A Fresh Body Annually.
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A curious and partly-unforeseen factor has, during the past six months, reared its head in the motor-jobbing world. We refer to the imperative demand for the very latest and best classes of coachwork. It looks, in fact, as though steady business can only be assured by a change of body once per annum. We do not go so far as to apply this new rule to hiring in all its brauche.s: it has reference. c-hiefly, to those who cater for parties whose very existence seems to be dependent upon attendance at. race-meetings, garden parties, receptions, certain cricket matches and sports, and the hundred and one Society functions which go to make up the London season. Snell customers will readily pay the highest prices, and they must have the newest and accepted types of bodies and fittings. With the knowledge that several large companies, in the Metropolis, were unable, during the season of 1909, to maintain the full-pressure bookings of 1908, it is not out of place that we shanld draw attention to a development which cannot fail to affect the industry. There is time, now, before the " crush " of 1910 comes round, for motor-jobmasters the country over to act upon our hint. It does not matter, that the General Election will probably Occur in January: new bo:lies can be ordered without delay and fitted, at leisure. in March or early April. The unexpectedness—in many casea—of this outlay need not disconcert; it is not a difficult matter to dispose of second-hand bodies which lit, or nearly fit, wellknown and popular models; the present body-work has a market value in every instance. There is no doubt upon the commercial expediency of the change, for the moreregular instructions will quickly recoup the owner for his additional capital expenditure. Nothing is more distasteful, to the hirer who prefers " to job " his motor, than to feel that there is an absence of up-to-date smartness about his turn-out. Everybody knows that the back-entrance tonneau is old-fashioned, and no motor-jobmaster looks for first-class commands for a. vehicle so made. That common knowledge, however, does not cover the only impossible type. The intelligent choice and judgment of the hiring public, of the visitor to 'London in particular, has become refined by a series of improvements due to international " touch " between coach-builders as a whole. Comfort and luxury are required ; graceful curves have to replace straight lines; deep side-doors must complete the front seats; the best interior fittings, panelling, docks, speedometers and lighting are essential; finish of paint and bright parts is not to be neglected.
We agree that, perhaps, 70 per cent, of the hiring orders do not come from people who are so exacting, but we believe it is the other 30 tier cent, that will pay the better when secured by exceptional fitness on the part of any proprietor by reason of his use of modern earomerie.
A New Year's Message to the Colonies.
The Christmas mail for Australia and New Zealand has already gone; that for our great Indian Dependency about to leave. In Great Britain. of course, all who really have business or other oorrtaipondence with our Colonies. and Possessions study these matters. We did so, early in October, prior to the announcement of our Seventh Export Special Number, the publication of which has been carefully timed for its contents to arrive as a New Year's message. At no period of the year, to the exclusion of January, are Britons Overseas more ready to turn their attention to fresh plans of action. The relaxation of the Christmas holidays is over : the impulse of new ideas, new action, new development is upon them. That is the time of all times to strike—during the term in which most of us are on the look-out for opportunities to revise the methods of the past year, and when the receptive faculty is more than ever attuned. We ask our numerous readers in the Colonies and Abroad, who will in not a few cases receive the present issue about Christmaetide, to accept 'our hearty good wishes, and to look forward to the New Year's message about which we now write a fortnight in advance. That message, in the shape of our " Overseas Special." will he the only one to reach them (or anybod> else) mail New Year influences have heroine of no avail.
"Nuisances" at Olympia.
We feel that an immediate protest against certain form. of moving devices at Olympia is necessary. The passageways between the stands are, in a measure, comparable to the highways of our land—for people to peas to and fro. Within reason, of course, the thousands who patronize the Show are expected to stop, and to look. The writer, in the capacity, for the nonce, of an ordinar visitor to Olympia, is of opinion that there were several gloss excesses—trespasses, in short, though unintention-. ally so, upon the common rights of the general body of exhibitors, and most of all upon the rights in equity of the unfortunate stand-holders who found themselves in close proximity to the " nuisances " which we have in mind. It may be thought that these strictures travel somewhat beyond our province, but we have every occasion to consider two relevant issues: the first has direct bearing upon the projected eommercial-vehicle exhibition of March, 1911; the second is the public convenience at all future Olympia Shows. We sincerely trust that the Council of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders will bar, hereafter, any moving device which extends above a certain height, and will require all approved devices to be located on the stands in such manner that admiring crowds may have ample spaee to gaze at them without undue encroachment upon the common gangways. Whilst we do not withhold our admiration from those engineers and manufacturers whose ingenuity, skill and resources have enabled them to rivet the attention of buyers, passers-by and curiosity-seekers, we hold that the advertising device which gives rise to an undoubted obstruction should not be again sanctioned. Any "draw"
of the kind is in the nature of a nuisance, and tolerance is, to our view, only conceivable if the whole of the crowd, or practically the whole, can be accommodated within the limits of the area for which the responsible company, firm or individual has paid. We do not specify the particular devices to which we take exception, and we do not suggest that anybody is blameworthy in the matter. We merely wish to see the subject brought up for discussion, in due course, by the Society.
