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Motor Bus Breakdowns

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the inconvenience and annoyance caused to passengers using motor omnibuses by the frequent breaking down of such vehicles; whether the remedy for such inconvenience and annoyance is for the passengers to demand the return of the fares they have paid, or to insist upon being conveyed to their destination by another omnibus belonging to the same company; and whether the police, if appealed to by such passengers, are in a position to insist, upon either of these alternatives being given effect to.

Only one complaint has reached the police of the conductor of an omnibus which had broken down refusing to return the fare. The complainant was referred to a solicitor. The police have no power to decide disputes of this character, or to require either the return of the fare or the continuance of the journey in another omnibus.

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the inconvenience caused to traffic by the number of motor omnibuses, continually breaking down, especially in the more crowded thoroughfares, within the Metropolitan district, thereby obstructing other vehicular traffic in many cases for lengthened periods; whether any special instructions have been given to the police whereby a speedy removal from the streets of such derelict omnibuses may be effected; and, if not, whether he will consider the propriety of taking some action in a matter so greatly affecting the convenience of the community at large.

Motor omnibuses, like all other forms of motor vehicles, occasionally break down, and no regulations can prevent this. No special instructions have been given to the police as to the removal of derelict omnibuses from the streets, but the companies concerned endeavour to minimise the resulting obstruction by employing travelling engineers to remedy defects expeditiously. The omnibuses are carefully inspected before being licensed, and, moreover, as machinery improves, breakdowns are likely to become less frequent.