THE SEASON'S• CHAR-A-BANCS ACTIVITIES.
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The Doings of a Lancashire Concern. A £1,400 Limousine Body.
THIS summer _season more chars-1 banes will be -seen on the road than ever before, and a series of conversations a .Cammercial Motor representative has had with operating concerns in Liverpool, Warrington, and Manchester, leaves absolutely no doubt that the lure of the broad highway has gripped the popular imagination. Avery and Roberts, Ltd., Liverpool agents for the Lancashire United Tramways,Ltd., who have 50 of the latest type of coaches, informed us that they are booked up for every week-end to August Bank Heliday. The company in 1914 inaugurated a motor-coach scheme on a, small scale as an experiment with. three Dennis vehicles, but until 1919 the war hindered developments. Last year the number of coaches in commission was increased to 24, and when all the coaches on order for the corning season have been delivered it is claimed that the fleet will be the largest and finest fleet of motor-coaches in the country. The headquarters are at Atherton but they have large garage accommodation at Liverpool.
Past experience has indicated that there is a need for vehicles of a smaller
• capacity in cases where parties number over 28, but not sufficient for two coaches. The company has, therefore; provided a ;ember of 14-seater ears, equipped wifh pneumatic tyres, for
which slightly higher rates are charged than for the 28-seatera.
If, the owners of chars--ban ce want to get the maximum service from their vehicles they cannot do better than, to tell the public all about them, and in this connection the more suggestions put before the public as to where they can go by motor-coach the better will it • be for business. The open road has a fascination for the man-in-the-street who spends his week-days in the office, factory, mill and worker-lop. One considers, therefore, that the 72 page booklet issued by the Lancashire United Tramways, Ltd., is likely to have a desirable effect on business. Quite apart from descriptive articles on the charms of various popular resorts, particulars are included of towns embracing mileage, places passed' en route, and fares, of 39 full-day tours from Atherton ; 13 half-day tours from Atherton; 30 tours from Liverpool; a 700-mile extended tour to cover eight days, over the West of England, via Bristol, to Plymouth, returning via the South Coast and Midlands; 4 Welsh tour of 600 miles over seven days; and a fourday tour of 260 miles through the Lake District.
We note that in Mancheater, Wigan, and Warrington, char-I-banes proprie-tors are organized" into associations. The prospectus of the char4bancs proprie
tors' seCtion of the Manchester and. Counties Motor Transport Association gives the names and addresses of over 60 members from whom particulars can be obtained of any of the tours enumerated, and nearly 60 of them are mentioned. The Warrington Association is of only recent formation and MT. J. Paterson, the secretary, told us recently in the course of a short chat how it came into being.
"At the outset," he said, " we received an invitation to join, with the Wigan char-liabancs proprietors, but we eventually derided to form -an associa, tion of our own, and to make a working arringement to respect one another's rates and rights. In our association we have ten members, all of -whom have agreed to hire at fixed charges."
Are these charges calculated oa running costs or mileage?'" we queried. " We'have never "gone into the question of running 'costs," said Mr. Patsr sdn and wif have based our rates at per passenger-mile, but itr any vehicle seating less than 16 persons we charge 25 per cent. extra." "And bookings, are they plentiful?'"
" Oh ! yes. We are doing, very well. The way we work at Warrington is on a co-operative basis. If proposals are made to our mernbers and they cannot entertain them they are passed on to me as secretary ok the association to deal
with. Very frequently I receive enquiries from customers direct, and I put them into touch with proprietors.
There appears in Liverpool to be small disparities in the rates charged for passengers to different places, hut the general figure seems to be 2d. per mile, Some concerns have differential rates for Week-ends and weekdays; for instance, to Windermere the difference is 5s. for the journey.
