Tri-zonal Scheme for N.E. Region
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Working Party's Proposals
IN the operation of the proposed area scheme for passenger transport in the north-east, "The Commercial Motor" is able to reveal, the working party has suggested that an area board would he responsible for services. The area would be divided into three districts. Certain powers would, however, be reserved by the British Transport Commission. These might include:— (I) General financial powers, such as approval of annual budget, capital expenditure, programmes, provision for depreciation, etc.
(2) Purchase of vehicles, 'insurances, settling of general policy as to technical standards of maintenance, etc.
(3) Co-ordination of long-distance services throUghout the country.
(4) Co-ordination with railways and other forms of public transport. '
(5) Formulation of a fares policy generally.
(6) Buying and selling of advertisement space on vehicles.
(7) Appointment of general manager foe the area, in consultation with the area hoard.
• (8) Approval of appointments of principal officers, down to a certain level (9) Formulation of national scales of salaries and wages, conditions of employment, staff welfare schemes, training and education.
(10) Siting of bus stations and other main buildings, such as garages.
Eight Members of Board?
The working party has suggested that the area board, to be set up to assist in the administration of the scheme, should consist of approximately eight members. One would be a full-time salaried chairman, and the remainder part-time members who might possibly receive some remuneration by fees, or have their expenses reimbursed.
The board would be responsible for the area's services, with the assistance of a general manager. Each of the three proposed districts into which the area may be divided would have a manager, to work under the direction of the area board and its staff. The appointment of sub-district officers might also be considered.
Consultative committees, which, the working party hopes, would be "live" bodies capable of expressing the views of the public, will be set up. Local authorities have been asked to consider these questions:—
(1) At what levels is consultative machinery required?
(2) What form should it take?
(3) Should it be by committees or some other means of approach? (4) If committees, what would be their size and whence should the members be drawn?
(5) Assuming that committees were not drawn from or through municipalihes as such, would local authorities have the right of direct approach to the area board? Provision will have to be made, it is pointed out, to avoid confusion between such committees and the statutory committees set up under Section 6 of the Transport Act.
All assets of operators in the area are expected to be taken over by the B.T.C.
Proposed area of the scheme— Northumberland and Durham and part of the North Riding of Yorkshire—has been generally approved, "The Corn mercial Motor" understands, subject to discussions on minor adjustments on the southern boundary with. North Riding County Council and Scarborough Town Council. The three suggested districts are: Northern: The whole of the geo graphical county of Northumberland, with the addition of the traffic area served by the Gateshead Tramways Co. (Gateshead, Felling and Whickham).
Central: From the southern
boundary of the northern district to a line in mid-Durham beginning near Easington in the east and proceeding west through Tow Law, Wolsirigham. Stanhope and the north side of the Weardale valley to the three-counties boundary in the west.
Southern: Remainder of the area. Some local authorities have expressed the fear that the appointment of an area hoard and staff at attractive salaries may lure local-govt, staffs to the higher-paid posts. As a consequence, they feel that the Commission, when fixing salaries, should have regard to those paid for comparable posts by local authorities. . *
Sunderland, which would come' into the second area, is advocating, through its Socialist-controlled general purposes committee, the setting-up of a district management committee, on which all local authorities would be represented.
Anti-Socialists, however, are opposed to this idea and point out that the district would be unwieldy There would not be sufficient 'representation by authorities, they say, to safegbard the interests of people living in . individual towns and villages. Northumberland Parliamentary .Committee has recommended its county Council to oppose the nationalization plan on the ground that it would offer no advantages to the travelling public. The Parliamentary Committee asks five questions: County Catechism (1) Is the whole country to be covered by similar schemes?
(21 What improvements in services may be expected and what will be the effect on fares? • (3) Does co-ordination imply only operational co-ordination, or financial and administrative' as well?
'(4) What powers will transport users and local authorities have, in practice, to make effective representations about service inadequacies and the level of fares?
(5) Will local authorities be adequately represented on the proposed Consultative Committees?
Middlesbrough has come out in favour of the scheme, provided that there is reasonable representation of local councils on area boards. It wishes the area to be divided into three or more districts, based on geographical factors and transport needs, and the districts to be controlled by committees with limited executive authority.
In Newcastle; the parliamentary and transport committees held a joint meeting to consider the :financial aspect of the area scheme. No statement was issued after the meeting, but. a report will be submitted to the city council.
Tynentouth Stands Firm Tynemouth Town Council has confirmed the recommendation of its watch committee that the present system of public transport should remain. It is understood that the council's representatives told the Road Transport Executive's working party that it .would not be in the interests of the public, efficiency, or economy, for the •Execufive or the B.T.C. to institute a scheme for the co-ordination of road passenger transport services in the area.
Apart from meeting representatives of municipal and private bus undertakings, the working party has also heard the views of the Northern Road Transport Owners' Association, which claims to represent 160 private operators. It is believed that a short time ago, many of these operators were in a mood to sell out to the B.T.C., but a change of attitude now seems to have taken place.
In response to an invitation, the British Electric Traction Co., Ltd., is interviewing the wOrking party on February 15, The Northern 'General Transport Co., Ltd is a member of the B.E.T. group.