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Lord Brabazon of Tara: I have one slight concern about the amendment on the interchange facilities, which relates to the carriage of bicycles on the Underground. I have seen a little map at our local station that shows on which services and at which times of day it is allowed to carry a bicycle on the Underground. It is possible only on the sub-surface lines, not the tube lines. Occasionally one sees someone bringing a bicycle on to a tube line. It is extremely inconvenient for the other passengers when the train is crowded. It is also potentially dangerous, particularly on escalators. I hope that the amendment does not push too far.

Lord Berkeley: In general, I agree that cycling should be encouraged. This morning I took my bicycle

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on the train from Oxford and pedalled here. By chance, I met the noble Lord, Lord Colwyn, who is not in his place this evening--he wrote to me to say that he could not be here tonight--adjacent to the new pedestrian crossing and gates leading into Hyde Park which were opened yesterday by the Minister for Transport in London, Glenda Jackson, in a flurry of publicity. The gates were locked at 10 o'clock this morning. Perhaps my noble friend can assist as to whether, and to what extent, the regulations apply to the royal parks, which appear to have a mind of their own. The cycle lane that I followed until Hyde Park Corner stopped there. That is a very difficult area to cross on a bicycle. To leave gates like that locked does not seem to be a very good way of encouraging cycling in London.

The provision of interchange facilities is terribly important. I suspect that it is much easier to encourage people to do that than to take bicycles on trains, especially in the rush hour. The noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, is absolutely right: to take bicycles on the Underground is very difficult. Train operators will say that it is also difficult to do that on surface lines because one bicycle may take up five or six seats and someone must pay for that lost revenue. I suggest that an alternative is to encourage the parking of bicycles at stations in London in a secure environment and also at other stations where people get on and off the train.

Some of the stations in London have the facility to hire out bicycles for the day. I am informed that when the company concerned (whose name I do not know) tried to launch the idea at Victoria station neither the train operators nor Railtrack would give it any publicity in the timetables or anywhere else. Some encouragement for parking at stations and other interchanges, and perhaps coach stations as well, is very important. I support provision on the lines of the various amendments that have been tabled by noble Lords.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am grateful to the noble Baroness and the two noble Lords who have spoken for the opportunity to reiterate our position on cycling. We are in no doubt that cycling is within the term "transport" and that the provision of transport facilities includes the provision of facilitates for cycles. I repeat what my noble friend said at the previous sitting of the Committee on Monday night:

    "If we were to include a reference to cycling as an additional matter, as distinct from all other modes of transport, it would cast doubt on whether the term 'transport facilities' elsewhere in the Bill included cycling".--[Official Report, 28/6/99; col. 146.]

I go further. If we add "cycling" specifically to any part of the Bill we risk calling into question the general understanding in transport legislation that "transport" includes cycling.

I am fully supportive of the promotion of cycling by the noble Baroness and others as a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transport. I understand why they raise this issue. I should like to refer to one other matter which it is important to place on record. On Monday of this week the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, said (at col. 145 of Hansard) that the Minister for Transport in London, Glenda Jackson, had

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undertaken to report back to the Committee in another place to confirm whether "transport facilities" included cycling. I take this opportunity to say that colleagues in another place confirmed that understanding. The Minister for London, Nick Raynsford, did this during the seventh sitting of the Committee in another place on 9th March.

I turn to the amendments before the Committee. We fully support the idea behind the amendments, but I should like to speak to each in some detail. Our view is that they are unnecessary in view of the duties and powers that the Bill already gives to the mayor and TfL. Amendment No. 254C expands Clause 135(2), which relates to the mayor's duties in relation to the general level and structure of public transport fares and the routes and frequency of those services. An amendment that requires the provision of interchange facilities for cycling would not be appropriate here. The Bill gives TfL wide powers to provide incidental amenities and facilities, such as cycle parking. They can apply at any kind of transport interchange and are not limited to such provision at railway and Underground stations.

Amendment No. 258AZA would add the words "including bicycles" to the power of Transport for London to carry luggage and other goods. The formulation "luggage and other goods" is the same as that used in the provisions set out in the operating powers of London Transport. The exact reference is paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 2 to the London Regional Transport Act 1984. There is absolutely no doubt that London Transport can carry bicycles on its services. I hope the noble Baroness agrees that there is no doubt that Transport for London will be able to carry bicycles.

I understand that Amendment No. 258AA is not to be moved. Amendment No. 259EB in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, would impose a requirement for agreements between the Franchising Director and Transport for London to include at the time of negotiating new or extended franchises provisions to allow the carriage of cycles with London commuters. Her Majesty's Government have made clear to the Franchising Director that they are keen to promote the use of bicycles including, so far as possible, the provision of facilities at stations and suitable space on new rolling stock. There is a standard clause in franchise agreements which requires operators to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable and subject to the availability of appropriate space on its rolling stock, that facilities for the transport of bicycles on trains are made available to any passengers who use passenger services.

My noble friend Lord Berkeley referred to the royal parks. We are discussing how to ensure that royal parks have regard to the mayor's strategy, and we hope to be able to report to my noble friend later. That will include the encouragement of cycling.

In view of all that I have said, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment. I apologise to Members of the Committee for dealing with this matter at length, but it is important to place on record the details that noble Lords have sought.

Lord Avebury: The Minister has said that the Bill gives TfL powers to provide interchange facilities, albeit

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in another clause and not the one now being discussed. We are talking here about something different: the power of the mayor to issue guidance to TfL on what it should do. It seems to me that to place on the face of the Bill the right of the mayor to give guidance on the provision of interchange facilities, to which my noble friend has referred, is very desirable. In that way one would tell the mayor that he had a specific right to give guidance on the provision of interchange facilities. If there is already power given to TfL elsewhere to provide such facilities, why should not the mayor have the right to give guidance on how Transport for London should do it?

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My understanding is that the mayor has the duty to provide a strategy for public transport and the responsibility to ensure that that is carried out. The terminology of the Bill includes provision for cycling.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I thank those Members of the Committee who have spoken in this debate and added some interesting thoughts and contributions which have greatly increased the validity of at least part of the first amendment. The Minister has suggested that because bicycles are subsumed in "transport" there is no need to keep mentioning them. However, the main point of the first amendment is the provision of interchange facilities. Nowhere in the provisions of Clause 135 is there any mention of interchange facilities. Suppose one were to leave out the words "and cycling" and simply insist that the mayor, when he gives his guidance, should emphasise the importance of interchange between different passenger modes. It seems to me that in those circumstances we would still be adding precisely what we want to add and that it might be more acceptable to the noble Baroness the Minister.

I return to the first point that I made. If we are talking about integrated transport systems, the places where those systems interconnect are among the most important areas to which attention should be paid. I shall withdraw my amendment at the present time. The Minister is going to respond. I shall allow her to respond.

7.30 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: It may save the Committee some time at some stage if I repeat that the mayor has the right to give guidance and directions to TfL on any matter. The Bill gives TfL powers to provide the amenities which the noble Baroness seeks.

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