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11th May 1920, Page 10
11th May 1920
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Demand for Public Passenger Service Facilities is Being Met by the Enterprise of Bus and Char-a-bancs Proprietors.

A Word of Advice to Char-a-bancs Drivers.

w• ITH -the opening of the .char-h-bancs season, and with . an anticipated, large number on the road, a' note to drivers on the question of traffic obstruction may not be out of place. Whether they have a mirror enabling them to see Oncoming vehieles,or not, certain it is that a 12-mile per hour heavy motorcar must not be allowed to obstruct lighter ears that are allowed more latitude in the matter of speed. We know that it is hot possible always to afford a pass for cars without some little obstruction. But care on 'the drivers' part should ensure that this occurs as little as possible. Particularly should they. take :pains to avoid any obstruction which might -be construed as being deliberate. Very few drivers would hold ,up the traffic deliberately ; but it doeshappen sometimes, and the police and magistrates are ready to take the necessary steps for the protection of the public. As showing the foolishness that occasionally possesses a driver, one may mention the case before the Hereford Bench last week, when it was alleged that the driver of a ohar-k-bancs from South Wales had deliberately held up two motorcars for _four or five miles' while the passengers in the char-à-banes jeered at the motorists. This was a particularly silly affair, and, of course, the offenders' Were fined. However, apart from wilful misetief, drivers of heavy motor vehicles should always endeavour to give as much freedom as possible for passing traffic.

Kentish Bus and Char-a-bancs Services.

MANY motorbus operating companies throughout the country run, as a part of' their business, extensive char-h-bancs tours, and those concerns -which oater for the two distinct publicservice requirements are in a particularly favourable position for securing a knowledge of local needs and c12 can act accordingly. Interchangeable bus and char1-bancs bodies are often employed ,under Buell circumstances with advantage, and this be,nefit is more notieeable w1u.n the char-k-bases reason ends, for the simple reaSon.that the chassis; 'instead of being set aside for five or six months, can be usefully employed for bus services.

The Maidstone and District Motor Services Ltd., of Upper Store Street, Maidstone, fall within the category of those motor vehicle users which operate both bus and char-h-bancs services. The present company was formed in March, 1911, at which date it took over the fleet of vehicles and entire business, which had been run for some time previously by Mr. W: F. -French—the present managing director of the United Service Transport Co., Ltd.—Mr. French at that time becoming chairman, of the. new company, with Mr. H. Robinson as co-director. At that date the fleet consisted of five Hallford chassis which were used with interchangeable double-deck bus, char-k-bancs, and lorry bodies. During nine years of public-service operations the company have developed rapidly, and they now own a fleet of between 60 and 70 machines, which will be supplemented by a further, 20' or so, Vehicles before the end of the year, provided.the.naanufaeturers are able to detiver to•Ischedule. The present type of chassis used by the company is of four chief makes, these being Tilling-Stevens, Leyland, Daiinler, and Straker-Squire. Thee bodies fitted to the fleet have, for the most part, been specially built to the individual requirements of thecompany by Christopher Dodson, • Ltd.., and Thomas Harrington, Ltd. The fleet is divided into three sections and consists of about 20 chars-k-bancs, the same number of double-deck buses, while the remainder are single-deck saloon buses. The company have. depots at Maidstone, Sutton Valence, Strood, Faversham, Gran brook, Tenterden, Hawkhurst, Hastings, Sevenoaks, and Eastbourne,from which they run • all-yearround bus service along the routes shown on the map reproduced on the next page. They also house a number of their chars-a-banes at these different points from which they are centrally situated in relation to the various health .resorts along the coast ef Kentand East Sussex. .

At present only one-day charTa-bancs lours are undertaken, and these have been very popular, but the idea of running touring parties on three to ten day trips to various picturesque and historical parts of England in specially-constructed vehicles is at present under consideration. The motor coaches are either hired out for the use of parties or are rim on scheduled trips by the company at so much per head. The districts in which the vehicles are operated are very hilly, which, naturally, adversely affect the running costs, hut in spite of this and other difficulties of operation the fares charged on the bus routes and the rates asked for char:ii-bancs tours are most moderate—a fact which reflects commendable enterprise on the part of the company, and incidentally a point which has much to do with the deserved popularity of their serviees.

. It would occupy .far too much space to detail here the many services run by the company (these can be ascertained by a close study of the map which we publish). but suffice it to say that services are operated in all, some of which run on week-days only and others which serve certain districts for seven days a week.

American Bus Development.

