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Baroness Carnegy of Lour: Reading the Explanatory Notes on the Bill, the whole point of this arrangement is that the new Transport Users' Committee will not try to sort out the problem but refer it to whoever has that ability. With great respect to noble Lords on the Liberal Democrat Front Bench who are working so hard on this Bill, I do not believe that it is any good to go on about integrated transport and then to say that they do not want to integrate the public transport system with the private one. If cars are parked in a road where a bus stop is required, that issue must be sorted out. Surely, a complaint can be made to the committee, which will then refer it to whoever can deal with it. The committee is more a channel of communication than a body to sort out problems, unless I am mistaken.
The Earl of Clancarty: I rise to support Amendment No. 288A and speak also to Amendment No. 294A, which I believe the Government Front Bench has agreed can be debated at this stage. Like Amendment No. 288A, Amendment No. 294A seeks to ensure that a statutory watchdog is in existence to deal only with issues of public passenger transport. I speak simply as a regular user of public transport in London who is very
This amendment also has the strong support of the National Consumer Council and the Central Rail Users' Consultative Committee. One wonders whether the Government are falling between two stools. On the one hand, they appear to promote public transport; on the other, they are clearly very keen to develop overall strategies. But the assembly will be the executive and should make such decisions based on the evidence and advice given to it, from wherever they come. Have the Government properly thought out the effect that combining the two interests of public and private transport would have on the new body?
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, would prescribe the factors to be taken into account when drawing up membership of the London Transport Users' Committee. Clause 199 indicates to the assembly what factors to take into account in selecting members of the committee. However, it is not an exhaustive list of criteria.
Amendment No. 288B proposes that the assembly takes into account the users of public passenger transport facilities rather than simply passenger transport. Even having listened to the noble Baroness, I am not sure why she would wish to append the word "public", given that the committee will have to consider representations from a wide range of transport users and the assembly would be expected to select the membership of the committee so as to reflect the full diversity of experience. I therefore hope that she will feel able to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment No. 294A also reflects a misunderstanding of the Government's proposals for the London Transport Users' Committee, or a difference of opinion on them. The committee is intended to be a new body, drawing on the strengths of the London Regional Passengers' Committee, but doing so within a new context of London governance and with a wider remit.
Transport provision in London will be largely concentrated in a single integrated body--TfL--which must have due regard to the mix of demands represented by transport users. We believe that the new LTUC remit should reflect that integration and represent transport users who will be affected by the full range of TfL activities. LTUC will inevitably
As the Minister for Transport in London explained in the other place, while the LTUC will be capable of considering complaints from all transport modes, it will still represent passengers. We do not accept that a valuable voice will be weakened.
When considering complaints about GLA roads, the committee will be under a duty to consider the interests of all those who use the road, not just car users. There is nothing in the Bill to indicate that the committee should give particular attention to complaints from motorists rather than those travelling on public transport.
Perhaps I could remind the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, and other noble Lords who spoke, that LTUC will not be a decision-making body. It will not itself be able to resolve a dispute about the use of a particular road. It can only recommend a course of action to TfL, and the mayor and the assembly will also see the advice. In the light of that explanation, I hope that the noble Earl will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: Before the noble Lords whose amendments we are considering speak, I wish to make a intervention. There is a profound difference of opinion between those who have moved the amendments and the Government who have written these clauses into the Bill. The difference of opinion is about exactly who the new passenger representative body should represent. Our contention is that they should represent the interests of, and speak up for, public transport users.
A curious suggestion seems to have arisen from this debate that somehow that unelected body, which has been appointed and not elected and which does not directly represent anybody, should take extremely important decisions about the balance of interests between one sort of transport and another and make a recommendation to TfL as to the decision it should take. Our contention is that it is precisely that sort of decision--such as where the balance should be struck--that should be taken by those people who act for, on behalf of or as part of the new GLA, and not taken on behalf of people who use transport.
There are several powerful bodies which represent the interests of freight on rail, cyclists, and especially those who travel in cars, so it seems to us to be more sensible to leave those bodies to continue to represent the interests of passengers in non-public forms of transport direct to TfL. That would leave the new body the task of representing direct to TfL the interests of those who travel by public transport. It would then be up to TfL to resolve any difficulties, ultimately backed by the power of the authority.
The Earl of Clancarty: I am not convinced by the Minister's argument. I agree very much with what the noble Baronesss, Lady Thomas and Lady Hamwee, have said. The question still remains: what will happen to the smaller voice of the public passenger? What structure will allow that voice to be heard?
Baroness Hamwee: I am interested to have heard the Minister's comments and look forward to seeing government amendments. As the Minister will appreciate, and as my noble friend Lady Thomas made clear, there is a clear difference between us as to the appropriate remit of the new body. The appointments will be made by the new assembly and, no doubt, in making the appointments the members of the assembly will have the needs of an integrated transport system for London in mind, especially the strategic nature of the whole job. I must make it clear again--and I am sorry that it was not clear to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour--that we are not suggesting in any way that London's public and other forms of transport should not be integrated. That is as far from the case as it could possibly be.
I am puzzled by the wording of Clause 199(3). I read it again during this discussion and it states that the assembly is to have regard to the desirability of ensuring that members of the committee between them represent the interests of those who use passenger transport facilities and services in greater London. I suspect that, as drafted, that means everybody who does not stay at home all day every day. The Government may understand why, having read that clause, we felt that it was necessary to try to pin the description down a little more. However, we shall return to the issue. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I beg to move that the House be now resumed. In moving the Motion, perhaps I may remind noble Lords that questions and comments from Back-Benchers on the Statement should be brief because the time is limited to 20 minutes and taking longer can use time available to other noble Lords.
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