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Trolleybuses, London (Replacement)

Volume 527: debated on Wednesday 19 May 1954

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asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what reduction is brought about in total passenger carrying capacity by the decision to substitute diesel oil vehicles for electric trolleybuses in London.

I am informed that the passenger-carrying capacity of the new vehicles would be similar whether they were powered by oil or by electricity.

In view of the fact that it is a matter of ordinary calculation—remembering that a trolleybus carries 70 passengers and a diesel bus 64 passengers —that 200 extra vehicles would be required to give the same passenger-carrying capacity, and not the 30 which the right hon. Gentleman announced, is it not evident that the London public will have a reduced service, and would the Minister take action to restrain the London Transport Executive in their bias against this useful electrical vehicle?

That might be so if the calculations of the hon. Gentleman were correct, but London Transport are proposing—and were proposing anyhow—to replace the existing trolley vehicles—the 70 seater 3-axle trolleybuses—with 2-axle vehicles of about the same seating capacity, and that makes my answer and theirs absolutely correct.

Is it not a fact that there will be considerable economy as the result of this substitution, and is not that the overriding factor for it?

Is it not a fact that the new buses proposed by London Transport can be loaded and unloaded quicker than trolleybuses owing to their design?

I think so, and examination of all the facts suggests that this should lead to a speeding up and a smoother flowing of London traffic.