§ Mr. Higgins
asked the Secretary of State for Transport, following the enactment of the Transport Act 1980, what restraints remain on potential bus operators who wish to compete with existing operators on stage carriage routes; and whether the same restraints apply if the operators offer reduced fares for pensioners.
§ Mr. Fowler
Under the Transport Act 1980 the traffic commissioners are required in all cases to grant a road service licence in accordance with the application to them unless they are satisfied that to do so would be against the interests of the public. It is open to existing operators to try to convince the traffic commissioners that an application by a would-be competitor should be refused as being against the interests of the public, and if they believe that the existence of reduced fares for pensioners is relevant to the issue they may use it in their submission to the commissioners.