asked the Assistant Postmaster General whether he can explain the present delay and confusion in the London telephone exchanges in dealing with calls dialled to TRU, TOL, DIR and O.
I am not aware that there is any confusion in the London Telephone Exchange, but there is serious delay in answering dialled calls, for reasons which I gave in a reply to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Kingston-on-Thames (Major Boyd-Carpenter) on 11th October. The period of time which has elapsed since then has not been enough for any great improvement to take place, but I am confident that the recruitment position will continue to improve.
asked the Assistant Postmaster General what steps he has in mind for improving the efficiency of the telephone service; and when he proposes to take them.
The efficiency of the telephone service is dependent on the sufficiency of operators and of circuits. The greatest difficulties are in the. London area, and I explained the steps being taken to increase the number of operators in reply to the question asked by the hon. and gallant Member for Kingston-on-Thames (Major Boyd-Carpenter) on 11th October. As regards circuits, about 2,500 new trunk lines have been provided in recent months, and this process is con- tinuing. Improvement in the standard of service must, I am sorry to say, be slow; there will be a considerable amount of new traffic to be absorbed, but I am confident that the improvement though slow will be sure. I am glad to say that I have been able to arrange for the wartime restriction of conversation on long distance telephone calls to six minutes to be removed generally as from 1st November. From that date, it will be applied only when there is congestion on the route concerned. This will be indicated at the time by the operators, and I appeal to the public to assist them by terminating their calls promptly when requested to do so.