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Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the use of concessionary bus fares for older people in England and Wales; and what plans he has for future changes. 
|Take-up rate of those with scheme available (3) (Percentage)||Trips per person per year, where main mode is bus, using concessionary fares (4)|
We have no plans to change the present arrangements for concessionary travel for older people. The current statutory minimum requirement for concessionary travel in England introduced in 2001 ensures half fares for older and disabled people on local buses, with no charge for the pass. From April 2003, we have extended concessionary travel schemes to men aged 6064, bringing them into line with women of the same age. Local authorities may make more generous provision, including free travel, at their discretion.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many conferences for attendees other than Driving Standards Agency employees the DSA has organised each year since 1997; and how much each conference cost. 
|Conference title and venue||Cost (£)|
|1998||Safe driving for lifeBirmingham||24,000|
|1999||Safe driving for lifeBirmingham||32,500|
|2003||CIECA(Commission Internationale des Examens de Conduite Automobile) Edinburgh||57,600|
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment his Department has made of the National Audit Office report, "Improving Public Transport in England through Light Rail"; 
(2) what assessment his Department has made of its (a) bidding process for and (b) evaluation of light rail proposals since publication of the National Audit Office report, "Improving Public Transport in England through Light Rail." 
Mr. McNulty: The Department is currently considering the findings of the report published on 23 April, including those conclusions relating to the bidding process and the evaluation of light rail projects.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with organisations representing the disabled about the inclusion of access criteria in the assessment of the Blackpool light rail bid. 
Mr. McNulty: The impact on accessibility is one of Department's criteria used for assessing the value for money of all transport projects. The Department has no direct discussion with organisations representing the disabled regarding accessibility issues on the Blackpool tramway; this would be for the promoters when developing their bid.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much central Government investment was promised by his Department when funding approval was first given to the South Hampshire Rapid Transit scheme; and what subsequent change in funding has been agreed by his Department; 
(2) how much central Government investment was promised by his Department when funding approval was first given to the Leeds Supertram; and what subsequent change in funding has been agreed by his Department; 
(3) how much central Government investment was promised by his Department when funding approval was first given to the Liverpool Merseytram; and what subsequent change in funding has been agreed by his Department. 
Mr. McNulty: In March 2001 the Department agreed to contribute up to £170 million (in present value) towards the South Hampshire Rapid Transit scheme and up to £355 million (in present value) towards Leeds Supertram. In December 2002 the Department provisionally agreed to contribute a maximum of £165 million towards Merseytram Line 1 subject to all the necessary statutory powers being obtained. In all cases, final funding is dependent on the scheme still offering value for money against the Department's appraisal criteria to ensure value for money. No change in funding has been agreed.
In the UK and worldwide the overwhelming majority of radioactive material movements are associated with medical care. These materials often have a very short shelf life, and may be delivered in response to individual patient needs. Other requirements, such as the need for secure storage, also influence the number of shipments of radioactive material.
Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the socio-economic make up of rail users (a) outside London, (b) in London and (c) in the South East; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the socio-economic breakdown of bus users outside London. 
|Rail users (5)||Bus users (6)|
|Socio-economic group (SEG)||All persons aged 16 and over||Outside London||London||South East||Outside London|
|Other manual/other SEGs||14||13||9||11||17|
|Other economically inactive||12||11||14||8||15|
Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards the targets for bus services agreed between his Department and the Confederation for Passenger Transport announced on 30 April 2002 (a) in London and (b) outside London; and what further action he proposes to take to ensure that those targets are achieved. 
With regard to reliability, the results for the quarter year October to December 2003 showed that 98.5 per cent. of scheduled local bus mileage was operated in England, using seasonally adjusted data. The figure for London was 97.5 per cent. and that for the rest of England 98.8 per cent. In the baseline year, 200001, 98.2 per cent. of scheduled local bus mileage was operated. The target is for operators to run 99.5 per cent. of all scheduled mileage.
On bus fleet age, the most recent results from CPT for the age of their members' full size bus fleet showed an average age of 7.5 years at 1 July 2002. The target is to maintain an average fleet age of no more than eight years. Data for 1 July 2003 should be available shortly. Separate figures for London as compared to the rest of the country are not available.
On accessibility, results from the Department's annual survey of bus operators showed that, at 31 March 2003, 29.3 per cent. of full size buses in Great Britain were of low floor design, allowing wheelchair access. This has increased from 22.0 per cent. at 31 March 2001. The target is for half of all full size buses to be wheelchair accessible by 2010. A separate survey undertaken by Transport for London showed that 82 per cent. of the capital's full sized bus fleet is fully accessible.
Survey results for the quarter year October to December 2003 showed that bus passenger satisfaction with information at bus stops was rated at 66 out of 100, for England, using seasonally adjusted data. This is up from 61 in 200001 and 63 in 200203. The figure for London was 73 out of 100 as against 60 out of 100 for the rest of England. The target is to improve the rating year on year.
The Government and the CPT remain committed to achieving these targets, underlining the good working relationship that we have with the bus industry, as well as demonstrating the industry's continuing commitment to delivering improved services.
19 May 2004 : Column 1001W
Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much capital expenditure has been invested by local authorities on measures designed to improve the quality and reliability of bus services outside London in the last five years for which data is available. 
In the first two years of the LTP programme (200102 and 200203) local authorities informed us that they spent £97 million and £165 million respectively on bus infrastructure schemes, including major schemes. They forecast further spend of £233 million in 200304.
Mr. McNulty: Information is not available in the form requested. The Department collects information each year on the number of rural bus services it supports through rural bus subsidy grant but the survey does not measure the frequency of services.
Mr. McNulty: Virgin West Coast, Virgin Cross Country, First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern are operating on management contracts. The new arrangements came into place in July 2002 for the Virgin franchises, March 2001 for First North Western, and February 2001 for Arriva Trains Northern. Of these, only First North Western is on a cost plus basis. The others are operated on the basis of annual budgets (so the operator is at risk within the year).
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