Broken Tramway Bye-laws.
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L.C.C. officials believe that the R.I.A. memorial to the Board of Trade is a move specially taken in the interest of motorbuses. That object, whilst incidentally kept in view, is wholly subservient to the desire to curtail a public nuisance. The running of surplus hundreds of empty tramcars during the slack hours of the day may be an easy wax out. of a difficulty of organization for the tramway department., but is it fair to a business community to have the streets needlessly obstructed this wavl If it be granted, for sake of argument, that there might at busy passenger-traffic .hours be some relaxation of the statutory 50 yds. interval between any two ears on the same track and the 10 yds. interval between any two cars on parallel tracks, which latitude is taken very generally, it is impossible to justify a like claim when passengers fall oil by more than 60 per cent. It. is perfectly feasible to work more cars back to the depots, and to keep them there, and to the public advantage. The L.C.C. does not like the idea of having so many employees apparently idle, and it therefore keeps out on the streets the almost-empty cars. A few, it is true, are brought in, but the
data concern the observed excess left running. If smile go in why not another 500 or so 1 There would be no loss worth reckoning, in eomnarison mith the rebel of street congestion. It is the. ordinary wheeled traffic that suffers most asa result of this senseless municipal fetish of not paying a man who is waiting, but for every shilling paid to the men who were kept in the depots between D. am. and 4 p.m. we expect the saving to the ratepayers might well exceed 11.
We commend a perusal of the text of the memorial to both London and orovincial readers. The schedules, which we have not space to reproduce, disclose inter rain: .(al that in 3,610 tramcars which passed eight observation points in five hours the average of passengers between the hours of 11 a.m. anti p.m. was below 12 (1.0 that these cars breached the 50 yds. interval bye-law 1,047 times, Numerous instances of stopping abreast are given, and particohirs of obstructive repairs to both "ui." arid " down " tracks at the same time—with inconsiderate heaping of setts, tools, etc., to one or both sides of the tracks in addition. It is -high time that somebody protested, and we feel that. the Romls Improvement Association deserves well of all users of the highway. The preparation of its memorial has occupied the attention of a special committee since November last, and the justification for their undertaking the work is found in the wide rinblieity which was accorded to the text of the memorial in the daft\ newspapers. We understand tinii the Presi
(kin of the Beale] Trade will receive a depulation.
Greater London's Progress Towards an Aggregate of 5,000 Motorbuses.
Our old-standing estimate that there will be 5,000 motorbuses in Greater London's service is about to be carried to within reasonable measure f realization. It may take another four years before one sees all the projected fleets in being, because the mills of the gods at Scotland Yard grind slowly. This factor, from the standpoint, of public safety, is one to be welcomed. The. hasty and ill-considered flooding of the suburbs with large numbers of new motorbuses must bring in its train evil, consequences of the nature that attaches to any growth which out strips the possibilities of organization. To our minds, the training of the required total of suitable new drivers will be a severe task for all managements. Competent men are not waiting.
Apropos the pending agreement between London tube interests and the London General Omnibus (,o., to which matter we make other references in this issue triage 38B), the decision to sell through tickets is in accord with the forecast which we. made on the 0th _November (page 194 ante). It is a competitive advantage which cannot fail to prejudice revenue on at least some of the routes that may be chosen by the traffic heads of new motorbus undertakings. We may here remark that, whilst the .BSA. and Daimler companies have a certain big order for chassis arranged, those companies have not —as yet–decided to be promoters themselves. The contemplated sensational increase by the Central Co.—from 35 to 650 motorbuses—is distinctly ambitious. We hope to see it achieved, and we believe that the directors, with the close support, of the Leyland Co., will be able to carry out any extension successfully. The result of the non-underwriting of the fresh issue of capital, some particulars of which promotion are given by us on another page, will be of considerable interest to many who are concerned with problems affecting stage-carriage work in the Metropolis. It will also be anxiously awaited by other interests. The flotation, considering all circumstances, has been admirably timed to elTect the absorption of all likely subscriptions. It must prove a guide to other intending promoters, and we expect that the Leyland Co. will not grumble unduly if the whole of the contemplated fleet is not ordered from it. Other makers are negotiating for orders.
Seeing that motorbuses in commission throughout London reach an aggregate now of only 1,457, and that comparatively few of the outer-zone and suburban " roads " are yet served, we confidently repeat our conviction that there is room for another 3,000 odd vehicles within, say, 15 miles of Charing Cross. Motorbuses will increasingly abstract traffic from the less-efficient and slower electric tramcars, which ponderous vehicles of double capacity have already fallen below the motorbuses in respect of earnings per mile. The motorbuses, too, be it noted, give a. more-frequent service the while.
The Value of Vans.
Each year of use seems to bring to the front some new feature in regard to the reserve value of motor
vans for trade deliveries. Costs have been well established, but there are in all cases certain undefined and unanticipated advantages on the organization side. These special merits are frequently not appreciated by an owner until be has had the opportunity to keep his own vans in service over a considerable period. The original demonstration trial, on hiring terms, which is given in the diminishing number of cases when would-be purchasers prefer a request of the kind, is usually only sufficient to convince inquirers about the capacity of the vehicle over the road, and to produce concrete evidence of performance. It is after one or more motorvans have been available throughout. a complete period of .12 months that their peculiar fitness for trade deliveries is borne in upon critical dispatch managers.