A word or two ought to be said aboutthe general conditions of hire, and there is by no means a generality in the terms of different companies. It is, however, commonly admitted that a full day's run constitutes 14 hours from picking up to setting down, sad a half-day nine houris. The time by which all cars should be atliberty is 11 &clock p.m. After this some.companies charge at the rate of las. and 10s. 6d. per coach per hour. Warrington, however, imposes the condition that "in the event of the char-ii-harms not returning to the place fixed for as.charging the whole of its passengers by the time arranged, a minimum charge of El per hour, or any part of an hour, be made irrespective of the number of passengers or distance, provided the delay in return is not caused throughoan accident or mechanical defect or breakdown." That, 14seaters should be sub
ject to an extra charge of 25 per cent. is generally agreed, also that no full-day bookings be accepted for less than
les. (Id. Dead mileage is calculated and charged by some companies if the picking up point is outside three miles from the garage, and cars having to travel over this distance are sometimes .charged at the rate of 2s. fid. per mile if the destination is not in a direct route with the journey to be undertaken, as well as a sum of 2s, 6d. per mile for any
indirect route to the final destination.
.Tiab minim.um charges for short. hire vary considerably from 2s. per passenger in the winter season to 5s. per passenger in the summer season. In conclusion there is one point that needs emphasis, and that is the need for the organization, both locally and
nationally, of char4-bancs proprietors. Sooneror later local conditions will straighten themselves out, and rates will beCome stabilized; but, from what we hear, the conditions in different centres are so variable as to make the need for basic terms of hire all the more imperative. These, of course; could then be adjusted and supplemented to . fit in with the peculiarities of the district. For instance, Liverpool..and Manchester people will have to be catered for inlan entirely different way; to tourists spending the holiday at Blackpool, Southpert, Or elsewhere.
"Red" Trips from Worcester.
The Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co., in addition to their saloon buses, are running a number of "red" charsit-banes around Worms. tershire, and from Worcester to popular resorts, the fares being comparatively cheap. Journeys are 'made to some of the prettiest places in the Midlands, ineluding4 Ten bury Wells, Stratford-on-Avon, Evesham, Broadway, Tewkesbury, Warwick, Redrnarley, and a number of other places. The weather, has deterred people somewhat from taking. the air in 's char-abanes, but, in spite of this; all-services havebeen surprisingly, well patronized, especially in the case of visits to Stratford, Warwick; and Redmarley, and the opening augurs well for the. coming season, when the Weather becomes mere settled. ALIMOUSINE omnibus body, built on most sumptuous lines, has just been constructed by Thomas Pass, Ltd., 99-102, Little Park Street, and West Orchard., Coventry, for the Commercial Road Transport Co., Ltd., of Deritend,
Birmingham, the cost of the body being in the.neighbourhoocl of 21,400. The interior of the body, both roof and sides, is finished 'with 'lathes of rnahogaby and maple placed alternately, which give the effect of. black and white
panelling. The sixt4r4s, revolving armchairs are situated, as depicted, in one of our sketches, round the central
table, which has two leaves 6.ins, wide, designed to fold up, and so allow the passengers to take their seats with ease, the width of the table so folded being only 12 ins.. The original idea was to provide tables suitable for card playing, but the difficulties of accommodation were too great for separate tables, and so the central one, with its hinged leaves, was adapted in its place. .
Both the table and the arm-chairs, -which are comfortably upholstered and sprung, are easily detachable, so that the interior of the limousine can be convertedto .hold more passengers by the employment of garden-type seats.
Each window is composed of two halves diyiled vertically. The front half is fixed, whilst the rear half can slide forward on the inside of the front one travelling in bras channels to top. and bottom, .a,nr1 so allowing fresh air to enter the saloon.
A bulbous-sided char-hsbanus, which iee also illustrate, is another interesting piece of char-ahbarics body work now being completed by Thomas Pass, Ltd.,
BUSES IN NOTTS.
A Scheibe to Link Up Residential Districts with Tramway Dead-ends.
WIDE ELABORATION of arrange; merits is being effected in Nottinghamshire in regard to motorinis 'traffic, which is designed to meet the requirements of extensive districts at present inadequately served by railways, or entirely lacking in facilities.
