JOHN SPENCER WILLS WELCOMES BUCHANAN PROPOSALS
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" ONE of the most important official documents produced since the War" was how the Buchanan Report was described last week by Mr. John Spencer Wills, chairman of East Yorkshire Motor Services Ltd., at the cornpany's annual general meeting. The report, he said, emphasized the necessity of treating transport management as an essential ingredient in the planning of buildings and gave full recognition to the vital part to be played by public transport, because of its unique efficiency.
Mr. Wills said it was curious that, although the document had been very well received, the viewpoint had subsequently been voiced that if public transport was to attract more passengers from private transport it must first make itself more efficient and more reliable; to his mind this was a clear case of putting the cart before the horse: As a first step, conditions must be created in which public transport can operate efficiently and reliably; the best managed bus services are useless if the buses cannot move—and already in many of Britain's towns and cities they can only move spasmodically."
A firm parking-control policy was necessary, said Mr. Wills, and there should be a readiness to reserve bus lanes in main streets. Commenting that the Buchanan Report unequivocally favoured financial encouragement to public transport by the Government, and that it presented this as the possible key to the problem in the long term, Mr. Wills said: " I do not know why it says in the long term '; heaven knows, the bus industry at this very moment needs a different approach by the Government to financial policy. . . . The first and obvious step is to remove the crippling duty on our fuel oil."
Mr. Wills spoke of the effects of rail closures in East Yorkshire's operating area and said they were confident of being able to carry all passengers requiring public transport on those routes. Speaking generally, be said there were already many cases—and there might be more— where it would not be sensible to try to maintain road and rail transport in parallel: the bus was flexible in its routeing and in rural areas was almost inevitably the last survivor.
The company's net balance in the year ended September 30, 1963, was slightly higher than for the previous year, said the chairman, but the operating balance fell from £184,559 to £169,588. After a 7 per cent tax-free dividend and the transfer of 00,000 to general reserve, there was 153,302 to be carried forward. Wages and salaries represented 66 per cent of operating cost, reported Mr. Wills who said he found it hard to comprehend the unions' decision to submit in October further substantial pay, hours and holiday claims.
The company's fleet renewal expenditure in 1963 totalled more than £125,000, mainly on A.E.C. Bridgemaster doubledeckers but partly on coaches for the very successful holiday tours. The 196465 programme would entail an outlay of over £11m., said Mr. Wills, divided between A.E.C. Renown double-deckers and Leyland Leopard single-deck buses, all to the new maximum dimensions.