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Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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Carriers' Licences


asked the Minister ot Transport how many applications for "A" and "B" licences respectively have been made in each of the last six quarter-years for which figures are available; in how many cases was the grant of such licences opposed by a railway company: and how many licences were granted.

I regret that quarterly figures are not available. The most recent annual figures are for the year ended 30th September, 1938, and I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement giving some relevant statistical information in respect of that year.

Following is the statement:

The figures of applications for "A" and "B" currency carriers' licences and variations for the year ended 30th September, 1938, are as follow:

Total applications (all traffic areas)Total granted
"A" currency licences and variations8,3856,783
"B" currency licences and variations39,65736,855

Figures in respect of applications objected to by the railway companies are not available for the North Western and East Midland Traffic Areas. The figures for the remaining ten traffic areas for the year ended 30th September, 1938, are as follow:

Applications (10 traffic areas).Granted.Objected to by railway companies.
'A' currency licences and variations6,2895,1572,007
"B" currency licences and variations.30,65828,5193,864

Motor Cars (Spare Parts)


asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the existing shortage of spare parts for motor cars, he will institute a system of priority under the direction of the certifying officer of his Department for the allocation of these parts.

No, Sir. I am convinced there is not sufficient justification for reimposing such a priority scheme.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that while there is a large black market in motor car spares, large numbers of deserving people cannot get their cars on to the road through lack of these spares? Will he see that some attention is given to their needs?

I have certainly examined carefully the problem of re-imposing a priority scheme, but I am satisfied that it would be a move in the wrong direction.

Pedestrian Crossings (Coloured Surfaces)

25 and 26.

asked the Minister of Transport (1) if, in the interests of road safety, he will authorise the painting of pedestrian crossings with amber zig-zag lines;

(2) if he has now completed his review of the results of experiments using coloured surfaces for pedestrian crossings; and what conclusions he has come to.

The use of coloured surfaces for pedestrian crossings is being investigated by the Road Research Board and I propose to await the results of their work before reaching a conclusion.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that motorists are at present paying sufficient respect to pedestrian crossings, and, if not, will he speed up some measures to ensure such respect?

No, I am not satisfied that motorists are paying sufficient attention to pedestrian crossings. We are certainly trying to expedite this particular examination.

Will the Minister say whether, under this scheme, pedestrians are expected to take a zig-zag course?

Would the Minister see that paint of a permanent character is used so that the markings will be "forever amber"?

Concrete Ramps, Crawley By-Pass


asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that a number of good concrete ramps which were made by the Army by the Crawley by-pass are now being broken up; if he will state the reason for this action in view of the fact that such ramps provided an excellent parking place for lorries engaged upon night transport; and why labour is now being employed on this unnecessary work.

The ramps on the Crawley by-pass formed the foundations of buildings erected during the war. They lie across cycle tracks and footpaths which it is now necessary to reinstate on grounds of public safety One of the ramps is being retained as a car park, but the others are unsuitable for this purpose because of their location and level.

I cannot say whether: I comes under the problem of priority, but I certainly think that the needs of cyclists and pedestrians should always be considered by the Ministry of Transport.

Bath Road, Cranford (Speed Limit)


asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the dangerous traffic conditions on the Bath Road through Cranford village, he will give further sympathetic consideration to submissions made by the Middlesex County Council at the request of the Heston and Isleworth Borough Council that a 30-mile speed limit be imposed on the section of the Bath Road between Cranford Bridge and the Great West Road junction.

The accident record shows that speed has not been a substantial factor in the occurrence of accidents at this spot, and I do not think that the imposition of a speed limit is necessary. Work on the widening of the carriageway at the junction with Berkeley Avenue, to which my right hon. Friend referred in his reply to my hon. Friend on 26th February, will start in the next few weeks.

Is my hon. Friend aware that that is the sort of answer he gave me about 12 months ago? It was then regarded as quite unsatisfactory and in view of the anxiety felt by parents of children attending the nearby junior and infants' school, is he prepared to approve a conference held on the spot between officials of his Department and the local council officials in order to determine the best scheme whereby this dangerous element can be removed?

This matter has been gone into very carefully and we are satisfied that the danger arises from the narrowness of the carriageway at certain spots. We are taking immediate steps to rectify that danger as far as possible. It there is any further information which my hon. Friend can give me, I am prepared to consider it.

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that if the carriageway is narrow we cannot wait until it is widened? The obvious thing is to use all immediate remedies available, and will the Minister do that?

is the Minister prepared to consider the matter further because, unless he is, I must give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment?

The work proposed is to start within a few weeks. I think we might wait and see what happens.

Will the Minister say whether his objection to a speed limit here is in any way due to the fact that the Bath road was built as an alternative to the old Bath road and was, therefore, intended as a road where there should be no speed limit?

Sign-Posting, London Area


asked the Minister of Transport whether he will review the sign-posting of roads out of London, and especially those south of the river, in view of its inadequacy and the trouble caused to motorists resulting therefrom.

Sign-posting in London will be improved when supplies are available. In a circular to highway authorities on 1st March, 1946, I asked them to consider the erection of further direction signs of the type recommended by the Departmental Committee on Traffic Signs.

Will the Minister bear in mind that speed is of the essence of this matter and that under present arrangements there is considerable wastage of petrol and unnecessary wear and tear of tyres?

On a previous Question, evidently speed was regarded as advantageous. I will take notice of my hon. Friend's statement.

Can the Minister say when he expects these supplies to be available?

Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that when these designs are introduced they will read, "Turn Right. It's the only way out"?

Road Widening, Norwich (Wall)


asked the Minister of Transport how many man-hours of labour have been used on the building of a boundary wall along the Yarmouth road west of Thunder Lane in Thorpe St. Andrew, Norwich; how soon the wall will be finished; and what has been the reason for the construction of such a wall at this particular juncture.

Two thousand and thirty six man-hours have so far been spent on the construction of the wall, and 160 will be required for completion. It is expected to finish the work by the end of this month. The wall replaces one which collapsed because of vibration caused by traffic. The opportunity was taken to widen the road and provide a new footpath at this danger spot and as part of the terms of land acquisition the new wall was constructed in the style of the original.

Buses (Standing Passengers)


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.

Reconditioned Motor Cars (Ex-Service Men)


asked the Minister of Transport how many disabled ex-Service men are on the waiting list for reconditioned ex-Service motor cars.