Following upon the Corporation's recent partial failure to obtain Parliamentary powers for the extension of its tramway system to 'outside areas, increasing attention is being directed to the necessities of districts which it is considered may be efficiently served by a well co-ordinated system of buses. •
With this .object, therefore, the Trent Motor Traction • Co., Ltd., has formulated schemes, which are being sub• mitted to the approval of the authorities, for .runi-iiag 30 vehicles in various parts of Notts. and Derbyshire. The routes are to include Nottingham to Mansfield, which will take within its line a considerable stretch of colliery townships, representhiesome of the main centre* of mining wealth in Notts. ; Nottingham to Derby, Nottingham to Newark, Nottingham to Loughborough, Nottingham to Ilkeston, thus affording communication with, among other places, Beestona Long Eaton, Draycott, Southwell, Bingham, and Stapleford.
One of the buses which it is proposed to lasing into use has beensubmitted for the inspection of the Nottingham Watch Committee, and met with commendation.
Meanwhile., speculations are rife in Nottingham as to a possible further adVance in tramway fares, following upon further increases in. wages. The resent award will entail an additional expenditure locally of over £12,000 a ye,a,a, but seeing that the minimum fare for the shortest journey in Nottingham is now 1id., it is felt that the :limit in regard to charges has been reached.
MEAT BY MOTOR.
A Liverpool Scheme to Lessen Waste • and Ensure Speedy Delivery.
THE Liverpool Transport Co., ad., of Liverpool, are contemplating putting refrigerating van a on the road, to carry meat from Liverpool to neighbouring towns: This company have in operation a• mixed fleet of about ten Foden wagons end eight •petrol wagons, whilst they have a number of other vehicles on order. At the present tune the company carry meat on the ordinary lorries, which bring back general merchandise front towns within a rarlina of 50 miles. This method of distribution has proved very successful, quite apart from reduction freight charges. It has eliminated the possibility of valnalale foodstuffs being wasted through railway delays.
One has it•on the. authority of experts in the handling of railways goods traffic that goods for distances within 25 miles can best he undertaken by road transport, and that consignments by rail take as long to he delivered a short distance of 20 miles as 200 miles—roughly a week. Thug, in the case of perishable foodstuffs, consignees stand to lose :considerable, SUM% There are, of course, • for the transport of meat, refrigerating trucks, but their costlincaa and insufficiency in number, arising from the delays in transit, has evidently (a:impelled meat dealers consider the possibilities of road transport. ' The advantages of speedy transit and the elimination.of unnecessary handlings are the great commending feateres of road transport. Five tons of meat, say from Liverpool Docks to St.. Helens, would go cheapee by road than by rail, the difference being between 18s. 3d. per ton and 15s. per ton, apart from the other advantages.
A representative of Tim Commercial Motor recently approached the Liverpool Transport Co. with regard to details of the scheme they have under considers.tion, which, it appears, is intended to cover more than a merely .kcal 50 miles -area. The difficulty at present with refrigerator vans, appears to be in regard to the return. loads.
However, the matter is receiving much and anxious thought, and so soon let the problem of the :baek load half been solved, and it 16 a really difficult one in this case, some definite progress will have been Made for carrying out the carefully-prepared scheme for utilizing a new type of road vehicle, for which, we understand, the specifications have already been prepared,
TABLOIDS FOR WORKERS.
An Enlightening Book which should be Helpful to Workers in the Motor Trade.
TEE HEIGHTS to which a nation may rise are determined, not so much by the attainments of its elected leaders, or by the pronounced genius of a few, but by the general level of character and intelligence to which the great mass of its people may rise. But, becau-se the attainments of the few are "set high upon, a candlestick," whilst those of the many blend to make a general level, this fact is frequently lost to sight.
