WHEELS OF INDUSTRY.
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The wheel of wealth will be slowed by all difficulties of transport at whatever points arising, as a carriage is by the roughness of the roads over which it rusts."—Johet Beattie Crozier.
Ford's Agents' Policy.
A change has been made in the Ford policy in so far as it concerns the dealers in Ford vehicles, the announcement to this effect having been made concurrently with the recent reduction in prices. Instead of having allocated to him a definite territory in which to sell rords, a dealer under the new scheme will be free to sell anywhere within the United Kingdom. We think that similar freedom is not given to any agent for any other make of motor vehicle, for the appointment to an agency for a definite territory has been the basis of all successful motor trading: The change should make corenetition keener, and efforts to give " service " to users must undergo modifications, for it is difficult to know how an agent in Aberdeen who ,sells to a customer in Cornwall is going to provide him with service. It will be remembered that the new prices are as
follow :—Van, 205; 1 ton chassis, £190; 1 ton truck, £250; tractor, £225.
Mr. P. Ellison, general manager of the Eastbourne motorbus undertaking, states in his annual report, that the result of the year's working shows a net loss on the services of 2,732 as compared with a net profit for the previous year of £404. The total income reached the record figure of £51,078, the highest prewar income total having been £16,537. The number of passengers carried, which was 5,848,030, also established a record; the average fare paid per passenger was 1.96d. A very high increase in expenditure has to be set against this,record income which has resulted in a small loss on the year's working.
M. C. M. Benjamin Meets with an Accident.
It is with much regret that. we learn that Mr. C. M. Benjamin, the joint managing director of Jas. Bartle and Co., Ltd., has met with an unfortunate accident.
At the time when Mr. Benjamin went to India in December last, we published details of his trip. At the conclusion of a very successful business tour lie met with a very serious accident in Calcutta, a soda-water bottle exploding in his face and causing such serious injury that he has lost the sight of one eye arid the other is in grave danger. He is at present in a nursing home in . Calcutta, and is making fair progress.
We are sure that many members of the industry, to whom Ise is so well known will on us in wishing him well through his severe trial.
York Passenger Traffic.
The York Corporation accounts for the city's passenger services for the year ended March 31st last, reveal that there has been a loss 011 each branch of the services. The accounts show the costs of the trawmays to have been 17.35d. per car mile compared with 14.63d. for last year. The cost of the motor omnibuses for the suns period has been 16.251 compared with 16.51d. last year, and the
cost of t.he new rail-less vehicles has been 11.53d. The income worked out at 19.21d. per car mile for the trams, 12.13d. for the buses, and 17.79d. for the rail-less vehicles. The losses on the three branches of the service were :— Trams, £3,761; buses, £2,062; and railless vehicles, .£45.
• The Essex County Council has applied to the Ministry of 'transport for an order prohibiting or restricting the driving of motorbuses and chars-ft-banes on the road fitm Hatfield Perevel to Langford, 3:'e miles in extent, and the road from Netteswell Cross via Horsford Common to Hoyden, 31 miles in extent., on the ground that the thoroughfares are unsuitable for vehicles of that class,
East Grinstead Urban District, Council Roads and Bridges Committee has been in. communication • with adjoining authorities as to scheduling certain roads as unfit and unsafe for motorbus and char-a-.bancs traffic, and as a result it has been agreed that representations should he made direct to the Minister of Transport.
The Use of Recorders.
In Mr. Sturmey's article on the use and advantages of the light van, which appeared in our issue of May 31st, after explaining the use of recorders and how they inform the owner or trattic manager of all time losses made from whatever causes, many of which the article stated, "are not, by any means, all attributable to the driver," he said, " they are well worth the money, as may be gathered from the experience of a Banbury firm, whose vans formerly made Leamington and Coventry respectively day-long Journeys and usually with some overtime thrown in as well, but now, after fitting these tell-tale instruments, the vans are doing, noL one, but two journeys a day to each place, and all overtime has been cut out as well."
Concerning this, we have received a letter from Messrs. Hunt, Edmunds and Co., of Banbury, who tell us they are the only firm in Banbury using recorders, and they consider that the paragraph reflects upon their employees in a most unwarrantable manner. We have taken the matter up with the writer of the article, who points out that, so far as the firm itself is concerned, any reflection is to their credit, as showing them to be an up-to-date firm, quick to avail themselves of any means of improving their service, whilst., as to their employees, as the artick clearly showed, time losses are brought about as much through causes over which the driver has no control as through causes for which he has, and hence there is no reflection whatever upon the employees of the firm in Tiestion. Certainly none was intended, and it is regretted that the paragraph should have been taken to imply any such reflection.
