§ 47. Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement on his policy in relation to speeding up road traffic, preventing traffic jams, easing road congestion at peak periods and encouraging road-users to use public transport during peak periods by a system of cheaper fares between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Heseltine
This is a somewhat large matter. I am prepared to consider any means of securing this desirable objective.
The question of differential fares at peak periods is one for transport operators.
§ Mr. Lewis
I thank the Minister for that encouraging reply. Does he realise that everyone now is saying that if we go on as we are our big cities will come to a halt at peak periods? Is it not advisable to get road users who use a car for only one person to change to public transport, if need be by letting them go on the buses free of charge, which would help the police to maintain the flow of traffic?
§ Mr. Heseltine
This is a subject on which a wide variety of solutions is contemplated, many of which are being tried or experimented with by the local authorities. But there can be no global solution, and directing people to go from private to public transport is not an idea which we should immediately commend.
§ Mr. Kaufman
Will the Minister, while considering this matter, at least take action to prevent the Manchester area transport authority, the S.E.L.N.E.C., from carrying into effect its penal suggestion of surcharges during these periods?
§ Mr. Heseltine
The hon. Gentleman will recall that it was his party when in Government which gave the power to the people of Manchester to make up their own mind locally, which they have now done. The matter is subject to investigation by the traffic commissioners.