasion for that. That City would, of course, be anxious to pass such by-laws as would best answer the end in view. Moreover, the Secretary of State would not know what were the requirements of the traffic through the City.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
said, he wished to call the attention of the Government to another point of some importance, although he did not know whether it came within their jurisdiction or that of the police authorities. He alluded to the nuisance that was caused by the practice of driving a number of empty cabs backwards and fur-wards along the streets at a walking pane. A few days since be had counted in Pall Mall as many as twelve or thirteen empty cabs moving slowly along, and in some cases two of them traversed the thoroughfare side by side—the drivers conversing leisurely and agreeably with each other— but with little consideration for the convenience of passengers.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, he should cause inquiry to be made into the subject, and endeavour to see whether any effectual means could be adopted to abate the nuisance referred to by the noble Earl.
§ Motion agreed to; House in Committee; Amendment made: The Report thereof to be received on Friday next.