Salford Corporation has asked the Manchester Corporation to permit the plying for hire of Corporation bosses in Manchester, but the Watch Committee refuses to acquiesce in the suggestion.
Fiat's London Depot.
The new London home of Fiats was opened on Thursday last when the directors invited a number of their agents and friends to assist in the ceremony. The first business in Fiats this country was negotiated in Mr. D'Arcy R. Baker's flat in Albemarle Street. That was in 1903. Premises were taken in Long Acre, and there the business was built up, works eventually having to be erected at Wembley, and just before the war a small depot was opened in Piccadilly, but with an eye on something better, the site in Albemarle Street, not far from the historic flat of 1903, had been inspected and approved. Now a magnificent building has been erected with the 'address of 43-44, Albemarle Street, London, W.1, and the company has just recently entered into possession. The ground floor and the lower ground floor approached by a 5 ton lift are employed as showrooms. They are well lighted, and lend themselves to the effective display of ears on both floors, commercial vehicles and tractors, however, being confined to the lower floor. The chief offices are on the first and second floors, and are well arranged. At the gathering, which followed the opening of the depot, Mr. Baker dealt with the progress of the Fiat business in this country and with the manner in which industrial troubles had been settled in Italy. He paid a high tribute to the loyalty of Fiat, agents, but was not able to make any announcement yet upon the question Of prices. Subsequent speakers spoke in terms of praise of the straightforward and clean manner in which the directors of the company and the staff carry on the business.
More London Buses.
By the end of August another 250 5type motorbuses, each seating 54 passerogers, will be put on to the streets of Lon
don by the L,G.O.C. They will be supplementary vehicles for the present at any rate, and no B-types will be taken off. There are at the moment 17 S-type buses running, all on service No. 88. Each of these new buses is costing about £2,000 as against £1,750, which is the cost of every one of the 1,054 K-types now in service.
Ferodo, Ltd., Sovereign Mills, Chapelen-le-Frith, have just issued a new complete price list, which embodies various alterations, and cancels previous lists dealing with brake and clutch linings.
A parade of commercial motor vehicles is to be held at Worcester on September 3rd, and a similar parade in Liverpool on September 24th, both of which come under the auspices of the C.M.U.A. These local parades are extremely popular.
In our report of the Royal Show at Derby in our issue dated June 28th, we published an illustration on page 614 of Berliet delivery van, which was erroneously described as a 30 cwt, vehicle, whereas it actually has a eatrying capacity of 15 cwt.
West Perthshire Roads.
In his report covering the 12 months ended May 13th last, Mr. W. L. Gibson, the county road surveyor for the western district of Perthshire, states, that although most of the county main roads continue to remain in a fair 8tat e of repair, the year was a very disastrous one for good road maintenance, principally owing to weather conditions and to the large increase in mechanically-propelled vehicles, especially of the motor coach class, ,whilst there was a considerable amount of timber traffic on certain roads which caused a good deal of damage. On these roads Mr. Gibson had to resort very largely to the patching or " stitch-in-time " system, and to curtail . the resurfacing. From an economic standpoint., he says that much can be done to carry on the life of a well-constructed road by careful and judicious patching.
Char-a-bancs traffic in Western Perthshire has increased 86 per cent. during 1920, and it is to avoid the necessity of closing certain roads to this class of traffic that strong repairs on some reads are becoming an urgent necessity.
Manchester Cabbies and the Badge.
There was a demonstration by owners and drivers of taxicabs in Manchester a few days ago, who combined to protest against the attempt of the Hackney Coach Committee to make the drivers wear badges. About 300 cabs assembled in Albert Square.
The object of enforcing the driver to wear a badge, which is about the size of a five-shilling piece and has a number on it, in the lapel of his coat, is to make identification easier. The objection of the owners and men is that the wearing of a badge is -undignified and unnecessary.
