HL Deb 25 January 1982 vol 426 c755

2.54 p.m.

Lord Gainford

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new long-distance coach services have been started in the last 12 months.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I am pleased to report that the new express coach services continue to be introduced by both private and publicly owned companies. We estimate that since the 1980 Act came into operation about 90 new daily services and a further 70 on a less than daily basis have started. In addition, a large number of new seasonal services operated during the summer.

Lord Gainford

My Lords I thank my noble friend the Minister for that reply. Can he give any information as to the possibilities of connections to isolated areas of Britain?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, so far as my noble friend's question refers to the Transport Act 1980, which has encouraged competitive coach services, I believe it should have increased the chances for services such as he mentions rather than the opposite.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, do not the figures whch my noble friend gave to the House constitute a grave warning to those who earn their living on the railways and are engaged at the moment in disrupting their services?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for those remarks. I would not wish to be drawn into the present disputes, but of course this has stimulated some reductions on British Rail costs.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, could the noble Earl give the figures for the number of new services run by the National Bus Company out of the figures he has given? If they are a substantial number, would he not agree that the revenues from those express services in no way make up for the losses being sustained by many sections of the National Bus Company, and are putting in peril some of their difficult rural routes?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, my understanding is that the National Bus Company has itself reduced a lot of its own fares. I am not sure, out of the figures I gave, how many new services the NBC has brought out. I understand that they have just reduced some of their costs on some of their services at the moment. They have entered into the express service market which has been, I gather, very successful.