Such a book as "Half Past Twelve "* (by Mr. George W. Gouch) sets Out to explain. in simple fashion, and in the course of some 26 short studies, the social problems which the thinking artisan sees but does not -understand. The artisan can hardly be expected to worry over the standard works and criticisms on .political economy; and, even should be do se, it in most unlikely that he would he able to apply hisdeductions to the incidents of his own life. The result is that the "working classes" (a horrible expression, as Mr. Gcruch points Out!) arrive at erroneous conclemons, because more or less befogged, and usually dismiss the subject with a feeling that "there' something wronk somewhere."
Half-a-dozen copies of Mr. Gouch's latest work strewn promiscuously throughout the works and offices, the social club and library of a concern, would appeal most strongly to the thinkjag worker—and to none more than the skilled mechanic of the 'motor trade, who thirsts for an explanation of the many unexplained phenomena which siireound his working life. Mere than this, the 'average " tubthumper ". usually Succeeds in leading the working man to think more confusedly than he otherwise would do, and this thoughtful book could clear up many a little point of difficulty-.
To the management which feels keenly for its staff we commend very heartily a book Which should do a little to make the wheels at industry run more smoothly.
*Pullithed by Messrs. Sens, Ltd., at: is.
BUS SERVICES ABROAD.
Conditions Governing a Municipal Concession in Buenos Aires.
THE Commercial Secretory to His Majesty's Legation at Buenos Aires Ina despatchto the Department of Overseas Trade states that. the Municipal Council of the city has grauted to Senor hamad S, Alcacer a concession to e.stablish a system of meter omnibuses for paaenger traffic.
The routes will ,aie within the fulloWing poiats : Plaza Mayo and &Insane, via. Boulevard Callao, Avenida Alvear, etc.; Plaza Mayo and Belgrano, via Passeo de Julio, Avenida Alvea.a, etc.; Plass, Mayo and Constitucion ; Plazas II. dc Septieiribre and Palermo Plaza. The number of vehicles employed on each route will be 25, and each of them will have a seating capacity of 32.
The flast three services must be in operation within two years from the date of signing the contract of concession, and the remaining services must be working within three years from the same date.
The term of the concession is 50 years. Upon expiry of that period all buildings and land, which must be the property . of the concern, occupied by its sheds and. installations, as well as the rolling stock, machinery, spare parts, and all such min terials as the concern may have acquired up to within two years of the expiry of the concession, will become the property of the Municipality, without any pay• meat whatsoever, and all must be in good, condition and in proper working
The connessionnaire will pay to the Municipality 6 per cent, of the gross takings during the period of the concession.
The fare along each route or section will be 1.0 cents currency, and connection ticketa-over two sections will be issued. at 15 cents currency ; season tickets maybe issued monthly at such rates as may be agreed upon by the Municipality and the coneessiennaire.
In the event of . any dispute arising between tab concern and its employees, and–which it may be found impossible to settle without the intervention of a third party, the concern will refer the matter to the Municipality to be arbitrated upon,
Senor Ismael 5. Aleaaer, the cometssionnaire, is an Argentine citizen, and it is understood that he intends proceeding to the United States shortly, with a view to interesting a firm of motor omnibus builders in his concession. It would appear, therefore' . that he will • endeavour raise, at all events, a part of the necessary capital for the venture in that country.
The city of Buenos Aires is already provided with electric tramway systems, which serve many districts, including those corripriied in time concession; nioret. over, the Belgrano terminus is located alongside one of the railway stations of that subarb on a line on which electric traction is now used. It is tb be, hoped that the venture will not follow the same fate as other omnibus undertakings in the city, all of which have had 'short and unsatisfactory careers.
It may be pointed out that, for many xerisons, omnibus. running. in Buenos Aires ia bound to be expensive—far more so than in London—as the naarowness of the streets, the density of the vehicular
traffic with all its inherent drawbacks, the general rough state of the surface • paving, and the very high cost of petrol and wages render remunerative exploitation, at competitive fares, doubtful.