§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the "Course" system for the ascertainment of Cab Fares within the Metropolis, as proposed by Mr. Hadden, C.E., has been considered with a view to its adoption or otherwise?
Sir, Mr. Hadden's plan was very carefully considered at the time the cab regulations were issued, together with some ten or a dozen other schemes, some of which were almost as ingenious as Mr. Hadden's, and all of which had good deal to recommend them; in fact, I am not prepared to say whether that scheme or some other might not be adopted to fix the fares and distances in preference to the plan at present in use. That scheme, however, was incompatible with the experiment about to be tried in the metropolis. In Manchester and other large towns in England, cab proprietors have been allowed to fix their own prices, the police undertaking, on the part of the public, to see that the accommodation did not fall below a certain minimum. The first part of a similar scheme which we propose to adopt in London—that is, the securing of a minimum amount of convenience and comfort for the public—came fully into operation in the course of the present month. On the 1st of June the inspection of cabs began, and although the fullest notice was given to the cabowners that the inspection would be very rigorous, 200 cabs were rejected out of something less than 1,000. There are some 5,000 more cabs in addition to these not yet inspected, and I do not think the result will prove them to have been more fortunate than the first 1,000. With respect to the other end of the scale of convenience, I am sorry to 783 say the cab-owners have been somewhat tardy in taking advantage of the regulations which allowed them to provide better cabs by charging higher rates; but two companies have been formed for introducing a superior class of vehicle, and I hope in the course of time, when the few superior cabs at present introduced have created confidence on the part of the public and the proprietors, that others will quickly follow. Then, as soon as the experiment has resulted in a better cab service for the metropolis, it will be proper to fix the rates, and then it may be in our power to adopt Mr. Hadden's scheme.