TE big cities of America have not developed HE motorbus to anything like the same extent as have most of the commercial, industrial and rural centres of this country. It may he difficult for many of us to appreciate the reason for this apparent behind-the-times state, but it must not be forgotten that conditions of operation in the two countries are very different. If it -were merely a question of securing suitable chassis, then American motor-vehicle factories, producing, as they do, all sizes and. types (very often regardless of the law of supply and demand.) on quantity-production lines, must surely have been able to deal. satisfactorily with the most extensive requirements. The Fifth Avenue Coach Co.-, one of the, largest operating concerns in New York, only employ a, few hundred vehicles, whereas ',the London General Omnibus Co, run several thousands. This is certainly one direction in which London is giving the lead, for in no city in the world has the systematic orga,nization of motorbus passenger services been carried out on such extensive lines ; moreover, the chassis design and body construction of London's latest bus will compare very favourably with similar type* pro elueed in other countries. .

There is,. however, no gainsaying the fact that the m i otorbus s increasing in popularity in the States, and the idea of substituting bus services for railway extension has spread. The Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Co., of Akron, Ohio, who are operating a fleet of buses in connection with their own factory requirements have recently established a rabtorbus bureau; aridthey have been flooded: with requests from.. transport companies in all parts of the States for information concerning their operations. Created for this purpose, the bureau, supervised by Mr. R. W. Baldwin, is supplying free data onnlethocis of collecting fares, types of buses, schedules, ventilation, heating, and methods of cleaning, and costs of operation. The necessity for the Goodyear Tyre Co. to operate a service of their own was occasioned by the decision of the management to develop a large tract of land called the Goodyear Heights, where Goodyear employees could build and own homes of their own. Parts of this tract are as much as lit miles from the nearest railway service, and the buses have therefore been of great use.

In June, 1917, one bus with a seating capacity of 21 was 'able to sefve the needs of the company, but seven are now in operation. • From January 1st to October 31st, 1919, inclusive; the buses carried a total of 1-134,739 passengers.

After considerable experimenting, the company has standardized a special chassis designed to meet their requirements, which consists of a 2-ton vehicle,. in which an exceedingly powerful engine is ineor-• perated. The vehicles are running on ,huge .size pneumatic_ tyres. The latest type body employed very rtitieh resembles in:outward appearance that of

a, modern railway coach, but is, of course, proportionately smaller. It has a comfortable seating eapa, city for 21 plus the driver. It has but one door, which serves both as an entrance and exit. The seats are arranged down the sides with an aisle running down the centre, whilst the rear seat runs entirely across the body. 'Very complete, records of the running of these vehicles are kept, and 'the followingsummary of operating costs and data covers the -six month ms period from February 1st to July 1st, 1919:—Miles travelled, 70,174; passengers carried, 1,343,277; total operating costs; 2,209,73 dollars; operating costs per passenger, .0311 dollar ; average cost per day for all buses, 35.76 dollars ; average cost per mile for all buses .315 dollar; average cost per passengermile,.0165 dollar.

The company hope at an early date to add at least 15 new buses to their present fleet, and when this has been done they will take in other sections of the city where there are no means of transportation at the present time.

The double-deck bus has not yet made an appearance in Akron.

Char-a-bants Body Building.

ONE BRANCH of char-a-bancs construction which has progressed almost_ beyond rebogtion dining thepast few years is that of coachbuilding. In the early days af char--banes body building, apparently the chief aim on the part of the designer was to secure the maximum seating capacity totally regardless of the passenger's individual comfort. Although this tendency may have been all very well from, the remunerative point of view of the proprietor, it did not tend to heighten popularity of the char-a,bancs for tonring purposes.

The char-banes body is now built on modern and approved lines, and there is little doubt that the present popularity of the motor coach for long diStance touring is in no small measure due to the ' c14. comfortable accommodation which the body Pro rides. Much more money is now spent by charàbanes proprietors on body equipment for their chassis. than was • done several years back, and, in fact it is no infrequent occurrence for an owner to spend as mueh money on the body as on the chassis itself, for he realizes that it is the general lines of body construction and the comfort it provides which serve as an attraction for Aenrists.

Chtir-k-bancs. body building is:essentially,,a specialist's job, and-.s: such calls for -a thorough undeittanding of the principles underlying char-a-banes work. Quite a number of coachbuilders devote a considerable proportion of their works to the manufacture of this class of equipment, and James Bartle and Co., Ltd., of Western Iron Works, Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, W., must be --reckoned amongst those concerns occupying a premier position.

During the -course of a recent visit to the works of the company, which, by the way, have been con.siderably increased in order to cope with the demand for bodies of all types, we were able to observe a number of ehars-k-bancs bodies and saloon bus bodies of 'various designs in courSe of construction, and. we were much impressed with the thorough and workmanlike manner in which the company are undertaking this class of work. We undertaking this class of work. We

Jas. Bartle noticed in many or the char it

-banes bodies undergoing construction the incorporation of individual ideas of the coin:pany aiming at the strengthening of vulnerable parts and at securing perfect rigidity. It will give our readers some idea of the present demand for these bodies, as well as of the capacity of the works, when we state that many of their parts are jigged. We reproduce on this page an illustration of a swarn of one of the l`uxurious bodies in course of construction. It is built with arm-chair seats, the arm rests of which are hinged for the purpose of being housed in the back of the seat.

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