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Heathrow-Victoria: Coach Service

Volume 413: debated on Tuesday 14 October 1980

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My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received any further information from British Airways concerning the future operation of the coach service between Heathrow and the Victoria Terminal.

; My Lords, British Airways announced some three weeks ago that they will cease their coach service between Heathrow and the Victoria Terminal on 14th November. However, I am pleased to say that London Transport will commence two new coach services linking London with Heathrow Airport, one of which will run from Victiora, and these will start from 15th November, the day after the British Airways service is to cease. The new London Transport Victoria to Heathrow service will run from Grosvenor Gardens, adjacent to Victoria railway station, and should therefore be more convenient for those passengers making onward travel arrangements by public transport.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that I am delighted that at last some progress is being made to rectify the seven-year rundown of the bus service, ever since this House voted in December 1973 to retain the services at the West London Air Terminal? Is he also aware, to be fair, that I appreciate the way in which British Airways have kept me informed of this through the Summer Recess? Finally, in connection with what he said today, may I ask him three brief points? Will the stopping places where passengers are picked up have adequate shelter accommodation for passengers and their luggage, in view of the British climate? Secondly, will help be available to put the luggage on to the buses? Thirdly, what publicity do London Transport envisage so that the public may be aware of the service offered?

My Lords, I think the happy outcome to this matter—and I hope the noble Baroness agrees that that is what it is—is in no small measure due to the pressure which the noble Baroness has maintained from at least as far back as 1973, which date she mentioned On the three points which she raised, there will indeed be shelter constructed in Grosvenor Gardens for these services; and I understand that the necessary publicity, or some publicity, will be put in hand.

My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord, as one who has been interested in this question for some time, at what intervals these buses will be leaving?

My Lords, I understand that the frequency of this service will be the same as the frequency of the British Airways service which it replaces.

My Lords, perhaps I may point out to my noble friend that he did not answer one of the noble Baroness's supplementary questions, about whether there would be help with luggage. Also, I should like to know whether he can possibly use his influence to have advertisements put in the Tube to Heathrow advertising the fact that an alternative bus route is available.

My Lords, I will convey to London Transport the noble Baroness's view about advertisements in the Heathrow underground. As for the point about baggage which she raised, the question of crewing the services is a matter for London Transport, to which I suggest my noble friend refers her question.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that, of course, we have another Question down for Thursday, when he might be able to amplify these points? Is he also aware that I am pursuing London Transport? Finally, with reference to the point made by Lady Trumpington, it would be nice to see not only "Fly the Tube" on the advertisements, but "Why not use the bus?"

My Lords, as the noble Baroness knows, a new chairman was recently appointed to London Transport, who is, I fancy, very much aware of these points.

My Lords, can the Minister tell us whether these buses are one-man buses, or whether there will be somebody to help with the luggage?

My Lords, as I said earlier to my noble friend Lady Trumpington, the crewing of these buses is a matter for London Transport, to which I suggest my noble friend refers her question.

My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord what time the first bus will start in the morning? Is the noble Lord aware that the first Tube does not allow passengers to get the early planes?

My Lords, I do not have the times in front of me, but I understand that the times of the first and last buses, like the frequency of the service, will be the same as for the British Airways service which this service replaces.

My Lords, may I, as at one time a perpetual traveller, express my warmest thanks and those of other people to the noble Baroness, and also to the Government for finally acceding to what she has been urging for so long?

My Lords, so far as luggage is concerned, is there any reason why the Tube trains should not include a luggage van?

My Lords, I understand that some of the coaches on the Tube service are specially constructed so as to accept luggage, but if I am wrong on that point perhaps I might write to the noble Lord.