§ 10. Paddy Tipping (Sherwood) (Lab)
When he intends to visit Nottingham to travel on the Nottingham express transport system. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Tony McNulty)
My hon. Friend's skill at tabling questions is unsurpassed, as he is both timely and prescient, given that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State visited Nottingham yesterday to open the Nottingham express transit line 1 and had the opportunity to meet local authority officials to discuss local transport issues and their successes in Nottingham.
§ Paddy Tipping
Clearly, the Secretary of State is ahead of the time, given that fee-paying passengers were not able to use the tram until 5.58 this morning. The Minister will be aware that the local authorities, Nottingham city council and Nottinghamshire county council, have worked for many years to open line 1, and want to create a network—line 2 and 3. Will the Department work closely with the local authorities to ensure that we have a network to meet customer needs across Nottinghamshire?
§ Mr. McNulty
My hon. Friend will know that we expect the first line to attract an estimated 11 million-plus passengers and to be a real boon to Nottingham, not simply in transport terms but as a catalyst for regeneration. We always work closely with local authorities as and when they determine plans for future additions to networks, and we look forward to receiving Nottingham's subsequent plans eventually. Nottingham will base that on a very strong record in terms of local transport planning, in both county and city, which is to be commended.
§ Alan Simpson (Nottingham, South) (Lab)
Having been at the launch with the Secretary of State yesterday, may I say for the record what an elegant figure he cut?
1372 It was almost as stylish and sophisticated as the trams. People at the launch were almost as complimentary about the Secretary of State as they were about my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood (Paddy Tipping), who was at the initial meeting 15 or 16 years ago that started the process of establishing line 1.
May I repeat the requests of my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood? The excitement yesterday was that Nottingham Members wanted the Secretary to State to be able to travel from Bulwell in the north of Nottingham to Clifton in the south of Nottingham. To do that, however, the second or third line would have to be in place. Will the Minister assure us that it will not take another 16 years to get lines 2 and 3?
§ Mr. McNulty
My hon. Friend will appreciate that for 10 of those 16 years the matter was in another party's hands. I expect any analysis of the bids as and when they are received to be done swiftly. The important point is that, following all that has been done so far by the authorities, both city and council, there has been a significant increase in public transport patronage. We want that to continue in a broader context.