It was lase February that the Hackney Coach Committee decided, to order the wearing of thebadges, and two months later the committee prepared circulars announcing this decision, which were issued to owners and drivers. Mr. G. H. Greenough, the general secretary of the Manchester Taxicab Proprietors' Association, ob jected, however, to the circulars being sent. out until owners and drivers had been given an opportunity of considering the matter. Subsequently the men decided to refuse to wear the badges, and in this attitude they were supported by the owners. Apart from the demonstration, a deputation also waited on the Hackney Coach Committee, and after a long discussion the committee announced that it would reconsider the question within the next few days.
Tyre Reductions in America.
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., of Akron, Ohio, announce reductions on pneumatic and solid tyres for commercial vehicles. Reductions on six, seven, and eight inch pneumatic tyres for lorries average 23 per cent, ; on solid tyres, the average reduction is 10 per cent. Reductiris on pneumatic •tyres. over 8 ins. are less than 10 per cent.. The reductions are said to bring prices practically to pre-war levels.
Road Damage at is. a Mile.
Complaints of damage to the roads by heavy motor traffic -were made at a recent meeting of the Liskeard Rural Conned, when it was reported that. as the northern district no damage was attributable to this traffic, whilst in the southern district; tests on the Seaton Valley road, leading to Downberry, showed that the damage done by motor coaches worked out at is. per mile.
A resolution was adopted protesting against the increase in maximum weights of motor vehicles, and it was decided to circularize other authorities in the country with a view to applying to the Ministry of Transport for a grant towards the extra expenditure involved.
Birmingham Bus Finance.
The offer for sale of 100,000.8 per cent. cumulative preference shares of £1 each, at par, of the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co., Ltd., will remain open until July 15th.
The issued capital of the company is £334,486, out of .£425,000 which is authorized, and the preference shares are preferential as to capital and dividend-, and the dividends are payable on January 15th and July 15th in each year. , The reserve account of the companyan December 31st, 1920, stood at £50,000, and the assets on that date amounted to 2535,067. The dividend on Use issued 8 per cent, preference shares will require £8,000 per annum, and on the basis of last year'sprofits, 247,1316, is nearly six times covered.
Electrics in Italy.
The cheapening of electric power in Italy has resulted in a distinct increase in the use of electrically driven vehicles, particularly for heavy commercial service. This form of transport is popular in Milan, where several garages have been established which operate electric omnibuses for most of the large hotels and conduct. a regular express lorry service between Milan and Bergamo. A company has been formed with a capital of 3,000,000 lire to manufacture and sell electrically-driven vehicles.
Exeter to London by Bus..
At a meeting of the shareholders of the, Devon General Omnibus and Touring Co., Ltds, whichwas held in Exeter a few days ago, it was announced that arrangements are being made by which it will be possible to travel by a regular motor omnibus service between London and Exeter. At this meeting it, was decided to increase the capital of the company of £20,000 by 20,000 shares of RI ea,cli.
Mr. Walter Flaxman French, who is the new chairman of directors, has stated that it: is the company's intention to enlarge the system of passenger service so as to include the whole of Devon and Cornwall to soon as places for storing the vehicles can be found in the various towns.
The company have increased, during the past month, the services out of Exeter so as to include Sidmouth, Tiverton, Bovey Tracey, Ashburton, and Topsham, whilst the fleet, at. Kingsteignton has been augmented by 200 per cent.
Narrow Roads and Bus, Services.
Resultant upon the Durham Rural Council's objection to the United Automobile Services Co., Ltd., running a motorbus service between Sherburn and Easington, owing to the narrowness of the roads, the company addressed a letter to the highways committee of that authority submitting that the objection could not be upheld, as similar roads were run over by buses in other parts of the district, as well as in Durham City. They proposed to run only three vehicles per day, and were willing to curtail the speed of the buses. They requested a reconsideration of their application and pointed out that, failing this, they would appeal to the Ministry of Health.
During a discussion, the chairman intimated that a deputation from the council had come to the conclusion, after inspection, that the road was too narrow. Ile considered the decision should be upheld.
The surveyor told , the meeting the road was only 14 ft. between the fences in one part. Two buses could not pass.
The committee decided to adhere to its previous resolution.
Mr. William Cle,asby asked for permission to run a service between Durham and Cornsay Lodge via Bearpark, etc., but this was also refused. It was stated that one portion of the road was only 13 ft. wide, and recently one or two buses had run into a bridge.
Undertakers and Motor Hearse Taxation.