London Omnibus Movements.
The depression in the shares of the London General Omnibus Co., Ltd., each of whose 2100 of ordinary stock is now worth about 218, compared with 2115 at this time four years ago, and with more than 2200 only a few years earlier, fully bears out our anticipations, at the time of the amalgamation between that company, the Vanguard Motorbus Co., Ltd., and the London Road Car Co., Ltd., that the enlarged undertaking would prove to have upon its back an unbearable load, and that there must be a reconstruction within two years thereafter. Apart from the incubus of the horse department, which we venture; once again, to recommend the directors to close down, the company is about to be faced by the competition of at least one new company of considerable backing and resources. A few weeks ago, although not for publication, we became aware that an additional 50 motorbuses bad been put on order by a certain London group, for introduction to service about April' next, and we are now in a position to state that negotiations have nearly reached completion, in other quarters, for the placing of contracts for at least 200 new motorbuses, the whole of which, of course, may not be brought upon the streets until after the summer traffic of 1910 is over. Be that as it may, the import of these natural developments is of a somewhat ominous character for the old London General, because the newer undertakings will not be handicapped by abnormal capital or by any heavy administration and establishment charges. In view of the imminent publication of the report and accounts of the L.G.O.C., for the 15 months ended the 30th September last, which are promised for next week, and to the persistence of certain rumours in the City of London, we certainly look for a statement of far-reaching importance in relation both to the horse department and the reconstruction of capital. No other course can, in our judgment, enable the company to secure that fresh working capital which is essential to its prosperity in competition with newcomers, about whom we
shall have more to say before many weeks are over. It is satisfactory, however, to know that there is a. balance on the right side, between working expenses and revenue, ill the accounts which will shortly be made public.
Better Roads for Passenger Service.
A load of goods, by reason of the fact that it. is inanimate, cannot protest—unless by breakage or damage against the shocks which are consequent upon travel over bumpy and ill-kept roads. It is the passengers who use motorbuses, and the public at large who suffer nerveshocks as a consequence of the noise due to impact, who make live cries on such matters. Hove provides the latest example, and this well-known resort, Brighton's doe.' neighbour, appears to be torn by rival factions on the vexed questions of additional facilities for motorbuses, the benefit or drawback of electric tramcars, and the general question of fair play for everybody. We would particularly ask members of the Hove Town Council to give ear to results at Eastbourne ; that neighbouring borough, some eight years ago, had before it two tramway schemes, both of which were rejected. One was to Cost 230,000, for a route length of 3,170 yards with seven tramcars the other was to cost £20,000, for a route-length of only 2,200 yards with four tramcers. The Eastbourne Borough Council, after a full seven years of experience in the ownership and administration of a motorbus service, now has a capital debt of less than 213,000, and 16 efficient motorbuses in use, and it has been able to make a handsome profit—something like 21,500—during the best six months of the current year. If people at Eastbourne, who are not less exacting than the residents of Hove, have been able to overcome noise and Ilighe ay difficulties, why should not Hove do the same? We are delighted to know that a progressive spirit has asserted itself in the Council Chamber at Hove, and that certain roads are to be improved. The public convenience demands this, and nobody would suffer more than the general body of ratepayers, who are individually unable to afford general means of transit other than by public conveyance., if the motorbuses in question were to be withdrawn. Precedents for this statement exist in the case of the Great Western _Railway Co.. which has, in not a few instances, declined to run its motorbuses over had stretches of highway until they were put into something like order to meet modern requirements. The force behind the necessary change was found in public opinion, and we believe that history will repeat itself at Hove in this matter.