asked the Minister of War Transport whether he will facilitate an in crease in transport services in the county of Durham, especially in the Sedgefield and Bellingham areas, and thereby obviate the present queues where people are kept waiting for sometimes over an hour and often longer.
Most of the services in Sedgefield and Billingham have now been restored to pre-war strength. I have no recent information indicating special difficulties in these areas, but if my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind I will inquire into it.
Would it be possible to put on extra buses during the period, because I have the experience every weekend I am there of having to wait a considerable period before I can get from one station to another?
:Of course, I would like to improve services, but as my hon. Friend knows, it depends very largely on the increase of labour; and his own area has not done so very badly compared with the average throughout the country.
asked the Minister of War Transport if he will indicate when he will strengthen transport services in rural areas, particularly the Lonsdale division of Lancaster.
Services in rural areas are being strengthened progressively as the necessary crews and vehicles become available. There have been steady improvements in the services of the Ribble company in the Lonsdale division.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the rural areas deserve better transport, before he increases the number of charabancs?
I am very well aware of the necessity of improving rural transport services, but I would emphasise to the hon. and gallant Member that we cannot look for regular and uniform improvement of these services, and I think the policy that I am adopting, of improving them wherever it is possible, will show the best dividend.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it is advisable to make a frank statement on this question to many of the small bus companies, because the wages they pay are not good enough, and they are not able to attract the labour for the crews?
That is another question.
When he speaks of motor transport in that part of Lancashire, does not the right hon. Gentleman know that all transport in North-East Lancashire is even more atrocious today than it was when I first came to this House, ten years ago?
I should not like to draw the obvious inference from that.
asked the Minister of War Transport what steps he is taking to remedy the inadequate omnibus service of the village of Slawston, Leicestershire, where the only omnibus serving the village is between Hallaston and Market Harborough on Tuesdays and one return journey to Leicester on Wednesdays, as the omnibus company have omnibuses standing idle in their gagages but not the manpower to cover the services needed..
The operator concerned intends to restore a Saturday service between Slawston and Leicester and beween Slawston and Market Harborough as soon as the necessary crews can be obtained.
:Is the Minister aware that the buses are in the garages awaiting the crews which the Ministry of Labour has been unable to supply for them?
I am afraid we are all somewhat aware of that position, and we are doing our best to remedy it.