At the British Undertakers' 'Conference held at Scarborongh. a few days ago, the question of motor hearse taxation was discussed. It. was pointed out'. the incidence of taxation was unfair to the proprietor of a motor hearse. An 18 h.p. chassis for a motor hearse was taxed £21, but, used for a private car, it was £18, and for a taxicab £12. A motor hearse was used less than the private,car. or the taxi, and the executive committee was instructed to endeavour to get motor hearses classified as hackney carriages.
A Motor Vehicle Pageant.
The City of Manchester, which has adopted. the French town of Mezieres. paid a tribute to that town by way of a pageant, which took place on Saturday, July 2nd. The Mayor of Mezieres (M. H. Roussel') and a: number of other French visitors took part in the proceedings.
In the procession, which was one of the outstanding features of the day, a number of commercial motor vehicles took part, the vehicles of the Lancashire and -Yorkshire Railway Co. demonstrating the differences between travel in former times and to-day.
Gloucester County Roads.
The county surveyor of Gloucestershire, Col. E. S. Sinnott, replying to a statement made at a Farmers' Union meeting that the county roads were the worst in the West of England, states that the total mileage of roads under his direct control is 966 outs of 1,001 miles. Of these he foundb when he returned two. and a half years ago, that 323 miles required resurfacing. Considerable progress had been made with this work, but not to the extent he would wish, owing to financial considerations. For these reasons his estimates of tonnage of materials for 1921-22 had been reduced from 180,004 to 121,000. " After all," Col. Sinnott concludes, " the tonnage of stone consolidated is the true criterion. From my knowledge of adjacent counties, I do not honestly think that, taking county by county, there is any very marked difference between them when one considers the subject as a, whole. Of the eight adjacent counties abutting to a greater or lesser degree on Gloucestershire, not one of them has under direct management more than half the mileage for which I am responsible."
The Smoke Nuisance.
As a result of continued complaints by ratepayers, the Congleton police have taken action against the drivers of several steam wagons which,--whilst passing through the streets of the town, have emitted dense clouds of black smoke. The evil has been somewhat accentuated by the recent coal dispute, 'during -which large numbers of such vehicles passed through the town on their way to and from the industrial centres of Lancashire and the coalfields of the Potteries. In view of the circumstance in which the offences were committed and the nature of the work which was being performed, the bench imposed nominal fines of 10s. in all the cases.
Trade in East. Africa.
WM. Trade Commissioner in East Africa reports that in his area a large amount of commercial propaganda is being carried on by United States firms. Many East: African firms regularly receive free copies of United States trade journals, but some United States firms, notably those engaged in the motor accessories trade, are writing to East African houses offering the sole agency for their products on the following very liberal terms, provided that a certain amount of business is contracted for ;--30 per cent. approximately on import direct to the agent, and 10 per cent, on imports in the area other than those on account of the agent. The interest displayed in. the East African market by United States firms is worthy of note, but whether' the condition imposed cart be accepted in that market, where prosperity is dependent on a variable agricultural produc tion, remains to be seen.
Buses to Replace. Trams.
The Heston and Isleworth District Council have decided to inform the Middlesex County Council that. they are of opinion that the proposal of the London United Tramways, Ltd., to re-. move their track between Hounslow High Street and Hounslow Heath, on the Staines Road, on being relieved of the responsibility for reinstating the road, should be agreed to. The route will be replaced by a service of motorbuses.
Trying to Retrieve Lost Traffic.
The L. and Y. Railway Co., in an effort to retrieve some of the passenger traffic which has been transferred to the motor coach, has instituted cheap bookings, and during this week a system of cheap market day bookings to Blackburn is to be instituted from many of the localities within easy reach of the town_ Cheap fares to seaside and holiday reSorts were to be in operation from the principal stations on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway on Saturday last. They have. started one-tiny excursion bookirrgs. at single fares for the return journey on various days of the week to Blackpool mid Southport, whilst certain long bookings to holiday resorts are to be had at a single-fare-and-a-third.
These fare relluctions may induce some people to travel by railway, although those who have enjoyed the advantages of the open-air coach ride will hardly be likely to return to a system of travel which does not offer The same comfort and convenience.
A deputation from the Paignton Urhan Council waited on the Main Roads and Bridges Committee of the Devon County Council at their meeting at Exeter, one day last week, their object being to get the Committee to reconsider their decision not to agree to the proposal to widen the Torquay-Paigriten road. The reason for the oommittee's refusal is stated to be that such a scheme would involve the council in an expenditure of £4,000. The matter was left for ultimate decision by the Southern Control Committee.
