§ Mr. Tom Fraser
Inquiries are still in progress.
The four local inquiry teams have all made proposals for experiments in improved or additional services. In some cases these are being arranged wholly at the expense of the bus operators. In others, a guarantee to make good any deficit below the revenue necessary to cover the operator's costs has been offered by the local authority, or by my Department and the local authority jointly. One guaranteed service is to be withdrawn after three months' trial, because of the extremely small support from the public.
The use of school contract buses to carry ordinary passengers has been considered and one or two experiments are in hand. The possibilities of car-pooling schemes on a welfare basis to meet occasional urgent needs are being investigated. There may also be scope for improving liaison between local authorities and operators to ensure that services are arranged to the best mutual advantage.
I would also refer the hon. Member to my reply of 16th November to my hon. Friend the Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Malcolm MacMillan).