The Value a C.M.U.A. Support.
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The latest example of the combined legal and moral effect of the backing of the Commercial Motor Users Association, in cases in which owners may find themselves at cross-purposes with the police or other local authority, comes from Newcastle-on-Tyne. It concerns members of that Association—Messrs. Currie and Co., of Grey Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne—who were recently successful in resisting a summons which was heard by a bench of Stockton magistrates. These owners, who acted in close touch throughout with ourselves and with the C.M.U.A., were promised the financial assistance of that body on their being notified that it was the intention of the police to carry the matter further. Thanks to this evidence of a preparedness to support the legitimate view and position of the firm as owners of heavy motorcars, which vehicles the police had confused with heavy locomotives, it has now been intimated that the magistrates agree to let the case drop, and that the police will not proceed with the threatened appeal. We are inclined to think, from an examination of all the facts and circumstances which surround this case, that the owners in question would have been subjected to further trouble, by reason of the police misapprehension of facts, but for the backing to which we refer.
While on the subject of the confusion which undoubtedly does exist in the minds of many town clerks and chief constables, in respect of by-laws which are framed under the Locomotives Act of 1898, to the effect that such by-laws can be applied to heavy motorcars, we may mention in passing a recent case of which we have knowledge at Norwich. In this instance, as well, thanks to the activity of the C.M.U.A., that misconception was obviated, and certain summonses, of the intended application for which intimation had been given, were not issued.
Elsewhere in this issue (pages 109 and 110), we make particular references to the modifications and extensions of the unlimited defence scheme for which the C.M.U.A., in conjunction with the legal department of the R.A.C., has made itself responsible. A close perusal of those terms will show the wonderfully-low rates at which owners can effectively insure against risks which they are unable to cover with any insurance company—the risk of petty annoyance and expense in connection with summonses. Any fines, of course, they have themselves to pay, but they get the best defence possible. The moderation of the terms will be understood when we point out a few examples : —(a) The owner of a fleet of four vehicles or tractors will have to pay nothing for two defences in any financial year ; (b) the owner of a fleet of 10 vehicles or tractors can get unlimited cover in respect of the whole of them, even when trailers are used, for a maximum payment of £5; (c) the .owner of a fleet of 20 vehicles, by exercising a discretion in respect of those which he covers for unlimited defence, and determining that four of them need only be classed under the free scheme (defence on two summonses), even though trailers be used in all cases, can cover his fleet for a maximum payment of 28 per annum.
It is particularly worthy of note, that the Associa tion has drawn up a scheme which provides lower terms for smaller vehicles, and one which includes favourable terms for owners who join the Association during the course of a financial year : the latter can come in at rates per vehicle which are less than those that are applied to the whole term. The scheme is one that should receive whole-hearted support, and particularly so from the small owner. He has the best of the bargain in some respects, but in others he may prove to pay a little towards the big fleets. The scheme is certainly for the good of all, and it is one that, whilst it cannot keep out the small man, does not hit the big man. All the increased benefits under the extra payments are wholly optional.
Tramway Men in Extremis: the Stopping-place Imbroglio.
Irrepressible Mr. Aubrey Llewellyn Coventry Fell, the general manager of the London County Council electric-tramcar department, has indeed executed a volte face since his grievous mistake in the region of prophecy with regard to motorbuses. We again recall the fact that this gentleman, only a few years ago, on the occasion of his addressing a meeting of tramcar and light railway engineers and managers, asserted that the motorbus would only be found in museums at the end of a short specified term of years. How very different is Mr. Fell's attitude to-day, Proof of that is again furnished by his evidence on Thursday of last week, before the Select Committee of the House of Commonson accidents in the Metropolis due to mechanical traction of all kinds, and which inquiry particularly arose in respect of the agitation against motorbus interests and traffic.
The recommendations which were put forward by Mr. Fell include the following : (a) Motor omnibuses should be prohibited from passing in between tramcars and the kerb, and preventing the entrance and exit of tramcar passengers at stopping-places.
(b) The Board of Trade stopping-places for tramcars should apply not only to tramcars, but to all motor vehicles.
It goes without saying that the first of the two recommendations which we quote will require to be amplified in the course of further evidence. It
appears to us to be contrary to the second one which we quote, and not capable of reconciliation with it. We can quite understand that Mr. Fell and his tramway colleagues would like to see the motorbuses ordered to pass to the off side of any stopping tramcar, because they know full well that this is a physical impossibility. The hostile intent is obvious.
The only practicable solution, and it is the one which we intend ourselves to support, is that Mr. Fell's contention should be met by the movement of many tramcar stopping-places so many yards forward as will allow the essential opportunity for the motorbuses to pull un behind those stopping-nlaces, and not at them. We believe in their separation.
