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Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: I thank the Minister for his reply. I shall read carefully his response to the previous amendment, in which the Government propose to substitute the mayor for the Secretary of State, and try to understand why that is not appropriate in this particular case. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 263H and 263J:


Page 76, line 19, at end insert--
("( ) Where an estate or interest in, or right over, any land which is or has been operational land is vested in a company which is a subsidiary of Transport for London, Transport for London shall not, without the consent of the Secretary of State, enter into any transaction or series of transactions the result of which would be that the company would cease to be a subsidiary of Transport for London.")
Page 76, line 20, leave out subsection (2)

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 263K and 264 not moved.]

1 Jul 1999 : Column 522

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 264A:


Page 76, line 25, leave out subsection (3) and insert--
("(3) Consent is not required under this section by reason of any land having been operational land if a period of at least five years has elapsed since the land was last operational land.
(3A) The Secretary of State may by order amend subsection (3) above by substituting a different period for that for the time being there specified.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 264B:


Page 76, line 27, at end insert--
("( ) Any consent of the Secretary of State under this section--
(a) may be given in relation to any particular transaction or description of transactions; and
(b) may be given subject to conditions.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment Nos. 264BA and 264BB not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 264C:


Page 76, line 31, at end insert--
("( ) In this section--
"operational land" means--
(a) land which is used for the purpose of carrying on any railway or tramway undertaking of Transport for London's or of a subsidiary of Transport for London's; and
(b) land in which an interest is held for that purpose;
but paragraphs (a) and (b) above do not include land which, in respect of its nature and situation, is comparable rather with land in general than with land which is used, or in which interests are held, for the purpose of the carrying on of a railway or tramway undertaking;
"railway" and "tramway" shall be construed in accordance with section 67 of the Transport and Works Act 1992.
( ) For the purposes of this section, land--
(a) which has at any time been used, or
(b) in which an interest has at any time been held,
for the purpose of carrying on a railway or tramway undertaking of London Regional Transport's, or of a subsidiary of London Regional Transport's, shall be treated as if that undertaking had at that time been an undertaking of Transport for London's or of a subsidiary of Transport for London's (and any question whether the land was, or had ceased to be, operational land at any time shall be determined accordingly).")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 141, as amended, agreed to.

Lord Brabazon of Tara moved Amendment No. 265:


After Clause 141, insert the following new clause--

PUBLIC ACCESS OFFICES

(" .--(1) Transport for London shall have the duty to maintain at least one office (referred to in this section as a "public access office") in each London borough where members of the public shall be able to obtain information concerning transport facilities to, from and within Greater London.
(2) The information available at a public access office shall include, but shall not be limited to--
(a) the frequency of services within the London bus network,
(b) the location of stopping places in Greater London,
(c) the frequency of railway services within Greater London,
(d) the location of railway stations in Greater London, and
(e) information allowing passengers to transit from one public passenger transport service to another.

1 Jul 1999 : Column 523


(3) Each public access office shall be open for at least twelve hours each day of the week (including Sundays and bank holidays).
(4) Transport for London shall ensure that members of the public are able to contact any public access office by means of a telephone call at no cost to the public, or by telephone facsimile.
(5) Transport for London shall also ensure that the information available at any public access office is also published electronically in a form capable of access by members of the general public.
(6) Transport for London shall ensure that each public access office is capable of easy access and exit by people with any disability.
(7) In this section "London bus network" and "stopping place" have the meanings given them in Chapter IV of this Part.")

The noble Lord said: We now move on to something a little different. This amendment proposes that Transport for London should have a duty to maintain at least one public access office in each borough from which members of the public will be able to obtain information about transport in London. In our view, it highlights the co-ordinating role that TfL ought to be playing instead of the centralising control mentality that is found in the Bill.

If we are to encourage people to use public transport, it is essential that the maximum amount of information is available to the public to know which services and interchange facilities are available, and so on. It is our contention that all this information should be available in the offices, that the offices should be open at least 12 hours per day on each day of the week, including Sundays and Bank Holidays, and that the information should be published electronically on the Internet in order to make it accessible to members of the general public.

I hope that the Minister can assure me that, even if my amendment is unnecessary because these things will indeed be publicised, at least some of the things that I have outlined in the amendment will in fact take place. If we are to encourage people to use public transport, it is essential that the information should be made available to the public. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: I remind the Committee and the noble Lords that a number of the matters to which the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, has referred are already in place or are being developed by London Transport. Clearly, TfL will take over those responsibilities and those assets. As part of the service to Londoners and visitors to London, we want the kind of comprehensive, integrated and accessible information service to which he has referred. London Transport is well on their way to producing that.

However, I am afraid that I cannot accept Amendment No. 265 as it stands. It would place significantly more onerous and specifically prescriptive requirements on TfL than does the present situation with London Transport. In addition, it would not necessarily deliver the most accessible, effective and value for money system of the kind to which the noble Lord referred. It is possible, however, that we can in another way achieve the objective sought by the noble Lord, by in effect placing a general duty on London Transport to provide information to passengers about public transport services of all kinds in London.

1 Jul 1999 : Column 524

With the leave of the Committee and the understanding of the noble Lord, perhaps I can consider that matter further after the next stage of these proceedings.

Lord Brabazon of Tara: I am once again encouraged by the noble Lord the Minister's reply. I must admit that I did not expect him to accept the amendment as it stood. It is possible that the placing of an office in every borough may be a little onerous on Transport for London, and indeed rather costly. However, I am encouraged and I shall look forward to what the Minister has to say at the next stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 142 [Control of subsidiaries]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 265A:


Page 76, line 41, leave out ("Secretary of State,") and insert ("Mayor,")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 265AZA not moved.]

Clause 142, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 143 agreed to.

10 p.m.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 265AA


After Clause 143, insert the following new clause--

POWER OF LONDON REGIONAL TRANSPORT TO GIVE GUARANTEES

(" .--(1) Section 17 of the London Regional Transport Act 1984 (power of London Regional Transport to give financial assistance to subsidiaries and other bodies or persons) shall be amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (3) there shall be inserted--
"(3A) London Regional Transport may enter into arrangements with another person under which that person gives a guarantee which London Regional Transport has power to give under this section.
(3B) Where London Regional Transport enters into arrangements by virtue of subsection (3A) above, the arrangements may provide for London Regional Transport to indemnify the person who gives the guarantee."").

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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