The Motor Omnibus World.
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A correspondent (page 286) draws attention to. the dangerous practice of tramcar drivers, in rushing " dead " points at crossings, on the L.C.C. system.
Success at Cairo.
IN..7e are glad to have good reports of the working of the six Straker-Squire -omnibuses which were shipped to Cairo last summer. One of these vehicles is illustrated at the foot of this page, and everybody must agree that the environment is most interesting.
More complaints are being made in regard to the Sheffield City Council's decision not to make use of its powers to purchase and run motorbuses. The latest of these comes front the nurses in connection with the Lodge Moor Hospital, from which access to the Fulwood tramcars is a matter of great inconvenience.
The Manchester agent of the Ryknield Motor Company, Mr. W. Stanway, tenaciously hangs on to the project of motorbuses for Cottonopolis and its suburbs, and a sab-committee of the Manchester Watch Committee has been appointed to consider the question anew. Mr. Stanway hopes to get licenses to run motorbuses from certain of the tram termini on the Southern outskirts of Manchester. In the course of some comments upon the application, the " Manchester Courier " concludes with the rather epigrammatic line upon motorbuses in general—" They are horrible—but likewise horribly useful." We can only retort that they need not be horrible, and generally are not. Acceleration Tests.
The Technical Committee of the Royal Automobile Club has, on the suggestion of the Commercial Motor Users' Association, taken into consideration the matter of holding acceleration tests for motorbuses, and has appointed a sub-committee to draft a preliminary scheme.
1 be Todtrorden Service.
The Todincrden service appears to have improving .prospects. It is seldom that more than one journey a week is lost now. The most exact records are being kept by the Council, and by the new manager of the tindertaking, Mr. J. W. Hudson. Experiments are being made, during the slack hours of the day, with single-deck vehicles, in order to save running costs.
We shall be glad to receive dvices, to arrive hero not later than first mail on each Tuesday morning, giving brief particulars of any changes in London routes. -niece are admittedly difficult to follow, as they take place so frequently, and we shall be happy to remit the sum of 2S, to the sender of the first advice opened in respect of each separate change which we deem it necessary to publish. Communications should identify the service, give the terminal points of its old route, the terminal points of the hew route, and the principal intermediate thoroughfares or stages for both. The Editor's decisions most be accepted as final.
We note that the Road Car Company's " P " route now runs only between Liverpool Street and Victoria Station, and that the Great Eastern
Company's old service between Upton Park and Oxford Circus has for some time been conducted, between East Ham and Finchley Road Station (Met-. ropolitan), along the same route as that operated by the Road Car Company's " C " vehicles.
The Ilford Trams,
The competition between the motor omnibuses and the Urban District Council's electric trams continues to be the outstanding topic of conversation at Ilford. The question was even introduced, at a Sunday meeting of a semi-religious character; the Rev. C. H. Vine, in addressing the " Ilford Men's Meeting," appealed to the 1::cal people not to enter, under any pretext,. the buses. If the inhabitants remained loyal, he said, the motorbus must in time beat a retreat from the town. However, notwithstanding the reverend gentleman's appeal, and the oft-repeated complaints which have been made by the District Council, there does not seem to have been any decl:ne in the business done by the buses ; judging by appearances, they fully maintain. their popularity. Many suggestions are being thrown out for enhancing the attractions of the trams, in order to enable them the better to meet competition. Among other things, it is suggested that books of tram tickets should be issued at cheap rates, to insure against empty seats, that season tickets for a month or so should be issued, and that there should be reductions of fares. "Cheap fares are better for ratepayers than empty traMS," it has been significantly observed by one Of the principal advocates of the suggestions indicated. Will the gentleman who sent a telephone message to us on Thursday the 7th instant, in regard to the licensingof the Pullman cars for London, kindly communicate his name and address to The Editor.
The Erome Urban District Council, whilst refusing tO reduce the annual license from 55. to 3$., has preferred a request to the Bath Tramways Company, Limited, that it will arrange penny and twopenny stages in the suburbs of Erome.
A correspondent enquires why the Metropolitan Steam Omnibus Company, Limited, does not extend its Hammersmith-Charing Cross service to Stoke Newington, via King-sway or Chancery Lane, now that the Road Car has abandoned its old "J "route.
The New Arrol-Johnston Car company, Lirhited, of Underwood, Paisley, has received a repeat order for four chars-a-bancs for Singapore. This order has been given on the successful running of an earlier shipment of six, but 16-25h.p. engines will be fitted to the new vehicles, compared with 1215h.p. engines on the others.
Oil Droppings. 7rwo.
London omnibus companies will do well to give particular attention to the
construction, securing, and emptying of the trays beneath the engines and gearboxes of their vehicles. Fines of 25. and costs have been imposed, before the City of London magistrates, for offences against the regulations in these respects, and the fines were accompanied by a warning from the Bench That heavier fines would be imposed in the future.
Anomalies at Leyton.
