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from our Parliamentary correspondent
1 in 10 not yet plated
• About one in 10 of the goods vehicles due for plating and testing are not being sent in by their owners. And last week Mr. Fred Malley, the Minister of Transport, expressing concern at the position, warned that these operators will have to take their vehicles off the road.
From next April vehicles registered before 1968 must have a test certificate before they can be licensed—and Mr. Mulle±, said that no special priority can be given to those who apply late for testing.
Prosecutions were increasing as his officers found vehicles and trailers which were due to be tested, said Mr. Malley, who was answering a Commons question on plating and testing.
Between October and December last 31,149 operators were visited by officers who recorded 44,548 plated vehicles and 4,872 overdue for plating. About 1,500 operators had already been prosecuted for using unplated and untested vehicles.
• Both the Lords and the Commons last week approved regulations which authorize compensation for employees affected by any changes in the workings of the nationalized transport undertakings.
• A report on the bus companies taken over by the National Bus Company since its inauguration was given in the Commons last week by Mr. Fred Malley.
He said that the NBC had taken over Gosport and Fareham Omnibus Co Ltd., Jones Omnibus Services Ltd., Meredith and lesson, of Wrexham and Arthur Rowe and Sons (Cudworth) Ltd.
The Company had also taken over Luton Corporation Transport, and the acquisition of Exeter Corporation Transport was almost complete.
• Tests are to be made on apparatus for operating a system of user road pricing.
Mr. Fred Mulley announced in the Commons that the RRL is developing two types, both operating on the principle of charging a fixed amount when a vehicle crosses specific points within the pricing area. The first-on-vehicle method required vehicles to be fitted with a meter which recorded, cumulatively, at each pricing point, explained Mr. Malley. , The alternative-off-vehicle method required vehicles to be fitted with an identification unit which, on passing a point, communicated the vehicles' identity to recording apparatus at the roadside or elsewhere, thus enabling a record to be compiled for each vehicle.
Computer licensing delay
• Local authorities are going to have to handle vehicle licensing for two years longer than expected—because the central organization at Swansea will not be ready before the end of 1976.
This delay was announced in the Commons last week by the Minister of. Transport, who added that the "date to date" vehicle licensing will also be held up until centralization is complete.
Centralization of vehicle and driver licensing will start by the beginning of 1974, went on the Minister—a decision taken after a full review of all the work remaining to be done at Swansea.
The contract for the main computer equipment had been placed, and construction of the first phase of the central office buildings was well advanced and the new timetable provided the minimum time which the Ministry now considered could be safely allowed for the proper completion of the complex system planning work involved.
Type approval proposals
• The Minister of Transport 'intends to proceed with the implementation of type approval for commercial vehicles as soon as the necessary manpower and any other resources required can be provided.
Mr. Bob Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry, who stated this in the Commons, added that the Department hoped to put outline proposals to manufacturers and operators later this year.
• Good progress is being made in studies of road hazard warning devices which can be carried on vehicles. The Minister of Transport said in the Commons last week that he hopes to make a statement within the next few months.