Examination of Witnesses (Questions 400-404)
MR GRAHAM STEVENSON, MR MARTIN MAYER AND MR ROGER SEALEY
WEDNESDAY 15 MAY 2002
400. Cannot the smart card relieve the problems of handling money and reduce some of the security problems? I do not think most assaults are about pinching money. That would leave the driver with a chance to talk to passengers rather than having to concentrate on getting them to produce the right change. What is stopping you getting far more smart card systems in?
(Mr Stevenson) It is investment; it is cost.
401. Or is it fair trading?
(Mr Stevenson) Yes; cost and the failure of the system to allow an alliance between operators in given market areas. They cannot do that. They cannot work together.
402. It is not your members who are resistant to smart card or any other scheme?
(Mr Stevenson) Not at all, no.
403. You did say in your written evidence that buses with faulty speedometers were allowed to carry on. Are you telling us that the Traffic Commissioners are not doing the job of monitoring bus regulation sufficiently stringently?
(Mr Stevenson) There is a position in the industry that was particularly strong after deregulation, when there were a lot of old vehicles about. It is only in the last six years or so when we have seen investment in new buses. The Traffic Commissioners did give a lot of leeway. If an employer said, "It is on order", very often some of the buses were so old that the factory that previously produced them did not exist so they would have to find an old bus, where they could cannibalise the parts. In some cases, we had situations going up to nine months where operators were running faulty speedos.
404. Is that still the case?
(Mr Stevenson) It is still the case. We have not seen much of a change in that regard.
Chairman: Gentlemen, you have been very helpful. We are very grateful to you. Thank you very much indeed.