The Motor Omnibus World.
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A regular service was instituted at Burton-on-Trent, on Monday last, with a 4oh.p. Ryknield omnibus, and it is likely that extensions will be approved after a month's experience.
The traffic returns of the Compagnie Generale des Omnibus de Paris, for the period between the ist January and iith November, 1907, show the receipts to be £1,562,292, an increase of ,4:29,282 iss. compared with the figures for the corresponding period of last year.
The Paris Concession,
The Paris Municipal Council still has before it the question of public-service motor vehicles, and, at the last meeting of that body, M. Duval-Arnould submitted his report on the motorbuses and tramway systems of Paris, urging an immediate decision hy the Council as to the course of action on the expiry of the concession of the Compagnie Generale des Omnibus at the end of tow. The question will come up for discussion at the next meeting of the Council. The committee of inquiry, as already stated in "THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR," favours the granting of a further concession to the vehicle maker whose proposition is most suitable. A number of Wolseley-Siddeley shooting-brakes are on order for the India Office, and the bodies for these are being supplied by Christopher Dodson, Limited, of 45, Horseferry Road, S.W.
A correspondence has been taking place in the columns of " The Times," and certain people who are opposed to motor traffic have been endeavouring to make capital out of the accident statistics, both fatal and otherwise, for the year 1906. We fail to see how any fair comparison can yet be established, for the records of all new modes of transport prove that the first year or two of any such undertaking is subject to altogether disproportionate returns. The history of electric traction in all parts of the world bears out this oonten lion, and provides a sound explanatio of the apparent frequency of acciden, which are ascribed to motorbuses an motorcabs.
The accounts include only the balanc sheet and profit and loss from the 1: June, 1906, to the osth July, 1907. N income and expenditure is shown, the vehicles did not begin to run unt the latter date, and for that reason n depreciation has been charged. On ins. per share has been called up on a 46,641 ordinary shares, but, after alloy ance for calls paid in advance, and cal in arrear, the assured capital stands ,,25,888. Sundry creditors, after a( justment, amount to ,,2,757. A tot of .4'4,938 has been spent on garage it stallation and equipment, and ..5,21 on rolling-stock (omnibuses); store: spare parts and tires stand at and deposits on cars, battery, etc., m yet delivered, at .:5,693, whilst pett cash and sundry debtors tog-ethf amount to £61. Promotion and pri liminary expenses have absorbe ..8,800, and there is a loss to the it July last of ,4'3,coo. There are no only three directors, but, in the ternof the prospectus, these three gentli men divide .,--1,000 a year betwee them.
It is only in a few parts of London hat there is any considerable agitation tgainst motorbuses, whilst the demand
for new services is continuous. The latest expression of welcome is found, in a local paper, in connection with the service between Crouch End and Victoria, and a correspondent, after warmly expressinghis views that the ,.;ervice will be most useful to local aeople, severely rates the company .yhich put on the buses for its lack of nterprise in not sending out 50 posters ibout the new service, or announcing it n other ways.
Woolton Licensing Struggle.
jf Darling and Phillimore, in the :ing's Bench Division last week, z.rantcd a rule nisi to the justices of quell Woolton, near Liverpool, to show :ause why they should not state a case Inder [he Town Police Clauses Act, 889. Counsel for the Applicants, Mr.
Lindon Riley, stated that a eoniction had been obtained against the nvners of certain motorbuses which died between Liverpool and Much Woolton, on a charge of plying for hire Nithout a license, and the justices had -efused to state a case for the opinion 3f the High Court. Since the refusal _)f the Much Wootton justices to grant he desired licenses, a larger fare has freen charged on the trip into Much Woolton, and a smaller fare on the reurn journey, the contention of the owners being that, as no fare was charged for the portion of the return trip inside the Much Woolton boundary, they were not plying for hire.
Several further summonses, which had been taken out against Mr. John Ansonia, the proprietor of the Mersey Omnibus Company, for plying for hire iii Woolton and Allerton without a
license, were down for hearing at the Wootton Petty Sessions on the isth instant,but they were, in view of the above action, adjourned by agreement to the r7th January next.
His Honour Judge Willis, K.C., at the Southwark County Court, last week, gave judgment against Boswell Brothers, omnibus proprietors, of Kennington, S.F., in respect of a claim against a gentleman named Mr. Henry Arthur, for damage to an omnibus window estimated at 24s. It appears that the defendant boarded an omnibus while in motion, and, owing to the oscillation of the vehicle, fell back against one of the large panes of glass, through which his shoulder was projected. His Honour held that, as the defendant was invited and allowed to get into the omnibus while in motion, the plaintiffs cootributed to the accident. Motorbuses, fortunately, do not lurch so badly as horse-drawn ones.
A Peculiar Verdict.
The jury at the Lambeth County Court, in a recent claim against the London Road Car Cornpany, Limited, where a motorbus, in order to avoid a collision, had collided with the back oC a horse-drawn bus, disagreed in the first instance. At the second trial, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff of Lii 17s., but they afterwards amended this to ,'21 175. The learned judge, being dissatisfied with the way in which the verdict had been reached, intimated that he would consider an application for a new trial. He had never seen a jury so much at sea, or whose behaviour on the question of damages had been so remarkable.
