Commuter bandwagon ready to roll
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MANY INDEPENDENT coach operators in the South East are looking at the possibility of running regular services for London commuters. But so far none of these cases has yet been heard in the traffic courts.
An application by Gastonia Coaches of Cranleigh, Surrey, to run two coaches a day to London was due to be heard by the South-Eastern Traffic Commissioners at Eastbourne last Thursday, but the coach firm asked for it to be postponed. The thinking behind this request for postponement was probably the reluctance of Gastonia to be a " test case" for all the other interested operators. Managing director Mr Martin Noakes told CM that the case had implications far beyond Gastonia's normal experience with road service licence applications. Should the licence be granted then it would open the door to hundreds of other small operators to apply for commuter service licences. It now seems likely the first such service application which will reach the courts will be by Warren's Coaches of Alton, although no date has yet been fixed for the hearing.
Warren's want to run one coach daily from Alton via Odiham and M3 to a London terminal outside the Royal Festival Hall. This journey would be scheduled to take two hours. They would charge £1.30 day return fare for this journey. Traffic manager Mr C. Parrack told CM that although several National Bus Company subsidiaries were objecting to Warren's application their services would not be in direct competition with that proposed.