In April last. the Metropolitan Asylumth Board decided to construct, at the Mead Ambulance Station, 13 motor ambulances required for the normal maintenance of the board's fleet during the ensuing 12 months. It has not been possible to commence the construction ot these embus lances, and there is no prospect of ark early start being made. The urgency of the matter will not allow of further delay, and, having regard to the fact that, so far as can be judged, the autumn and winter requirements will probably exceed those of last year, it has been considered advisable to obtain the required number of ambulances by contract.. Tenders were accordingly' obtained, and the following accepted :— Clement Talbot, Ltd., 14 chassis, £10,150; Central Aircraft Co., 6 bodies, £240 each Todd and Wright, Ltd., 6 bodies, £235 cad]; F. E. Johnson and Co., 2 bodies, £220 each.
Two additional buses, to cost 21,850, are required by Hull Corporation for the Stoneferry servite.
Crayford U.D.C. is to apply for sanction to borrow the £3,840 required to purchase two motor lorries.
The L.G.O.Co. is seeking permission to open up new routes upon which singledeck omnibuses are to be employed.
Melbourne (Australia) City Council has been advised by the engineer to purchase two electric vehicles for refuse collection at an estimated cost of £1,300 each.
Biddulph Urban District Council have convened a special meeting of the highways committee to consider the purchase of a, steam roller and a motor lorry.
Before carrying out its proposal to purchase motor vehicles, Blackpool Corporation is to consider a report of the borough treasurer as to the costof such a scheme.
Birmingham Tramways Committee is in favour of introducing trackless trolley ears. The subject will be brought before the Corporation shortly, and if the scheme is sanctioned 12 double-deck cars will be required.
The three electric dust vans required by East Ham are, subject to the final approval of the corporation, to he purchased from the Agricultural and General Engineers, Ltd., for £1,200 each, the vehicles being Garretts.
The manager of the Bradford Corporation tramways. is arranging for the purchase of six trackless trolley cars of the one-man type. It is proposed to invite tenders for the chassis and equipment., but the bodies will he built by the corporation.
The Borough Surveyor of Hackney.has presented a report on the use of electric vehicles for refuse collection at Sheffield, Nottingham, and Layton. He recommends the purchase of three or four elec.. tries to be used :n various areas, with a view to obtaining reliable data of cost of working in llackneY.
• Ford Rim Tool. •
Many Ford.one-tonners are fitted with straight-sided tyres mounted Oil split
rims. These rims sometimes cause a great deal of trouble, as it is impossible to remove a cover without contracting the rim, and it is just as difficult, to ex' pand and close the latter when replacing a tyre.
In order to assist in this operation, a very neat little tool, known as the W. P. tyre tool, has been devised. It is sold by G. T. Riches and Co., Ltd., 19, Store Street, London, W. I, at 25s. retail.
It consists of a specially designed lever having two loose steel claws and heel pieces, and the instrument is so arranged that, by altering the position of a bolt provided with a wing nut, it can he made to perform the two functions of expanding the rim or contracting it. It is substantially made of steel, weighs under 3 lb., and can be supplied in two sizes suitable for Dodge, Studebaker, Overland, Buick and other vehicles.
The company also market a neat device for extraeting stones Which may become wedged between twin solid tyres, It, consists of a stout, lever with a shaped
handle, curved at the lower end and drilled for the insertion of a pin, which is placed across the two tyres and forms a fulcrum for the lever. • To prevent this pin being lost it. is attached to the lever by moans of a chain.
Coach Rate Reductions.
A pleasant surprise fell to the day trippers at Nelson a few days ago when it was discovered that not only were there plenty of coaches available, but that prices were much lower than usual
The reduction of prices has been occa, cloned by the competition from outside motor coach proprietors. A fleet of coaches recently crossed over to the town from Ba,cup, and offered to take passengers to BLack-pool for 2s. per passenger cheaper than -was being asked by local owner; and, naturally enough, their tours were well patronized, whilst the Nelson proprietors were obliged to cut their standard charges in order to secure some of the business. At the present time holiday-makers in Nelson are able to take a char-a-banes tour to Blackpool for 2s. 6d. less than they have had to pay previously this season.
Owing to the heavy motor traffic which passes over the ancient stone bridge which crosses the Wye at Rowsley, near Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, serious defects have appeared, and it is now being repaired.