How the Press Changed Over to Road Transport. How the Press Changed Over to Road Transport.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
THAT form of transport which interests readers of The Commercial Motor has, in sober truth, had a "good Press " during the week. The Press, it seemed, could almost resign itself to the inevitable in the matter of small delaysin the delivery of foodstuffs and other essentials to existence, but in the distribution of its own productions it could suffer not the slightest uncertainty. There was nothing reprehensible in this attitude : it was wholly commendable, because a community left without news, when news is more than usually desirable, can become a community deeply concerned and full of fear and anxiety.
As the railway companies were unable to give any guarantees concerning newspaper conveyance from London by the night trains, the proprietors of the great dailies and of the weeklies almost unanimously took the definite step of changing their mode of distribution from the railway to the road, and an approximate census showed us that just over one thousand lorries, vans and private ears were impressed into the organization and were loaded in the purlieus of Fleet Street every night last week, taking over five million newspapers to all parts of the kingdom.
We have had the opportunity to examine the schemes of employment, and whilst we found them, in every case, simple and straightforward, the completeness and thoroughness with which each detail was set out and all contingencies were provided for earned our admiration. The interesting feature was the variation noticeable in the methods of moving the big loads and then splitting them up at strategic points into fast-moving units: The choice of methods depended entirely upon distance, character of the roads and degree of density of population. Sometimes it paid to load a fast car and to send it straight away to a long-distance point before offloading. In some cases the night's journey was 225 miles, a relief driver sharing the task of completing the double journey, so that the vehicle should again be available 24 hours later.
As a consequence and as an outcome of its experience, the Press has spoken in terms of high praise of road transport, and we should not be surprised if instances are discovered where its services can continue to be employed. The avoidance of empty return running is, naturally, an elusive factor, but we are certain it can be attained. It should be quite possible, for example, to make road transport pay its moving loads of newspapers and ether commodities to the rural districts of Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, and in returning with fruit and market-garden produce—London being the garage centre. At present the operation is conducted the other way round, the garage centre being in the country, the return, therefore, being too late in the morning for newspapers.