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Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 254B:

Page 72, line 33, after ("level") insert (", affordability")

The noble Baroness said: Amendment No. 254B and Amendment No. 254BA, with which it is grouped, are straightforward amendments to Clause 135, which provides that the mayor shall exercise his powers in order to ensure that certain specified matters are determined. The first matter he is to direct his attention to is,

The second matter is,

    "the general structure of routes of such services and the general level of provision to be made with respect to their frequency of operation". Amendment No. 254BA adds the words "and capacity" after "operation".

While listening with interest to Members of the Committee talking about politics, it occurred to me that the drafting of paragraph (b) is extraordinarily clumsy. I think we could probably get rid of about half the words contained in it. Meanwhile, I beg to move Amendment No. 254B.

Lord Clement-Jones: I support the amendment. We need to look not only at absolute levels but also at relative levels. The question of affordability is important in fare structures. We think in particular of the socially excluded and the worst-off in that context. I believe that the addition of the word "affordability" would be valuable here.

As to the addition of the words "and capacity" in subsection 2(b), to consider the question of frequency without considering capacity is rather like saying how many buses go by without saying what type of bus they are. One is talking about total volume and one can only reach that by considering frequency and capacity, not just frequency.

Lord Whitty: Amendment No. 254B as drafted is ambiguous in relation to what is intended by the word "affordability", which could apply equally to affordability within TfL as to affordability by passengers. Clearly, as part of the overall strategy, affordability, that is the ability of the public to pay--and in particular sections of the public to which the mayor is

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bound to have regard--will inevitability figure in the mayor's considerations, as will a number of other matters. We have not specified them all on the face of the Bill because the mayor needs to exercise considerable judgment in this area. Clearly, the view that the mayor takes about fare levels will be influenced by affordability, the structure of the market, the relativities between different modes of transport and the need to promote public transport generally, all of which add up to a fares strategy which will have to be made politically and economically acceptable to the travelling public. Affordability is an inevitable aspect of that, but if we simply specified that it would not give a total picture.

With regard to Amendment No. 254BA, capacity and frequency must inevitably go together. Judgments have to be made about whether one has low capacity, highly frequent buses and trains or high capacity, less frequent buses and trains. That depends on the market, the time of day and many other issues. Frequency subsumes the assessment of capacity. It is worth noting that the current duties on London Transport for setting the general level of provision of its services contain no reference to capacity, but capacity, as well as frequency, is obviously taken into account in London Transport's considerations of the size of buses and trains. Technically, we do not need a reference to "capacity". I ask the noble Baroness to consider withdrawing the amendment.

Lord Clement-Jones: I listened carefully to what the Minister said. I understand his comment that in a sense frequency implies that capacity has been considered. However, I wonder where that is stated in the clause. It seems to me that in talking about volume, numbers of carriages or size of bus, as well as about frequency, one is getting a total volume figure. But it does not seem to me that it is anywhere stated that one is obliged to look at that total picture. There is simply a reference to "frequency". Subsection 2(b) refers to,

    "the general level of provision to be made with respect to their frequency". There is no comma; it is not, "general level of provision of service, with respect to frequency." It is much more limited than that. It seems to me that that subsection could be much improved, not just in terms of the syntax but by the addition of the words suggested.

Lord Berkeley: I wonder if I can help. I am slightly worried about this clause. I think the problem may be that the clause is general and applies "frequency" to buses, trains and probably other things as well. We have all talked about frequency of trains. It would be lovely to have frequent trains, especially when passengers have to stand like sardines in a cattle truck. To make the trains longer adds capacity, but there may be a problem with the network capability if there are not enough signals, lines or points. I wonder whether we could convince my noble friend the Minister to have another look at the clause to see whether we can find wording

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that is more applicable to buses, trains and undergrounds. That is only a slight worry and I hope that I have been constructive.

Lord Whitty: I remain somewhat unconvinced that a reference to frequency does not imply making a judgment on capacity. As my noble friend Lord Berkeley says, capacity can apply to the track as well as the vehicle. The situation is complicated and I recognise the concerns. Without making any commitment, I shall see whether we can do anything about it.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I can slightly alter what I was going to say. I thank those who have taken part in the debate, particularly the Minister for his last few remarks. When I introduced the amendment I said that subsection (b) was curiously clumsily drafted. It occurred to me--this might be helpful to the Minister if he is considering the matter--that the words could be changed to:

    "the general structure of routes of such services and the service levels provided". "Service level" is often used to encompass the various considerations of frequency, capacity and ability to serve public need. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 254BA not moved.]

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 254C:

Page 72, line 39, after ("operation;") insert--
("( ) the provision of interchange facilities between different passenger modes and cycling;")

The noble Baroness said: The amendment would allow the mayor's guidance and direction to Transport for London to determine that provision is made for interchanges between different modes of transport. It is the first in a series of amendments that try in various ways to tackle the question of interchanges.

If we want an integrated transport system, attention needs to be concentrated on where the different modes of transport meet and whether they work effectively. In the amendments we are particularly concerned that the bicyclist should be able to move his or her bicycle on other forms of public transport, particularly trains, over an entire journey.

Amendment No. 258AZA amends Schedule 9 to include bicycles in the list of things that trains can carry. I am not moving Amendment No. 258AA and I shall leave it to the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, to introduce Amendment No. 259EB, which is also in this group and deals with interchanges and the opportunity to take bicycles on an entire journey. I hope that Ministers will take our approach seriously, because these amendments, small though they are, raise an important issue: the ability to make a continuous journey by bicycle and public transport. I beg to move.

7.15 p.m.

Viscount Craigavon: I have my name to the first amendment in the group and I support the noble

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Baroness, Lady Thomas, but with a slightly different emphasis. Amendment No. 254C deals mainly with parking at interchanges. We have a long way to go to sort out that problem and we need to use various means of persuasion on the companies to encourage them to improve the parking that they provide. The current parking provision, particularly at London stations, is pretty shameful, although it has improved in recent years.

I am not sure whether this is the right place in the Bill to insert the amendment. My Amendment No. 259EB, to which I shall come in a minute, invokes the help of the franchise director. His help may be needed on parking. I should like to give an example, because this is a serious issue. We need to encourage companies to take bicycle parking seriously at stations.

In interviews conducted by the bikerail project--a DETR and Countryside Agency research study-- 25 per cent of those polled who commuted into London said that they would consider switching from their cars to bicycles for their journey to the station if sufficient, convenient and secure cycle parking was provided. That may appear to relate to stations outside London, but people need to be encouraged by the reassurance that there will be secure and safe custody for their bicycles. It is a matter of the culture of cycling.

Amendment No. 259EB is slightly further on in the Bill, in Clause 137. It might appear slightly ambitious, but I am not trying to change existing contracts. Any change would happen only when new franchise agreements were being negotiated or existing franchises were being renegotiated. I have used the word "commuting" because the aim of the amendment is to make life easier for people who want to commute with their cycles. That is not a tradition in this country. Indeed, the current rules for the companies require them to carry bicycles,

    "so far as is reasonably practicable". In practice that excludes people who want to carry their cycle at commuting times.

I am anticipating what may happen. I hope that the Government will give us some guidance on its thoughts for the future. Large government subsidies will be given on the new franchises. It is not unreasonable to ask for some account to be taken of the interests of cyclists. I hope that the Government will respond on that.

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