Opinions from Others.
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Prevention of Corruption.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[1,357] Sir,—I see a note in your paper stating under .• One Hears "— • • That the Prevention of Corruption _let has done very little towards the abolition of the tipping which many chauffeurs demand from local agents." While this is a matter of opinion, there is every probability that the complaint is well founded ; but, will you allow me to point out, that the blame rests with the employers of chauffeurs. The Secret Commissions and Bribery Prevention League is always willing to institute a prosecution, which shall have a deterrent effect, if it is assisted with the necessary evidence. On more than one occasion, I have found an employer unwilling to help, because he does not wish to involve his driver.—Yours faithfully, The Secretary of the
SECRET COMMISSIONS AND BRIBERY PREVENTION LEAGUE, INCORPORATED.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[I,858] Sir,—I have followed the correspondence which has been going on in your valued paper on the above subject with some interest, and, -}laving had some experience regarding solid tires. I would like to say at once that the scheme suggested is neither a novel nor a good one.
Having stated that the idea. is not a novel one, it follows that attempts have been made in the past to introduce it by some extra " pushing " firms, but
with it result we all know, viz., nil. Nothing ever Came of it, and why not ? The user of a commercial vehicle is, as a rule, a business man of some standing, and, being of some standing, he has experience behind him which cannot be expected to be always found in a private man who goes in for a private motorcar. The owner, therefore, of a commercial vehicle, when some such similar scheme was mooted to him some years back, did not approve of the idea. He saw, immediately, the great temptation that might be put—and would have been pu -in the way of his employees, whether drivers, managers, or whatnot. He saw that behind the bribery-and it is nothing else—was something that ultimately must go against the interests of his own concern. Not only does it tempt the driver, who sees a five-shilling bonus hanging to each tire, for him to influence his master or employer to use that particular make of fur exclusively, but, by hook or by crook, he will sec that the tire mileage is returned to the office pretty quickly to creep up to the 10,000-miles goal, and; further, he (the driver) will see to it that the tire does not do ninny miles more than the 10,000 miles.
T have already referred to the fact that competition, which we all desire, would become a farce, because we all know what is the result of such wholesale bribery. I have had chats too, with some of the bestknown firms, who are large users of commercial vehicles, and, as I anticipated, they all condemn this not-even-novel attempt at bribery, root and branch.
May T, therefore, suggest to you, Sir, that you give this matter your serious attention, and that you satisfy yourself whether the introduction of such a scheme is to the best interests of the trade or not. T feel confident that you can come to but one conclusion, namely, that there is not one redeeming feature to recommend its introduction.—Yours faith
fully, "A USER OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLES."
!Thii letter reached the office on the morning of publication of our leading article upon the subject—En.] The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[1,359] Sir,—Would you kindly allow us to express an opinion on the letter by F'air Competition," which appeared in your issue of 27th ult. I Although we have had no direct dealings with the company in question, we have used their tires for a number of years on our two cars, and we look upon the scheme as likely to be of considerable value to ourselves and all users of commercial vehicles.
The letter states that after running the 10,000 miles the driver will be apt to "force the mileage." With one tire over the 10,000 miles and the three others all more or less nearing the completion of the specified distance, is it at all probable that he will run the risk of losing the bonus on three, by forcing the pace, so that he may secure the bonus of one! Certainly not. From experience, we find that drivers as a rule do not keep a note of mileage run, and the. probable effect will be a general impression in any driver's mind that careful driving will surely earn the promised bonus. Your correspondent mentions the choking of competition, and points out that the driver will endeavour to get the order placed with the firm granting the bonus. Quite true ; but what influence can a driver bring to bear upon his employer? One only, and the driver knows that "long mileage means careful driving." That result we owners wish to attain.
Through a driver running full speed over a bad level-crossing, the writer was once stranded at the roadside for three hours. It was a fairly-good tire, and I feel confident that I would have secured a safe passage had that driver been under a bonus scheme. If other makers feel aggrieved, let them give us similar benefits-we will welcome them.—Yours faith fully, Av otn-ta BLE:'
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[1,360] Sir,—With regard to the correspondence that appears to have been started by the Continental Tyre Co., with regard to the awarding of bonuses to those drivers who will have a care for their tires ; personally am an owner who has suffered considerably at the hands of drivers who have no thought for their rubber-shod wheels. I, of course, have to consider most carefully each item of my mileage charges ; the largest of these is always that pertaining to tires. Any inducement., therefore, which can be offered to the driver to make him take care that the effective mileage of the tires shall not fall below an agreed minimuutis sure to be welcomed by some owners.
There is only one suggestion I would make, and that. is that possibly it might be useful to elaborate the scheme in some way that would bring to the driver a small additional bonus. It need only be a small amount for every hundred miles over and above the guaranteed figure. Your correspondent "Fair Competition" is perhaps right in his contention that once the minimum has been passed by a driver, he will only be anxious to secure his bonus and to start the running for the next 10,000 or 12,000 miles, as the case may be. On the part of the tire-supplying companies, of course the owner has to remember this: that they, apart from the advertising value of veryhigh mileages, are not likely to feel altogether pleased when their tires wear so long that replacements are Only needed at very-extended intervals.