The literal acceptance ,of the first of the. abovequoted suggestions must involve the obstruction of
any adjacent cross-thoroughfare by the motorbus : it cannot go ahead of the standing tramcar, by passing
on the off side, beaause of traffic coming from the opposite direction, and its avoidance • of passage on the near side must leave it standing, in a very large number of cases, at a point where it will obstruct the whole of the rest of the vehicular traffic at an intersection of thoroughfares. For the same reason, it cannot atop behind the tramcar. This is inadmissible, from every point of view, and there is no way out of the difficulty but to arrange that all stopping-places which create the difficulty shall be moved, say, 50 yards (or more) away from the intersecting highways. Then, and then only, will it be possible for the motorbus driver to draw up at a point that will not involve danger to or interference with the tramcar passengers? whilst also leaving free the passage of intersecting highways behind him.
A more peculiar muddle of ideas than is indicated in these two recommendations it would, in our opinion, be hard to conceive. We none the less accept them in good faith, and for that reason put forward our own corollary to them. We hope that the Select Committee will recognize the advantage of the• full change, although we have no doubt that the tramcar authorities will object to it. It is one that we definitely urge upon motorbus administrations.
The Influence of Liquid Fuel for the Navy upon Supplies of Motor Spirit.
Yet another factor in the petrol situation has been introduced, during the past few weeks, by the decision of the Admiralty to use liquid fuel on a large scale forthwith. Mr. Churchill's announcements on this subject leave no room for doubt, and change of attitude on the part of certain oil magnates in the City of London—with regard to proposals which they had under discussion for the laying down of plantto increase the yield of motor spirit—is a significant consequence of which we have knowledge.
We are assured that in a particular case the erection of plant for the " cracking" of oil had virtually been arranged, but that the whole of the contemplated programme has been suddenly abandoned. The reason for this change is obvious. Naval demands require crude oil to be supplied practically as it issues from the earth, and certainly with none of the lighter fractions removed from it. Hence, we regret to say, the decision—good in itself—of the British Admiralty, which decision cannot fail to influence the Admiralties of the world, will have a decided adverse effect upon the available supplies of motor spirit from petroleum-well sources. In this we find yet another reason for the encouragement of the campaign in favour of home-produced benzole.
A subscriber who is identified with the ownership and working of several heavy wagons in Liverpoui communicates a suggestion (page 111) for co-operative road-carrying. This idea, at first sight, may strike readers as being of the Utopian order, but it cannot be denied that the possibility exists for such a scheme to be brought to a practical issue in particular cases.
Our correspondent very properly admits the necessity for capital to be put up by the parties who seek to work together, and for an administrative branch to be formed, and herein, we fear, lies a stumblingblock which will hinder any rapid adoption of the idea for the present. The creation of interest in such a proposal requires some organizer to give time to it, and it is not easy to find the man who will come forward in the general interests of particular classes of owners for the purpose of initiation. In the first place, any man who elects to do so is generally received with suspicion. Critics are not wanting, on such occasions, to suggest that the first man to move does ea because he will be the gainer over and above any gain that may accrue to them when they come in. We are inclined to the view that co-operative working, such as one knows has proved successful amongst carriers, might, in the first instance, be introduced by way of provisional understandings between individuals. Extension is only a matter of time.
Any supporters of this journal, who may desire to be afforded publicity. for specific proposals or requests in this connection, will find that we are quite prepared to help them in the matter of giving the necessary space. We do not wish to help in respect of odd or occasional loads, as the time Lector would not allow our intervention to be of any use. It is in respect of proposals for regular loads, over a period, when loading outwards demands the provision of regular back loads in order to allow the fullest economies to be realized, that we make this offer.
Tires and Their Fittings for Overseas.
Dating right, away back to the "Indian and Colonial Supplement," which we published in March of the year 1905, and which extensive supplement was the first Overseas missionary issue to be printed and mailed in the interests of the commercial-motor and allied industries, we have given considerable prominence to the subject of rubber tires. In each successive issue of the kind, as our unique record of Overseas Annuals proves, the tire problem has been accorded first-rate importance by us. Our insistence upon the necessity for independence of special gear or plant for replacements has in no small measure accounted for that attention and study of which the practical outcome is the excellence of devices and fittings which now have so great a bearing upon the successful use of commercial motors in out-of-the-way places or in partly-developed areas of the Empire and Foreign states. Conditions of use have, since that first of all Overseas publication on the side of the industry with which we are concerned, become more-thoroughly appreciated, but we doubt if the fundamental influence of good tires and good tire fittings is recognized and admitted at Home as it deserves to be in manufacturing and export circles.
Thanks to their extensive Colonial and Overseas relations, and in no small degree to the reports that have come to hand during the past few years from estabh,:,ed agencies and depots the world over, Aur leading tire makers are able to cater for all and sundry needs. Wil h rubber down to 3s. 5d. a lb., and with prospects ot steady supplies at that figure cr a lower one, the influence of the rubber-tire manufacturer upon the industry will certainly not be a diminished one in the Overseas branches At Home, of course, it also presages wider use and longer lives for the vehicles. la is an old theme ef ours, but we do not wish to see it forgotten.