38. Mr. Bernard Braille
asked the Minister of Transport whether, when referring to the Central Transport Consultative Committee recent alterations in fare stages and fares in relation to them, he will direct the attention of that body to the special circumstances obtaining in South Essex, where recent alterations are causing hardship, especially to shift-workers using the Fenchurch Street-Southend line.
§ Mr. Somerville Hastings
asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that many persons in the metropolitan area, desirous of assisting the national effort, have become shift-workers; that some of these have found, since the recent increase in fares, that the cost of travel to and from their place of work has more than doubled; and if he will refer this question to the Central Transport Consultative Committee.
§ 56. Air Commodore A. V. Harvey
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that workmen working on a night-shift cannot obtain workmen's travel tickets; and if he will refer this matter to the Central Transport Consultative Committee.
§ Mr. Maclay
Under the authority of the Charges Scheme, recently confirmed by the Transport Tribunal, in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Transport Act, 1947, passed by the late Government, shift-workers' tickets ceased to be issued in the London Area on 2nd of March. I am not aware that any change in this respect has so far taken place outside London.
I am advised that the principle involved is not one which could properly be referred by me to the Consultative Committee. In the discussions which took place before the Transport Tribunal on this matter, the Commission made clear their intention to withdraw these tickets and they were left free to do so by the Tribunal.
20 I am informed, however, that representations have been made by interested parties to the Consultative Committee on the subject of shift-workers' tickets and the matter is, therefore, before them.
All the relevant statutory provisions and all the functions exercised by the British Transport Commission result from legislation introduced by the late Government and are a definite feature in the nationalisation policy.
§ Mr. Braine
Can my hon. Friend state whether there is any way in which this matter may be reconsidered in view of the very great hardship being caused to my constituents who use the London-Southend line? If there is no way in which it can be reconsidered, will be take note that the whole country will be behind him if he will take early steps to end the operation of this soulless monopoly?
§ Mr. Maclay
In reply to the first half of the question, the London-Essex line was before the Transport Tribunal in 1950, but I have very much in mind all my hon. Friend has been saying and will certainly bear in mind the latter part of his supplementary question.
§ Mr. T. Price
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that similar hardships are being created in the Wigan area of Lancashire, affecting many of my constituents, due to the withdrawal of workmen's concessions and the increase recently awarded under the Act? Will he take steps to inquire into these hardships which in some cases—and I will give details to the hon. Gentleman—will inflict an increased fare of approximately 200 per cent. upon working men and women?
§ Mr. Maclay
That is just the kind of thing about which I have been showing concern, but I suppose the hon. Member is aware that he is asking me to review and revise the Transport Act, 1947, as quickly as I can.