Answers to Queries.
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Our readers will be informed by the Editor on any points connected with the construction or use of commercial motors. Where a direct reply is desired, a stamped and addressed envelope should be enclosed : if .a request for privacy is not specially made, any query and answer may be published. Some replies, owing to Pressure on our space, are held several weeks. Numerous requests reach us/or lists of motorcab and commercial vehicle owners; these we neVer supply. Our advertisement
columns are open to those who desire to make announcements to owners for their own benefit.
[1,60; "OWNERS" write : —"We have heard that during next. month there is a new licence coming out for tractors (t5 per year) hauling two loads under a eertain length. If so, will you send us full particulars, as we have got a — compound tractor and we use a traction-engine licence for hauling two loads."
ANSWER.—Any statement about a new licence for tractors is premature, although we believe that there will be some reasonable charge upon all steam vehicles and tractors, probably on the basis of so much per ton of axle-weight per annum, giving the right to travel all over the country, next year.
Off to Penang.
[1,803] " SCOTIE " writes Can you give me any
information about Penang, in regard to motors and to engineers' wages ? Also, what. engineering firms are out there ? I may be going out, and I would be very grateful to you for a reply."
ANSWER.—Much of the information for which you ask was contained in a series of articles entitled "Motor Service in the Malay States," by Mr. A. E. Meaden, which articles were published in several numbers of this journal in July of last year. We regret that these are now out of print, but you perhaps can obtain access to copies at your free library.
Standing or Plying for Hire.
[1,801; NONPLUSSED" write:—' We are hackneycarriage and motor proprietors, carrying on our business in a little town where the police, being county police, and therefore not affected by the Towns Police Clauses Act, 1889, have no power to issue a licence.to ply for hire. We consider, however, that, as we have the sole cab rights for the railway station where our cabs are meeting every train and to which our motor is frequently sent, that we are placed in a somewhatdifficult position, as will be shown by the following facts.
"We have two public yards in the centre of the town, where anyone can get a motor or any other kind of carriage at two minutes' notice. Our office is directly opposite to the station gates, where we can telephone to both of our yards: these are both open to the public at any time, and members of the public always come to our ya.rd or office just as they would go to a cab rank in larger towns. In short, our yards in no degree differ from a public stand.
" Are we entitled to the rebate of motor-spirit duty under section 85 of the Finance Act, 1910, as specified in the fifth schedule of the Act ?"
ANswEe.—Your query is one of considerable importance. It seems to us that you are in a curiouslyanomalous position. Motor spirit used for supplying motor power to a motorcab, motor omnibus, or other vehicle being a hackney carriage within the meaning of section 4 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1888, while it is standing or plying for hire, is subject to a rebate of half the amount of the duty paid under the Finance Act, 1910, in respect of the spirit. We have perused very carefully the digest of cases for the past few years, but have been unable to find a single decision directly affecting your inquiry. We are inclined to think that. you are entitled to the rebate,
since your motor vehicle does in fact stand for hire. it is possible that by " hire " the framers of the Finance Act 1910 meant "public hire." We arrive at this conclusion because of the words that follow, viz.,
or plying for hire." As applied to hackney carriages, we think the word " plying ' suggests proceeding up and down a public thoroughfare for the purpose of hire by promiscuous members of the public. We should like to see a test case brought upon this. Although your yard may be open to the public, we do not suppose that it could be regarded as a public thoroughfare, in as -much as we scarcely think that you would allow other hackney vehicles belonging to different proprietors to stand there for hire ?
[1,805] " --`` I-have recently tried to obtain a complete file of last year's (1910) COMMERCIAL MOTOR, and I am told it is out of print. This being so, I wonder if you would be kind enough to oblige me with a. little information. I was recommended to obtain last year's files, as I understand you were giving tables concerning the comparative costs of the various types of motors as against horse, steam, water and other modes of carriage, a subject on which I am anxious to obtain full and accurate information. If you will be so kind as to suggest to me what periodicals or books I had best obtain to study up this subject fully I would be deeply obliged."
ANSWER.—An article of the kind appears in the issue of the 5th January last. Also, you may be interested in the "Motor Hiring Special" of the 16th October, 1908. A certain number of statistics were also given in the issue of the 16th February last. All but the issue of the 16th February are out of print, and you will probably have to see them at some reference libra ry.
Wants to Drive a London Taxi.
[1,806] " COUNTRY " writes : —" I have taken the liberty of writing you to ask your advice on the following. I am a motor driver (with over 12 months' experience of different makes), and I have had nearly three months' tuition previously in a London garage.
1. Do you think I could get a bus-driver's place, or do they require longer experience? 2. Would you advise me to apply for a taxi-cab licence ? If so, I am aware I should want some schooling re 'knowledge of London,' although I have some knowledge of the West End.
3. Would the fee charged by the instruction schools be worth my while ?
4. Do you think that about 218 or 220 in hand would be enough cash to pay schooling fee (23 3s.), find lodging, and keep myself for the time it would take me to learn London and secure licence from Scotland Yard?"
ANSWER.—(1) You could not obtain employment as a motorbus driver if you have not had experience of driving in London traffic ; (2) the knowledge of London examination is a stiff one at present, and you might have difficulty in passing it if you have little experience of other parts of London to start wit-h; (3) you ought to he able to pass the examination after attending Mr. Toombs' school in Clerkenwell Road, and if you try bard your savings should be sufficient—the companies all want, men.