The Continental scheme is quite a good one, but I think the one or two points I have raised will need to be considered before it is properly launched. It is to be honed, of course, that the various makers, most of whom are noted for their enterprise, will not embark upon a competitive system by which each maker will strive to outdo the other by the offer of larger bonuses—Yours faithfully, "FARES, PLEASE!" The Exp!oitation of the Carrying Trade by Motor-wagon Users.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
11,360] Sir,The older-established carrying cornTpanies, including all forms of transport by land and by sea, have come to acknowledge the utility of the motor lorry as a new factor in their business. Rail-way companies are adopting them largely, for the purposes of collection and delivery ; steamship companies, for the conveyance of passengers' luggage, ships' laundry supplies, etc., to and from their boats, and road-carrying companies are largely adopting mechanical transport in preference to horse-drawn vehicles. In the face of these facts, it is reasonable to assume that the motor lorry, as a means of conveying goods, is by no means inferior to other known systems, at any rate from the user's point of view, and, if men, whose business consists in catering for the whims and fancies of the public, adopt motor lorries, it is an indication that the public recognizes the advantages of these machines. It must, therefore, be plain that the individual, who enters the carrying industry equipped with motor lorries, is offering a form of service to the public which is, at least equal, if not actually superior, to those of his competitors. He should, therefore, be able to obtain as good prices, for any work he undertakes, as any other man on the market.
Whilst the above statements are practically indisputable, it is, nevertheless, a regrettable fact that, in many cases, motor lorries are not obtaining as good prices, for work done, as are paid, for the same -work, when it is performed by other forms of transport, and the tendency at the moment is for this state of affairs to grow worse rather than better. There are several causes, which can be named to account for this undue depreciation of motor-wagon work ; some are undoubtedly of a temporary nature, whilst others ina,y prove more difficult to eradicate.
Firstly, then, the motor manufacturer has, in certain cases, which are happily growing less frequent, -quite wrongfully plundered the carrying trade to fill his own pockets. With a view to selling his vehicles to prospectiye customers, he has undertaken, for a period, to carry their goods at a figure which has been considerably below the market price for the work done. So long as the manufacturer could perform this work at cost price, and allow a little for depreciation, be has been content, knowing, full well, that he is practically certain of making all the profit lie requires out of the eventual sale of the machines. Moreover, this work is, as often as not, performed under conditions which are quite outside the regulations controlling the use of heavy motorcars. Such a proceeding at once sets up a false standard of prices for transport, in the neighbourhood in which it is carried out, and permanently robs the carrying industry of thousands of pounds, for the sake of putting a few hundred pounds into the manufacturer's pocket 1
The manufacturer, however, is injuring himself in another way, for the mere fact that he is lowering the price paid for the work done by his vehicles, in comparison with what would be paid to other transporting firms, makes it more difficult for carriers to use his machines to advantage. With such an example as this before them, it is not surprising that private owners of motor lorries, who find a difficulty in keeping their machines fully occupied, or, as is often the case, find it impossible to effect the saving the manufacturers had foretold, on their own work, take on " fill-up " jobs, at any ridiculous price offered. These gentlemen do an untold amount of harm to the carrying trade, for they frequently neither demand a fair price for the work they do, nor perform their work in a proper mariner. This leaves a very-unpleasant impression on the minds of those who employ them.
There are, as a second case, big business houses which are guilty of exploiting the carrying industry in an altogether-immoral manner. Immoral, it is, because the persons engaged are men of wide business experience, who know, to the fraction of a penny, the market value of the work they require to be done. They have no conscience in the matter of asserting that they can get the work done at a fraction of the actual figures ; they acknowledge the efficiency and convenience of motors, but refuse to pay more than about half rates ; the large volume of traffic at their command eventually attracts some hungry carrier, who struggles on for a year or two, and wears out his machines for a mere pittance. The service, naturally, becomes inferior, and in the end the carrier has to withdraw, bringing the motor-carrying industry into disrepute.. It is surprising, that business men of recognised standing should be found willing to try a comparatively-new form of transport under such conditions, in the belief that there is any possible chance of success. It is mere profit snatching—not business.
There is, unfortunately, within the carrying trade itself, a certain proportion of foolishness, the possessors of which consider that, providing a motor wagon can make a profit on its outward journey, it is justified in bringing a return load home for a very-small sum, on the grounds that it will be practically all profit in any case. Imagine that. customer A supplies the out load, and customer B the back load. The carrier, in effect, is making a full charge against A, and he is giving B the use of his machine, without charging for anything but the cost of the fuel. This is hardly fair treatment, as between the two customers. Is it sound business for carriers to establish a rule that, when customers in their own town have paid full rates, those, of other towns, shall be served at reduced rates ? It is only necessary for a carrier to imagine, for a second, how he would feel, if a competitor started to quote "return-journey rates" on his outward loads, to furnish an eloquent reply to the question of such preferential and unwise treatment.
Having illustrated a few of the ways in which the carrying trade is being exploited by motor-wagon users, the question of a remedy suggests itself. The most-natural remedy would be for the representatives of the various forms of transport to meet in each district, and to draw up a working agreement as to rates which are to be charged, based upon the classification of railway rates. Failing that, motor-wagon users in such district should combine, and determine these matters between themselves. Some such action is required, not only in the interests of motor users themselves, but to protect the rights of everyone concerned in the carrying trade.— Yours faithfully,
"A LANCASHIRE CARRIER."