asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether the National Bus Company achieved its performance aim in 1981; what performance aim he has set for 1982; and if he will make a statement.
My predecessor announced on 22 May 1981—[Vol. 1, c. 201]—that he had set the National Bus Company a performance aim of a reduction in operating costs per vehicle mile of 3 per cent. in real terms in 1981. The company estimates that the actual reduction in its operating costs per vehicle mile last year was no less than 3·8 per cent. in real terms. Although this is still a provisional figure, it is clear that the company not only met but surpassed the challenging aim set for it. I am delighted to pay tribute to that achievement, which has been of great benefit to the travelling public.I have now agreed with the company that its performance aim for 1982 should be a further reduction in operating costs per vehicle mile of 1½ per cent. in re al terms. in the different circumstances of 1982 this, too, will present the company and its work force with a real challenge. I am sure that it will again do its utmost to meet it.