DRIVERS' DIFFICULTIES WITH FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION T OUR interesting article, "Parking
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with Intent the Latest Crime," published in your issue dated November 5, has just come to my. notice. Perhaps if the police knew a little more about the lot of lorry drivers they might be more sympathetic. As a matter of fact, the whole subject of cafés needs investigation —and that quickly. After 40 years on the road, I know this only too well. The police do not seem to realize the difficulty which we experience in obtaining a good meal, otherwise they might be co-operative.
There are still long stretches of road without any facilities for obtaining refreshments, even a cup of tea.
Between Southampton and Penzance there is, in my experience, not one satisfactory lorry drivers' café. From London to Bournemouth the only really good one it,t.it Staines, on the main road, but it has no pull-in. Recently, while taking a load into the country, I had a meal at 1 p.m. on one day, but nothing but a few biscuits and a cup of tea until 3 p.m. the next.
Even on the main roads, as I have indicated, few of the cafes deserve to exist. Some of the co-called night establishments are really awful. Obtaining a bed is only one stage more difficult than getting a square meal. There may be 10 or 12"men trying to sleep in a small room, perhaps one snoring, another coughing, one or two smoking and some talking and longing for the mc?rning. These places may advertise bed and break fat, but what a breakfast—usually a piece of burnt bread and half a tomato spread well over the plate to make it look like something. Even then such facilities are not cheap. At one place where I stopped on the Birmingham-Coventry road, rats were running about the room, and one of my mates discovered that his suitcase had had a hole gnawed into it. How could anyone fancy food the next morning in such a place? The very fact of there being so few really good cafes is one of the reasons for the congestion where these
are found. After eating at one of the better-class, I can only speculate as to the profits that the others must be making.
Would it not be possible to institute some sort of inquiry? If nothing else can be done, then let the managers of the bigger transport companies have a look for themselves. Unless reasonable satisfaction be ensured, long-distance drivers may soon be hard to find. Meanwhile, cannot the police be more helpful in respect of parking. I could show them a few other jobs which would keep them busy. They might catch some of the thieves who steal petrol, spare wheels, lamp bulbs, and even ropes for securing loads, from lorries parked at night in the open. Let the police shift some of the cars parked at awkward angles in narrow roads and vans stopped at dangerous bends in country roads. know that they cannot be everywhere, but such things appear to lorry drivers to be far worse offences than parking in a wide road for the purpose of obtaining a meal, with the knowledge that where they have stopped is the last decent café within reach during that day
Winchester. G S. ELDRIDGE.
WHAT IS REQUIRED IN A . REFUSE COLLECTOR MAY I presume to pass a few observations on the I" statement by Mr. L. T. Cotton in your issue dated November 12 that no municipality expects to employ specialist fitters to maintain its fleet?
Refuse-collection vehicles are, in the main, built on sound, up-to-date engineering principles, with all the modern fittings and accessories to be found in presentday automobile production. Engines with a high degree of efficiency, hydraulic or vacuum-operated fittings, various types of tipping body and a variety of methods of tipping. Surely it is just as necessary to employ men of practical engineering skill and ability in this as in other branches of engineering—not the semi-skilled or unskilled man, who, more often than not, is a botcher.
Refuse-collection vehicles require more attention and maintenance than almost any other type of vehicle, owing to the usually rough usage by the drivers and the conditions under which they are required to perform their duties. Therefore they require skilled attention.
Manchester. SAFETY FIRST.
A SCHEME TO PROVIDE VEHICLES FOR TRADERS BEFORE troubling you with a few questions, I would like to say how much I appreciate the series of articles, "Solving the Problems of the Carrier," written by S.T.R. I do not think it would be possible to deal with a complicated subject in a clearer or easier style, and I am wondering whether they could be published in book form.
I am hopeful of entering the transport business, but being an outsider, I have difficulty in finding the information required. What I haye in mind is to provide light vans for traders. These would be hired by them with or without drivers, and bear interchangeable panels with their names and the usual advertising matter. This would be done on a contract basis, running from half a day a week upwards. I am hopeful that such a service would be of use to traders unable economically to operate vehicles of their own.
I presume that a 13 licence would be required. How should I set about getting it ?
I am also interested in the self-drive hire of private cars, particularly for overseas visitors. G.H.T. Herne Bay.
[Regarding the hiring of light vans to traders, it is the person who supplies the driver who must hold the licence. If they be your men, and as you will be carrying goods for others and never any of your own, the licence would presumably be the A class. If the vans were hired out by the year to individual concerns, you could obtain contract licences, (but see pages 520-521 of this issue). but to obtain an A or B licence would prove a difficult matter, and you would have to fight your case out in the Traffic Courts. On the other hand, if you let out the vans and the traders supply the drivers, then the vehicles could be operated under C licences; you would merely maintain them. The matter of insurance would have to be arranged between you and an insurance company. We can give you little information regarding self-drive hire. It is a difficult business, as strange drivers often do much damage to the cars. The problem in publishing a book in connection with the articles to which you refer is that the costs vary so much from time to time.—ED.1