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26th August 1966, Page 41
26th August 1966
Page 41
Page 41, 26th August 1966 — WHY PASSENGER TRANSPORT SHOULD Union to sue BE NATIONALIZED-TGWU Birmingham
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

'Better service to the public, stabilized fares, more emphasis on social need would result'

by Derek Moses REGIONAL control of road passenger transport undertakings would cut out top-heavy management, centralize administration and vehicle maintenance and lead to "a better service to the public, stabilizing of fares and provision of the money to finance adequate wages and conditions". These points are made by Alan Thomson, passenger group national secretary and Larry Smith, officer, of the Transport and General Workers' Union in the September issue of TGWU Record.

Six reasons are given for the need to co-ordinate and integrate road passenger transport:

(1) Centralized control of the industry,. is essential before a determination of overall transport needs can be assessed.

(2) The private sector, and, to some extent, the Transport Holding Company, has a poor industrial relations record. This is largely due to low rates of pay, poor conditions of work and the use of excessive overtime to bolster earnings.

(3) Co-ordination under public control will facilitate cross-subsidization from the more profitable operations such as coaching and express services to the less profitable stage services.

(4) Regional co-ordination means the rationatiza6on of the industry into economically viable units.

(5) So that the road passenger transport industry can be integrated into a planned transport system embracing road, rail, air and other sections of the transport industry.

(6) It will facilitate the introduction of a service run more on a public-interest basis and not solely for profit. Only under public control can the maintenance of these services be assured_

A central co-ordinating body which would be responsible for the national overall planning of passenger transport generally is also called for. This body must possess wide powers and be responsible for the extension of public ownership. Finally, Mr. Thomson and Mr. Smith call for regional bodies to co-ordinate the services of each region.

One thing is very clear—the two men believe that nationalization is the cure for all the ills afflicting the road passenger transport industry today.

Frankly, I find the thought of a small number of vast bodies resembling London Transport running the provincial transport services disturbing. It is only now, after 34 years of London Transport, that a radical change in operating policies is being considered. And who kept London Transport back more than anyone else— the TGWU, in my view.

The belief of the two gentlemen that the creation of large regional bodies would "stabilize" fares should be viewed against the fact that LTB fares have rocketed in recent years.

Another point repeatedly made by them is one which the private coach operator should watch very keenly. This is the statement that by bringing private coaching firms under public ownership, cross-subsidization from these more profitable services could be achieved. In short, TGWU men would get better wages at the expense of the livelihood of hundreds of valiant pioneers.

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