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Buses (Standing Passengers)

Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Transport whether his regulations entitle the conductor of an omnibus plying for hire to refuse admission to a passenger when the omnibus is not full; and whether the conductor is sole judge of whether the omnibus is full or not.

This is a matter normally covered by operators' instructions to their staffs. The regulation allows carriage of a limited number of standing passengers at certain times, but it is permissive and it is for operators to decide how far they will take advantage of it.

Is the Minister aware that in their anxiety not to carry one passenger over the odds, buses frequently run with an incomplete load thereby penalising the long suffering public and wasting money; and cannot he devise some system whereby it can be shown effectively to those waiting to get on a bus whether the top is full or not?

I should hope that this is a very rare and exceptional case. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] My reply shows that we have not powers at the present moment, but I certainly feel that the hon. and gallant Member has raised a rather important point.

Will my right hon. Friend look into this matter again because there is a great deal of substance in the Question? Frequently people are prevented from boarding buses on the plea that the bus is full, when as a matter of fact the bus is not full, either upstairs or down, but one cannot stand and argue.

Again I would ask hon. Members to look at my reply which indicates the powers I have in the matter. That does not mean that I do not accept the views of hon. Members: I do.

In view of the increasing length of queues of people waiting for admission to omnibuses, will my right hon. Friend consider so amending the regulations to make it clear that members of the public have a right to board an omnibus until the permitted number of standing passengers has been reached?

I can only repeat what I have stated already. I note the interest which the House takes in this matter, and it is my very strong desire to support in every possible way.