Local Transport Bill [Lords]

[back to previous text]

Clause 69

Power to confer non-rail functions on the Rail Passengers’ Council
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Ms Winterton: There is just one small point that I would like to make about clause 69. Our consultation on strengthening the representation of bus passengers raised the issue of other public transport modes. A number of respondents to the consultation, including the Campaign for Better Transport, highlighted the importance of ensuring a statutory voice for light rail and tram passengers, as well as for bus users, and they suggested that any public transport watchdog should be able to look across modes of transport, so that passengers’ end-to-end journeys were looked at as a whole. We need to examine the issue a little further, but I should like to give the Committee notice that it is one that the Government may wish to return to on Report, specifically in relation to light rail and tram passengers.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 69 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 70

Power to require display of certain information
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Knight: I shall be very brief. The clause gives a very wide power. It uses the words
“in such place or places and in such manner as may be prescribed”.
Clearly, the clause gives power to determine both the method of publicity and what information is published, but just as importantly, the language that the information is published in. I am well aware and expect as a sop to the Welsh that, in Wales, we would need to have any leaflet or document published in English and Welsh. However, the one area that the present Prime Minister is right is in his campaign for Britishness and I hope that, in respect of any information published in England—
Mrs. Siân C. James (Swansea, East) (Lab): Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
Mr. Knight: I suppose that I asked for this.
Mrs. James: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. It is worth noting that, despite the need to produce all material bilingually, we are still loyal citizens of the British isles. I feel that it would be very generous of Conservative Members to recognise the great gift that the Welsh language is to this nation and to Great Britain as a whole.
Mr. Knight: I never doubted the hon. Lady’s loyalty for one moment. If my remarks gave that impression, that was not intentional. However, the Prime Minister has made a good point about promoting Britishness, and I hope that this burden—it will be a burden—will not be too onerous and that it will suffice in England for any document published to be published in English only.
Ms Winterton: To clarify the situation, one of the issues that came up over and over again in consultation was that passengers felt that they did not know who they should complain to when a service was bad, and the idea behind the clause is to ensure consistency in the information that is available. With regard to the England versus Wales match, we are trying to ensure that passengers using services that cross between England and Wales have access to the correct information.
The power is worded such that operators would be required to display information relevant to passengers in whichever jurisdiction. So buses used on cross-border services would need to display information about the procedures in both England and Wales. I recognise that that might mean a little duplication for operators, but it will mean that passengers have access at all times to the information that they need. It would be for Welsh Ministers to make any regulations in Wales under clause 70.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 70 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clause s 71 and 72 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Schedule 4 agreed to.
Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Watts.]
Adjourned accordingly at nineteen minutes to Eight o’clock till Thursday 8 May at Nine o’clock.
Previous Contents
House of Commons 
home page Parliament home page House of 
Lords home page search page enquiries ordering index

©Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 7 May 2008