The Manchester Fiasco.
The interim report of the liquidator of the Manchester District Motor Omnibus Company, Limited, Mr. Ernest I. Husey, of the firm of Messrs. Jackson, Pixley and Company, 58, Coleman Street, E.C., was adopted at a meeting held in London on the 14th instant. The accounts show that nothing will be returned to the shareholders in respect of the ms. per shore that was paid up, but it looks as though they would sate the other los.
London's Newest Service.
The London Road Car Company, on Monday morning last, started a new line between Hammersmith and Stoke Newington. The first and last journeys of the day extend from and to Walham Green, so that the vehicles may finish the paying trip a little nearer to the Battersea garage, and the tickets are printed accordingly. A total of 21 vehicles has been placed on the route, and this number will shortly be raised to 30. Direct competition has thus been established with the Metropolitan Steam Omnibus Company, limited, between Hammersmith and Hyde Park Corner.
Private arrangement, between individual omnibus companies, has allowed the increase of fares upon a number of stages where there is no competition with railways or tubes, and, in one case, to the extent of one halfpenny where there is competition with the L.C.C. tramcars. Last Friday's meeting between Sir Henry Oakley, Chairman of the Central London Railway Company, and representatives of the omnibus companies, was adjourned without a definite result, but we have reason to believe that an acceptable solution will be reached on Monday next, when a full meeting of members of the Traffic Conference will beheld, under the chairmanship of Sir George Gibb. We commend the action of the omnibus companies in raising their fares, because there is no valid reason
• why they should be the only commercial undertakings to carry passengers at less than cost, and we trust that the whole scheme of revision will become operative on the mat proximo.
Hackney Borough Council.
. A sub-committee of this council has reported in regard to heavy motor traffic, " such as motor omnibuses," and is of opinion that the maintenance • of certain roads has been materially increased by this traffic, and that in future it will be necessary to increase _ the depth of the foundations. The Hackney Borough Council, on the recommendation of this committee, has decided to inform the Home Secretary and the Commissioner of Police that, in their opinion : (m) it is desirable that vehicular traffic in the whole of the Metropolis should be placed under the same regulations which apply in the City Of London ;
(2) that the Home Secretary he asked to obtain power to frame by
laws governingemotor traffic on the roads generally; and (3) that any by-laws formulated for the regulation of heavy motor traffic should provide that an effective mudguard or hood be fixed to each road wheel of such vehicles.
To-day (Thursday) the Brighton Town Council will consider a report from the Chief Constable, Mr. W. B. Gentle. This officer reports : (a) that the omnibus companies should he allowed to license spare vehicles, so that a more regular service may be maintained ; (I) that the engineers-in-charge are now in negotiation for suitable mudguards ; and (c) that excessive speed, in order to make up for stoppages, must not be allowed, even at the risk of the running of vehicles more closely to one another at times.
Lighting Business Continued.
The business of J. T. Williams and Company, Limited (in liquidation), gas engineers and lamp manufacturers, has been acquired by Mr. Josiah Lees, of the firm of Messrs. Lees and Sanders, of Birmingham and London, who will carry on the business under the style of Messrs. J. T. Williams and Company. The management will be in the hands of Mr. J. H. Ross, the Managing Director of the late company, to whom all enquiries may be addressed at 344, New Town Row, Birmingham.
Extra Omnibuses in Paris.
In connection with the Paris Automobile Show at the Grand Palais and its Annexe, many manufacturers and journals ran private motorbus services to and from the Salon and the promoters' respective works or offices. Amongst these we noticed a doubledeck Darracq-Serpollet bus, which ccnveyed passengers from the Salon to the maker's extensive works at Suresnes, and another bus of the same make made periodical trips to the centre of the city. Bayard-C14ment ran one of its double-deck buses for one of the journals, in addition to a char-a-banes for the conveyance of its own clients. A " G.E.M." petrol-electric bus, on. the " ,‘uto-inixte" principle, was pressed into the service of " Les Sports."
Bavarian Vote for Motorpost Lines.
ln a recent issue, we mentioned that the Bavarian Budget contained an item of 2?1 million marks for the creation of a " working and reserve fund for State motorpost lines." This sum was granted by the Bavarian Chamber without debate on the 2oth October. The, amount of A; t25,000 is small in comparison with the sums involved in the scores of projects for which financial help is asked by Bavarian communities eager to improve their internal traffic, but its significance must not he under-rated, especially when the fact is remembered that the deputies did not regard the item as a debatable matter ; it is a pledge of a national system of motorbus lines.
The growth of motorcab traffic in London does not appear to have affected motorbus receipts adversely, as it is the horse-drawn cabs that suffer in this direction, but the self-propelled hackney-carriage threatens to bring a measure of disorganisation to the running department of the stage-carriage concerns. It seems a pity that, at a time when other troubles have been solved, the driver question should agaiil become acute by the withdrawal of good men who seek to become motor-taxicab drivers, but there is no gainsaying the fact that some of the smartest and best motorbus drivers have been tempted away in that direction. The men will probably find, hereafter, that the monetary attraction is a fleeting one, because competition between motorcab componies must become more and more severe as the number of these vehicles increases, whilst the adoption of taximeters for horse-drawn cabs will introduce another competitive factor.