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Railway Stations (Booking Office Delays)

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 3 June 1942

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, in view of the time required at railway booking offices to check Service warrants and the consequent delay in the issue of tickets generally, he will now authorise the Services to issue a form of warrant which shall be valid as a ticket?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport
(Mr. Noel-Baker)

As I informed my hon. Friend in a reply to a Supplementary Question on 25th March, this suggestion had then been considered and rejected on the ground that it was not practicable. It is, however, being examined afresh, and I will let my hon. Friend know the result as soon as I can.

While I thank the hon. Gentleman for his reply, will he bear in mind that it takes about four times as long to check a Service warrant as to issue an ordinary ticket, and that in consequence many civilians either miss the train or else have to take a platform ticket and pay on the train, which practice itself delays the collection of tickets?

Yes, Sir. I am aware of the great difficulties caused by the large number of Service warrants which are now dealt with. Various plans for meeting the difficulty are now under consideration.

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that, apart from the effect on civilians, the men themselves often have to queue up at these booking offices carrying heavy kits, and that they really ought to be relieved from this burden?

I think that the inconvenience caused to the men and the public is very considerable.

Would there be any difficulty in supplying a book of vouchers similar to the arrangement for Members of Parliament?

That is one of the plans under consideration, but the accountancy difficulties are considerable.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the War Department issue vouchers for tickets to places where stations do not exist, and that it has been known for a voucher to be given for a bus journey from Thurso to Kirkwall?