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There is much evidence available that the business of motor hiringis better understood to-day than was the ease a few years ago: the undue cutting of rates is no longer tile contractor's guiding rule, and the breaking down of machine.: is no longer the most prominent characteristic of the service. It is not inopportune, therefore, at a time when an increasing number of motor-hiring propositions are urder way, to remind new entrants into this field of enterprise of some antecedent causes of failure and loss.
In the case of ._t-oods haulage, it is very important to secure the work from a small number of customers in preference to a large number : there are less people to please, and the likelihood of dissatisfaction to S01110, such as on occasions when the plant is engaged to its full capacity and further orders cannot be taken, is diminished. An imperative condition precedent to success is a reserve vehicle in every case, which provision requires a stand-by of only one in seven or eight where a fleet of more than el machines is carefully organised and run. Drivers must report their whereabouts at noon each day, if afternoon jobs are booked for a second hirer, in order that late arrival may not Occur, and, whether mates or porters accompany them or not, trip records should be kept. Experience shows that the strict discharge of contract obligations has not infrequently b(•011 wanting, and this has. been most often due to the lack of an equivalent of the system of " runners " which every team-owner and cartage man knows to be essential. A combination of telephonic reporting with a close scrutiny of the drivers' returns, and the taking out of comparative times, Nal rapidly enable a manager to get rid of his " wasters." be they men or particular orders. Modern vehicles and tractors, including iets•eng-ercarrying motors, are now accepted as part of the life ef the nation. They are used in all directions, for a variety of purposes, and their practically uniform running has liftca them beyond the adverse influence of the man who knows that thcw can't pay," Details of general control and, above all things, a proper system of rating different classes of work do, however, call for special consideration and treatment. It is folly to hire out a 32-seated char-A-banes at per mile—the price for a one-horse cab! It is equally unnecessary to furnish a steam wagon for a 50-111i1e trip at a charge of only j12. Both have been done, and both are still done, bur, though the terms which we quote are under particular circumstances within costs, their wide adoptioA as bases of operation must very often spell disaster.
We are satisfied that there is a demand for more information on this subject of motor hiring, and for that reason we announce (page to) a special issue On " Motor Hiring."
We have already drawn attention to the fact that the Post-Oflice authorities are taking steps to extend the number of motor-mall contracts in this country, and we have reason to believe that a big step forward is imminent. The first motor service for parcel conveyance was the one between Liverpool and Manchester, and this dates back only to the spring of 191)2. The interval—a little more than six years-has sufficed to prove that very great economies are possible in comparison with the o.55d. per lb. which, notwithstanding the expiry of the term for which this rate was settled by Act of Parliament, the railway companies are still obtaining from the Government. It is not, however, merely t question of a saving in expenditure, because the touch more powerful influence of greater public convenience has to be admitted and reckoned. Thus, mails and parcels can be accepted later in the evening, and earlier delivery can begiven at the points of destination, the double reduction of time in not a few cases amounting to several hours. With the advantages of undoubted economy. and greater Convenience on their side, manufacturers and traders who may quote for such contracts will do well to remember that there is no real occasion for them seriously toundet'quote.
The Scope of the Motorcab.
It is only 18 months ago since Mr. Davison Dalziel and his colleagues, at the public inauguration of the General Motorcah Company's services, set the pace in the motorcab world. There have been, since that date, several extensions and amalgamations, and very large profits for the promoters, but there are still people who think the motorcab will not have any wide application .other than when it is centred upon London. Nearly three years ago, or, to be precise, in our issue of the 7th December, 1905, we advanced the arguments which, in our opinion, justified the launching of capital in motorcab enterprises for greater London, and, in our Motorcab Special of the 30th April last, we fully discussed the prospects and situation in the Provinces. The scope of the motorcab is not limited to ordinary hackneycarriage requirements, for no hard-and-fast line of division between such fares and long private hires can be fixed. We forecasted, in the course of our criticism upon the promotion of the lirst large provincial motorcab company (issue of the 20th February last) that there would be considerable dis. appointment as to the number of purely town fares, but that any such undertaking " will largely depend upon the extent to which a trade in private hiring and jobbing work is developed." Provincial garages and established jobmasters, who have taken up motorcab services, during the past season, are agreed that the salvation of the trade lies in such special contracts. IL is difficult, of course, to state the exact degree of any transference of business from the hire departments of elder motor companies, but it is clear dial such branches have been affected in many cases, and that adversely, though a new and large demand is being created.