Some examples of the kind arose last Christmastime. In spite of the fact that there was neither fog nor snow to hamper the railways, or to impede deliveries by carriers who still rely upon horse-drawn vehicles, many annoying delays, in some instances amounting to a total of five or inure days, occurred by reason of the sad inelasticity of old-fashioned methods. Tradesmen with motorvans, by reason of the fact that they were able to work them double shifts without trouble, and at all times to have their deliveries under the. sole control of their own employees and in their own conveyances, scored heavily. We have been advised of several more outstanding conversions in the Manchester district recently, and to these unquestionably have to be added others of importance which took place thereabouts in August last. The first inclination of people who are invited to consider the purchase of motorvans is to confine their examination of the matter to costs and (-este only. They are less ready to look at the work done, the effective insurance provided against. uninsurable risks, and the undeniable savings due to certainty of transit. Lancashire, this time, is following London.
Transport is the Life of Trade.
At the commencement ef a year which prophets-competent and accredited even in their own country—suggest will be fraught with international striving, it is unavoidable for most of us casually to compare the resources of the nation to which we belong with those of our more-insistent competitors. Three nations stand out pre-eminent and commercially distinguished at this critical time in the world's history : Great Britain, Germany and the United States. These three are now indisputably at the head of the world considered as a vast business undertaking. All of us may, perhaps, not have realized that, although some of the causes of this pre-eminence are unquesticnably due to the Teutonic extraction and characteristics of the bulk of the inhabitarets of all three countries, to the geographical positions, and to the natural resources of their homes and possessions, these managing directors of the globe mostly owe their proud positions to their development of transport. The United States, Great Britain and Germany possess, in the order stated, the greatest known coal-fields in the world. These countries possess the power, therefore, thanks to steam and to the electricity which it can generate, to engage in limitless transport, both internal and external. England's transport facilities are incidentally increased, so far as its home /Rill% ities are concerned, by its relatively-large seaboard. The facility to exchange goods, as well as to transport troops and their stores, has made great nations, from the days of the earliest Egyptian civilization. No nation which has not fostered its transport facilities has had its " place in the suns"' In the earliest days of maraudings of halfsavage tribes, it was the tribe which could maraud the most in the quickest time that did most business. As Napoleon said : an army marches on its belly. To-day, the greatest national owners of coal, of railways and steamships direct the world's commerce as a necessary preliminary to the full development of internal resources. To-morrow, the oil-owning nations, maybe, will take their places. International commerce were impossible without transport. Next to production it most ever be. The whole fabric of the great nations' financial inter-dependence rests upon the possibility of free and unrestricted transport, and what is true of nations in this respect is true of many individuals. The tradesman who can deliver goods efficiently, nowadays, automatically leaps ahead of his push-barrow competitor. The stores which can include Leo° square miles within its "
deliveiy-by-iuotorvan " network need not fear the strivings of the local trader who cannot see past the end of his own street. Transport is the life of trade ; in these days, people have yo f to push, but that form of activity must not be confined to the handcart or the cycle-carrier.
C.M.U.A. 1912 Programme.
Peifessional opnosition to the C.M.C.A. has indeed proved futile. The 1912 prcgramme of the Association, which works in consultation both with the Royal Automobile Club and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, includes considerable developments in connection with ; (1) the scheme of free legal defence for owner-members and their drivers (2) the official recognition and appointment of storage and supply depots up and down the country : (3) participation in advisory conferences regarding desirable changes in the Heavy Motor Car Order; (1) the free provision of competent engineering inspection of vchicks and store-sheds under the Parade regulations ; (5) support for locally-established groups of owners of motorvans ; (6) an active share in the arrangements for the great international road congress of 1913 ; (7) the issue of not fewer than 1,000 metal and enamel badges for attachment to radiator-caps or dash-hoards, the use of which handsome badges is found to be of real advantage on the • mad ; (5) a fuller service of free legal advice ; (9) an amplification of the various duties undertaken by the consulting department (10) assistance to members who become involved in claims for alleged extraordinary-traffic damage ; (11) a maintained campaign against obstruction due to tramcars and slow-moving vehicles ; (12) active oressure anon authorities to secure moderate and sensible regulations in regard to the transport and storage of netroleurn (131 the protection of owner-members who are attacked by any parties upon a question inniortant in principle ; (14) the furtherance of legislation to permit and require the strengthening of weak bridges (l5) the immediate incornoration of the Association with liability of members limited by guarantee—now on the point of completion.
It will be recognized, we feel sure, that the above summary of the erincipal branches in which good service to owners is being rendered and will be extended is enough. Disanoointing though it must be to self-interested parties who have repeatedly set out to damage the Association, and whose chagrin at the failure of their efforts is well deserved, the facts speak for themselves. The Association is going ahead, and is getting every support.