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Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assumptions were made about the (a) level of fares and (b) number of passengers to be carried at peak times in the successful bid by First Capital Connect for the Thameslink franchise; and if he will make a statement. [84360]

Derek Twigg: The First Capital Connect bid was consistent with the current fares policy. Unregulated fares and restrictions as to their use are a matter for the train operating company’s commercial judgment.

First Capital Connect forecasts increased patronage on its routes throughout the term of the franchise. The Department is working with the industry to increase the length of peak services on routes to Bedford, St. Albans and Luton so that all will have eight carriages by the end of 2009.

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the companies bidding for the former Thameslink franchise incorporated (a) passenger reductions and (b) fare increases in their base line bid; and if he will make a statement. [82679]

Derek Twigg: We cap the price of regulated fares. It is a commercial decision for Train Operators to set unregulated fares and to set individual regulated fares within the regulatory constraint.

Three of the five bidders for the Thameslink/Great Northern franchise put forward proposals for demand management in order to address the level of crowding on particular services. No bidder included proposals for passenger reduction.

Train Operating Companies

Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance he has issued to train operating companies regarding their communication with hon. Members. [88302]

Derek Twigg: None.

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Train Services

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review peak time train services along the Brighton to London Victoria line. [89125]

Derek Twigg: Peak time services between London and Brighton are among the issues currently being considered as part of the Department’s evaluation of the Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review train services to Crowhurst, East Sussex; and if he will make a statement. [89108]

Derek Twigg: Southeastern plan a major timetable review in 2007, ahead of the introduction of CTRL Domestic Services. This will provide an opportunity to review service patterns across the franchise.

Train Timetables

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the formats in which train timetables are produced by Network Rail are governed by regulations; [88352]

(2) what assessment has been made of the impact of changing to internet-only railway timetables; [88353]

(3) in what formats Network Rail produces train timetables; and whether changes are planned. [88361]

Derek Twigg: Network Rail’s Network Licence places an obligation on it to “publish or procure the publication of a national timetable of railway passenger services”.

Network Rail currently discharges this obligation by producing a National Rail Timetable in A5 format.

Any decision to change the current, publication and distribution of the National Rail Timetable is the responsibility of Network Rail.

The hon. Member should contact Network Rail’s Chief Executive at the address below for an answer to his question:

John Armitt, Chief Executive, Network Rail, 40 Melton Street, London NW1 2EE.

Transport Access (Disabled People)

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what further plans he has to improve access to transport for disabled people in West Lancashire. [83546]

Gillian Merron: We are committed to an accessible public transport system in which disabled people have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society and have already made significant progress in this area. At a national level regulations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA 1995) have been introduced making all new rail vehicles, buses and coaches accessible to disabled people, including wheelchair users. Over 4,400 accessible rail vehicles are already in service and almost half of the bus fleet used
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nationwide on scheduled services is accessible. We have also announced our policy proposals for taxis. As a result, many more disabled people, are now able to use public transport and those improvements will continue as more new vehicles are introduced.

Measures in the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005), which significantly extends disabled people’s civil rights, will further strengthen legislation in relation to transport. The Act enables Part 3 of the DDA 1995, which covers access to goods, facilities and services, to be applied to transport services. We have already laid regulations which will cover land-based public transport (regardless of whether those vehicles are regulated under the DDA 1995), vehicle hire and breakdown services. The Disability Rights Commission has drafted a code of practice to assist transport service providers in understanding the new duties which will come into force on 4 December 2006. The Commission is also developing further, sector specific, guidance on what it might be reasonable for transport operators to do to make their services more accessible to disabled people.

The Act also includes further measures on rail including the setting of an “end date”, of no later than 1 January 2020, by which time all rail vehicles will have to be fully accessible, applying accessibility regulations to older rail vehicles when they are refurbished, the introduction of compliance certification and decriminalisation of offences. We intend to have all the major provisions of the DDA 2005, including those on transport, in place by the end of December 2006 and are on course to achieve this.

However, provision of accessible vehicles on their own is not sufficient to deliver an accessible transport system. We are also looking at this issue and have implemented the majority of the recommendations from the Social Exclusion Unit’s report on transport and social exclusion (Making the Connections, 2003).

These include the introduction of “accessibility planning” into the local transport planning process to encourage local authorities and other agencies to assess whether people can access key services such as health care, education and jobs.

Accessibility planning aims to ensure that there is a clearer and more systematic approach to identifying and tackling the barriers that people, particularly those from disadvantaged groups and areas, face in accessing jobs and key services. Considering the accessibility needs of disabled people is part of this process.

Lancashire county council’s proposals for delivering improvements in accessibility are set out in its second Local Transport Plan which is available on the Council's web site at

Transport Direct Portal

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) estimated and (b) outturn cost was in each year since inception of the (i) development and (ii) running of the Transport Direct portal. [85819]

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Dr. Ladyman: Since inception, estimated and outturn spend on the Transport Direct Portal Design, Build and Operate (DBO) contract, which covers both development and operational costs, has been as follows:

£ million
Period Estimate Outturn













These figures represent the total sums paid to Atos Origin (the DBO contractor) for all aspects of the DBO contract.