At the meeting of Leyton Urban District Council, on Tuesday, the 28th ultimo, the Highways and Lighting Committee reported having had before it a letter from the Essex County Council stating that the application made by Leyton Council, as to a speed limit being fixed for motorcars on certain of the roads in the district, had been considered by the Essex C.C. Highways Committee, which was of opinion that it would be useless to ask the Local Government Board to make an Order limiting the speed of motorcars to Io miles an hour in a district where tram:ars in certain places travel at a greater ;peed. The letter also intimated that there appeared to be no evidence of any -notorcar accidents at Leyton having )een caused by recklessness or other woidable causes, and, therefore, the 7.:omrnittee had decided to take no ac:ion in the matter. The Leyton Urban )istrict Council has now decided o request the Essex County Coun to take the necessary steps for reguations to be made (pursuant to secion 9 of the Motor Car Act, 1903) imiting the speed of motorcars in cerain roads in the district to the same .ates imposed by the Board of Trade in espect of tramcars. As this will affect notorbuses, we hope the C.M.U.A. vill take any necessary steps. Thornycroft Vehicles. .00Zd2
The London and South-Western Railway Company has now taken delivery of its latest acquisition for road motor service—two Thornycrof I omnibuses, one of which was exhibited at the last Olympia Show. The several Thornycrof t chars-à-bancs and omnibuses, which have been sold for use in Wales, have now received an addition to their number in the shape of one of the company's 3oh.p. " type 40 " vehicles to carry zo passengers and luggage.
Thomas Tilling, Limited, is only able to show a net profit of £3,200, for the year ended the 31st December last, compared with ,28,000 for 1906. This result may look very bad, but the directors, after bringing into the accounts .4'27,464 from 1906, are able to pay the preference dividend, maintain the rolling-stock in a high state of efficiency, and carry forward 4'11,184. The company's position is obviously a lot stronger by this act of selfabnegation on the part of the holders of the ordinary shares (the vendors), and it leaves the company in a much sounder condition than would have resulted had money, been taken out of it for distribution. The Chairman, Mr. R. S. Tilling, notwithstanding the great expenses and unhappy competitive experience of the past two years, still .believes that the motor omnibus is the vehicle Of the future, and that these vehicles will be as profitable as the old horse ornnibusek were some years ago.
The Arrival of the Pullman Omnibus.
We referred, in last week's issue, both editorially and as a piece of news, to the enterprise exhibited by the directors of the General Motor Cab Company, Limited, in their initiation of a service of first-class omnibuses, at enhanced fares. It will be within the memory of most of our readers that those responsible for the conduct of this journal have, for a long time, advocated the suitability of medium-weight machines of smaller-capacity for the public vehicle service or the Metropolis. The promoters regard it as an experiment, and have, with no mean skill, carefully selected the conditions for their initial endeavour. The passenger catered for by this first service is the Kensington and Mayfair resident, who requires something more than the utilitarian penny-stage motorbus. The vehicles are, and doubtless will be, maintained, in a specklessly clean condition, and this feature in itself will tempt the better-clothed members of the community to an extravagance amounting to about twopence per mile. The lofty and aristocratic bearing of the white-cottongloved conductor, the provision of specially-devised tickets which also tell one the date, the electric lighting, the controlled exhaust heating, the c-nnfortable armchair seats, upholstered in red morocco and panelled in bird's-eye maple, and the indescribably select air about the whole conveyance will all undoubtedly conduce to the cultivation of considerable first-class traffic on this and other chosen routes which may be subsequently worked. The success of
the service will hardly depend on haphazard fares; it will require to become known. The bulk of the fares will con sist of those who deliberately set out to take the Pullman. The unqualified ap proval already expressed by passengers during the past to days is matnly centred on the fact that the omnibuses
are "through vehicles," and do not stop every few: yards, and paS,seng-ers are being secured in fair numbers : they nearly all commence their trip near to one or other of the termini.
The right to use the title "Pullman," which is not inconsiderable from an advertising point of view, is ap parently ensured by the fact that Mr. Davison Dalziel, the Chairman of the General Motor Cab Company, is also Chairman of the Pullman Car Company. The machines are, at preseru, only being run from about 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with one shift of drivers, who, in spite of their clean-shaven features, are old omnibus drivers, specially selected for their knowledge of the work. It is quite evident that very considerable business should be done, in addition to the present day-service, with theatre and West End restaurant traffic. The possibility of the employment of these luxurious machines for private-hire work, both in the evenings and for race meetings and similar events, should be almost unlimited. From a mechanical point of view, the life of the huge Michelin tires will be the most instructive feature. The inception of the enterprise is no less commendable, than is the care for detail with which the scheme has been elaborated by its originators.
We may, without inappropriate ness, quote from a leading article which appeared in this journal on the 4th April, 1907. It reads, under the title of " Alotorbuses de luxe," .as follows :— "So long ago as the beginning of August last we expressed the view that there was a distinct opening in certain parts of London for smaller omnibuses
which woOld carry passengers at fares, say, TOO per cent., or even zoo per cent., greater than those then in force, and we still believe that the West End will see the inauguration of such a service within the next two years at latest. A 14seated vehicle, fitted with pneumatic tires, having the seats arranged transversely, and with provision for the removal of the side windows in hot weather, should enjoy ample patronage to make it pay handsomely, although there will be no question of its displacing the standard type of double-deck motorbus as we know it to-day. Changes in coach-work must come in the last-named vehicle, as surely as they did after stage-coach bodies were adopted for railway service seventy years ago; but the omnibus de luxe will not compete with the larger types." There is some division of opinion as to the expediency of the 6d. fare, but, having regard to the luxurious character of the coachwork and seating of the new Pullman vehicles, it is certainly an open question whether the promoters of the enterprise will not, after all, do well to give the present zone fare an extended trial, before they introduce any intermediate stages. A zone fare of 3d. will probably require a 14-seated vehicle, if it is to prove remunerative.