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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received from (a) the Local Government Association and (b) individual local authorities, urging a reduction in the time taken by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to contact the last registered owners of vehicles found with no road tax. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average time taken by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to contact the last registered owners of vehicles found with no road tax was in the last period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
The majority of registered keepers of unlicensed vehicles are sent a letter offering them an opportunity to pay an out of court settlement 25 days after the vehicle was sighted on a public road. Generally the vehicle keepers are not contacted before the 25 days to allow for any delayed licence applications to update the vehicle record.
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Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment has been made of the response times of the (a) online and (b) telephone renewal system of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. 
Mr. Jamieson: DVLA is currently in negotiations with its service providers to develop a process, which will allow the agency to measure the response times of the online service. DVLA is also working on developing a response time report for the telephone renewal system. These arrangements are expected to be in place by early summer.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times the (a) online service and (b) the automatic telephone system at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has failed to recognise its relicensing numbers since the system was established. 
Mr. Jamieson: The current relicensing period runs from the fifteenth day of the month in which the current licence expires. If a customer uses their relicensing number prior to the 15th of the month the system will not recognise it as the application has been made too early. Information on the number of times the system failed to recognise the relicensing number is not available.
Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the statement by the hon. Member for Staffordshire, Moorlands (Charlotte Atkins) of 11 January 2005, Official Report, column 22WH, on operational improvements in Marlow, what assessment he has made of the improvements needed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 17 January 2005]: No assessment has been made yet as the line has not been designated as a community railway, but the objective would be to provide greater capacity and flexibility in the operation of the line to Maidenhead.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many passengers used Maidenhead station in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004, broken down by (i) morning peak hours, (ii) evening peak hours and (iii) off-peak hours; 
Analysis by First Great Western, of tickets sold shows the following passenger journeys to and from both stations to all destinations for the 36 weeks from 1 April 2004 to 11 December 2004. These are based on the train operating company's ticket sales and the numbers of passenger journeys associated with them. Figures for earlier years and for journeys between Twyford and Maidenhead stations are not readily available.
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|Total Passenger Journeys||(i) morning peak hours (percentage)||(ii) evening peak hours percentage)||(iii) off-peak hours (percentage)|
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations his Department has received regarding the December timetable changes on routes from Paddington to Maidenhead and Twyford, broken down by (a) those in favour of the changes and (b) those opposed to the changes. 
Mr. McNulty: Timetable changes on services to and from London Paddington were consulted on by the Strategic Rail Authority in early 2004. The majority of stakeholders recognised the benefits of the overall package of measures. Since that time, available records show the Department for Transport has received one formal representation opposing the changes to timetables on routes from Paddington to Maidenhead and Twyford, along with a small volume of correspondence regarding services on the route more generally.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidelines his Department has issued on the maximum acceptable density of commuter rail passengers measured by number of passengers per square foot. 
Mr. McNulty: The Department has issued no such guidelines. Train operating companies, when calculating capacity for peak period services use a figure of 0.45 sq metres per standing passenger, and any counts which show that they are exceeding this figure will result in the Strategic Rail Authority asking them to look at ways of reducing the passenger loadings on their trains.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he supports the recent proposals put forward to his Department by contractors to open rural stations and halts with short platforms. 
Mr. McNulty: The Department is not aware of any such proposals. In September 2004 the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) published its "New Stations: A Guide for Promoters", copies of which are in the Library of the House. All proposals for new railway stations will be assessed using the criteria specified in this guide.
Mr. McNulty: Rail Performance Statistics are published quarterly by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) in "National Rail Trends". The most recent edition was published in December 2004. Copies of "National Rail Trends" are placed in the House of Commons Library and published on the SRA's website.
Mr. McNulty: Romford and Gidea Park stations are managed on a day-to-day basis by ONE railway. I understand that ONE are committed to investing £11.3 million in station improvements over the course of the franchise. Details of this spend and their priorities are currently being identified and developed. There are no immediate plans to provide new facilities at these stations.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the potential to increase the amount of freight carried on the rail network in the south-east of England; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The Strategic Rail Authority has considered the key rail freight markets of coal, automotive, metals, petroleum and petroleum products, and general freight in a series of market studies across the UK. These seek to explore underlying trends and forecasted growth in these markets, and have assessed the potential implications and opportunities for rail freight. Summaries of these market studies are published on the SRA freight customer website http://www.railfreightonline.com/news/marketresearch, and will be made available in the Libraries of the House.
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