Councils Misunderstand Case for Abolishing Workmen's Fares
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AFTER having already been heard at sittings occupying six days in November and December, the applications of a number of South Wales bus operators for the abolition of workmen's fares and the revision of certain concession rates are now being considered afresh. The members of the South Wales Licensing Authority were unable to agree on their decision.
The new hearing opened in Cardiff on Tuesday and continued on Wednesday. Other sittings will take place on January 14, 15, 29, 30
Apart from applying for standardized concession fares and for the abolition of workmen's tickets, 12 companies sought an all-round increase in the present fares. Mr. H. J. Thom, chairman, expressed the opinion that the local authorities which objected to the application for the abolition of workmen's fares did not grasp the underlying principles. Objections had been lodged by 30 South Wales councils and others.. • Mr. S. D. Herington, for the applicants, declared that workmen's fares,. which nowadays applied chiefly to passengers travelling before 8 a.m., were grossly unfair to the remainder of the travelling public.
At the end of Tuesday's hearing, the chairman said that, the applications had been made on his suggestion. Because of the anomalies that had arisen through the granting of increased fares. to a number of operators, it had been necessary to tackle the question of standardizing concessional fares.
"The intention," said Mr. Thom, "is to try to abolish the existing anomalies in fares structures which principally take the form of very high mileage rates on single fares on comparable routes.' We can only do that if we put all the companies on the same basis as regards the workmen's concessions. 1 have yet to hear any questions which show that the objectors understand what we are aiming at, or understand in the slightest degree even the principles behind these applications, which are being made in the public interest."
In his opening address, Mr. Herington said that the companies offered concessions in standardized weekly tickets and season tickets. but could not afford them if they had to continue to carry workmen at a cheap rate. • Referring to the application for an overall increase, he said that since the previous application, costs had risen by £336,000 a year and the higher fares would bring in only an additional £205.000