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10 Dec 2002 : Column 210W—continued

PlusBus Scheme

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations his Department has received on the PlusBus scheme; what support his Department and Transport Direct have provided; what assessment (a) has been made and (b) is planned of the scheme, and what the expected outcome is. [86083]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department works closely with Journey Solutions (the organisation responsible for the PlusBus scheme). The Department is represented, through the Transport Direct team, on both the Journey Solutions Board and Advisory Panel. Both of these groups have taken a close interest in the PlusBus scheme, offering support where appropriate, and will continue to do so. To date no representations from other organisations or members of the public have been received on the scheme as it was only launched publicly last month.

My Department is currently undertaking research on behalf of Journey Solutions to assess the PlusBus scheme. The research will measure awareness of PlusBus; examine customer satisfaction with the product; critically review each step of the PlusBus journey; test effectiveness of promotional components; confirm target market; and measure impact on travel patterns. The results of this research should be available by mid 2003. The research will contribute to the Department for Transport understanding about multi-modal ticketing—one of the Transport Direct strategic objectives.

PPP

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his Answer of 2nd December, Official Report, column 498W, if he will place in the Library the calculations upon which his long-term grant offer is made. [85742]

Mr. Jamieson: The calculations made as part of our assessment of the amount of freight facilities grant which may be offered in a given case are set out in Annexes A and B to the document XWater Freight Facilities Grant". Copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

Primary Rail Routes

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent calculations he has made of the average cost to the passenger per mile of travel on each of the primary rail routes. [85323]

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Mr. Jamieson: The most recent research into the average price of fares was carried out for the Strategic Rail Authority by AEA Technology in 2001. It did not include route-specific information. The standard class average fare paid was 13.7 pence per mile.

Railway Rolling Stock

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimates his Department has made of the feasibility of using type 365 rolling stock on railway lines between London, Bishop's Stortford and Cambridge. [86241]

Mr. Jamieson: Services between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge via Bishop's Stortford are currently provided by Class 317 units. The Department is not aware of any plans to use Class 365 units on these services.

Railway Stations

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are for increasing capacity at (a) Clitheroe and (b) Preston railway stations. [85324]

Mr. Jamieson: There are no current plans. However, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) is currently developing a Capacity Utilisation Policy to improve capacity planning and provision across the whole of the rail network.

Road Building Schemes

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the value for money to (a) his Department and (b) the other public funds of road building schemes, including those relating to road improvements and operations, using the design, build, finance and operate contracting method. [86098]

Mr. Jamieson: A value for money assessment is carried out on all Design Build Finance and Operate proposals, whether they are promoted by my Department or by a Local Authority seeking Government assistance for their scheme. This consists of the preparation of a public sector comparator, which broadly involves an estimate of the costs of constructing and maintaining the scheme within the public sector over the same length of a Design Build Finance and Operate contract and comparing this with an estimate of letting a Design Build Finance and Operate contract. The costs of both options are then discounted back to today's prices to ensure that the comparison is on the samebasis.

The following Design Build Finance and Operate schemes were judged to be value for money at contract award.

Schemes promoted by the Highways Agency








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Local Authority schemes supported by my Department


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road building schemes using the design, build, finance and operate contracting method are (a) completed and (b) under construction; what the estimated cost to public funds is for each project over the lifetime of the DBFO contract; and if he will make a statement. [86100]

Mr. Jamieson: There are nine design build finance and operate schemes of which one is under construction (Al30) and eight have been completed. The cost to the public funds over the life (30 years) of the eight completed projects are:

# million

ProjectEstimated cost
M1-A1232
A1(M)154
A417 A419112
A6962
M40182
A19136
A5067
A30/A35148

The above figures are net present values calculated at an 8 per cent. real discount rate.

The Government are also prepared to consider providing assistance to local authorities to provide roads through a design build finance and operate contract. To date only the A130 road has been procured in this way. That road was constructed in two stages. The first stage has been completed and the second stage is expected to open shortly. The estimated cost to public funds over the life of the project is #105

million at 1997 prices.

School Transport

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regulations governing the safe transportation of children to and from school on public transport; and if he will make a statement. [86162]

Mr. Jamieson : I would like first of all to express my deepest sympathy to all those bereaved and injured by the tragic accident involving children travelling on a bus in my hon. Friends constituency on 3 December.

There are a number of different regulations governing the standards for buses and coaches which will effect those used for school transport.

(1) The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended. This sets out the legal technical parameters for masses, dimensions, suspension, steering, turning circle requirements and seat belt requirements for the vehicles.

(2) The Public Service Vehicles (Conditions of Fitness, Equipment, Use and Certification) Regulations 1981, as amended. These set out the standards for the likes of seat sizes, gangway sizes, handholds, exits, luggage spaces, step heights etc.

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(3) The Public Service Vehicles (Carrying Capacity) Regulations 1984, as amended. These set the standards for the numbers of passengers that can be carried on bus, the way they are to be marked to show this and where passengers can and cannot stand.

(4) The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended. Which as well as setting out the requirements for the vehicles external lighting also requires markings to be displayed on the vehicles that are used for carrying children.

(5) The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990, as amended. This sets out the requirements for the

behaviour of Staff and passengers using buses and coaches.

My Department keeps the regulations referred to above under constant review.

Shipping Criteria

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the level of (a) submission and (b) publication of self-assessment forms from flag states on shipping criteria and performance indicators; and what action is planned in this area. [86081]

Mr. Jamieson: Forty-nine Member States (including the UK) have so far submitted their completed Self-Assessment Forms to IMO. That is a disappointing rate of return. The UK encourages those Member States that have not yet completed and published their Self-Assessment Forms to do so.

The UK and other Member States have brought to IMO a proposal for the introduction of a voluntary Model Audit Scheme, to assess the effectiveness of Member States' implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO safety and pollution prevention Convention standards.

The UK and other Member States have brought to IMO a proposal for the introduction of a voluntary Model Audit Scheme, to assess the effectiveness of Member States' implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO safety and pollution prevention Convention standards.


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