§ Mr. Tom Clarke
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new buses have been licensed in each of the last five years; and how many of these were imported. 
§ Mr. Bowis
Investment by the bus industry in new vehicles has increased substantially in each of the last five years. The figures for newly registered buses and coaches' taxed for use as public service vehicles for the years in question are as follows:
- 1992: 3,051
- 1993: 3,643
- 1994: 4,202
- 1995: 5,214
- 1996: 6,477.
1Figures up to June 1995 are for all class 35—Hackney—vehicles with more than eight seats. Since June 1995 they are for all vehicles in class 34—buses.
The figure for 1996 includes 3,411 imported vehicles. Information cannot be supplied on the number of imported vehicles in the figures for 1992–95 as the statistics available on registration of imported vehicles in those years do not distinguish between buses and taxis and hire cars for public use, which were also included in class 35—Hackney vehicles.
§ Mr. Clarke
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many new buses, licensed in each of the last five years, have allowed wheelchair users access in safety and without too much difficulty; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of buses currently being used by bus operators meet the criteria set out in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to ensure that public buses enable a wheelchair user to alight in safety and without too much difficulty; 
(3) which designs of buses currently under construction he has approved as providing access for disabled people such that a wheelchair user can get on a bus in safety and without too much difficulty. 
§ Mr. Bowis
Information about the accessibility of vehicles is not currently recorded.
The detailed specification for the bus accessibility regulations that we are bringing forward under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is under discussion with the bus industry and our statutory advisers the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee. We intend to consult on our proposals shortly.
A growing number of operators are already investing in low floor buses which provide much easier access to all passengers, including those with disabilities. Some are also fitting the buses with ramps to enable wheelchair users to gain easy access.