The overall budget for the Transport Direct (TD) Programme, which included this contract among many other things, was £57 million (Capital and Resource) for the Period of Spending Review 2002 (April 2003 to March 2006). The overall programme budget underspent by £12 million and, with the agreement of the TD Programme and Project Boards, funds were transferred from the TD Programme to the Portal DBO contract to reflect the fact that some of the work originally envisaged as programme was undertaken within the project. This accounts for the minor overspends noted above against 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Transport Infrastructures (High Temperatures)

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the abilities of the (a) rail and (b) road infrastructure to cope in temperatures greater than 30 degrees centigrade. [88285]

Derek Twigg: Bituminous road surfacing can be susceptible to extremes in temperature causing deformation, usually in the form of rutting. High temperatures can also reduce the skid resistance of the surface.

Design and maintenance of the local road network in England are matters for individual local highway authorities, and no central assessment has been made of their susceptibility to high temperatures. The UK Roads Board has recently published “Well-maintained Highways” (July 2005, TSO and at ), a code of practice for highways maintenance. This specifically includes advice on dealing with high temperatures.

On the motorway and trunk road network in England, two types of bituminous surfacing are used; “hot rolled asphalt” and “thin surfacings”. Approximately seventy per cent. of this network is covered in hot rolled asphalt that is designed to withstand road surface temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius. Thin surfacings, that cover the remainder, consist of coarse aggregate bound by hard bituminous materials and can withstand road surface temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius. All new or replacement surfacings laid by the Highways Agency on this network are “thin surfacings”.

Bridges and other types of structure on the road network are designed to accommodate changes in temperatures in a way that is appropriate to their location.

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The resilience of the rail infrastructure to very high temperatures is an operational matter for Network Rail, the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Member should contact Network Rail's chief executive at the following address for an answer to his question:

John Armitt, Chief Executive, Network Rail, 40 Melton Street, London NW1 2EE.

Travel Costs (Royal Family)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to public funds was of the travel of HRH the Duke of York on 19 July 2006; and if he will make a statement. [87797]

Gillian Merron: On 19 July, HRH The Duke of York undertook a number of official engagements in Cheshire and Merseyside in support of his role as Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. The Queen’s Helicopter was used for travel as this provided the most effective and least disruptive means for The Duke to attend seven official engagements during the day. The total cost of the four flights was £2,799.

Trunk Roads (Gravesham)

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of future traffic patterns on trunk roads in Gravesham; and whether provision has been made for possible increases in traffic. [86680]

Gillian Merron: As part of operating in partnership with key stakeholders, the Highways Agency and Kent county council are working with Gravesham and Dartford borough councils to estimate and model future traffic patterns to ensure growth is planned in the most sustainable way on both the strategic and local road networks. This work is on-going and will help inform Gravesham's Local Development Framework.

UK International Airports/Ports

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the international (a) airports and (b) ports in the United Kingdom. [87296]

Gillian Merron: UK airports handling international terminal passenger traffic are listed in table 10.1 of UK Airport Statistics 2005, which is published on the Civil Aviation Authority’s website All active sea ports in the UK are potentially capable of receiving international traffic. The main sea ports which are known to handle international traffic based on returns to the Department are given in tables 1.9 and 3.1 (a) of Maritime Statistics 2004, covering freight and passenger traffic respectively. These tables are published on the Department’s website

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Vehicle Relicensing

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what transaction charge is issued by each credit card company for relicensing vehicles on line; how the £2.50 charge to cover the costs incurred by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in providing this service was calculated; and how many credit card transactions took place in the last year for which information is available. [88815]

Dr. Ladyman: Charges applied for processing credit card transactions by the credit card companies are of a sensitive commercial nature and therefore cannot be disclosed. The £2.50 fee is calculated to cover the full cost of administering the service and is reviewed annually. The fee includes credit card costs incurred and DVLA operating costs. There have been 448,372 credit card payments since introduction of the service in November 2005.

Violence on Trains

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents of violence on trains have been reported to the British Transport police in the last five years. [87213]

Derek Twigg: This information is not held by the Department for Transport. Information relating to incidents of violence on trains is held by the British Transport police who can be contacted at: British Transport police, 25 Camden Road, London NW1 9LN, e-mail:

Prime Minister

Advertising Campaigns

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Prime Minister what advertising campaigns his Office has run between 2000 and June 2004; and what the (a) date and (b) cost was of each. [87059]

The Prime Minister: For these purposes my Office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to her by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. McFadden) the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office on 24 July [87070].

Background Reading

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Prime Minister what publications have been provided by his civil servants as background reading for his ministerial duties since taking office; and if he will make a statement. [87589]

The Prime Minister: Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

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