What the Good Driver Can Do.
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THE GOOD driver is rather like the sound man of business—he is not spectacular, and, because of that, he is overlooked by those who are in a position to give praise. The sound man of business is not spectacular because he exercises forethought and shows foresight, and therefore does not excite admiration by a -display of skill in getting out of difficulties. So with the good driver. He is cautious and watchful, and has developed the gift of being able to anticipate the misdoings of the inexperienced and reckless road user.
The good driversees every moving thing on a road and takes into account all its potentialities for wrong-doing,' and his skill in judging time, speed and distance enables him to dismiss from all calculations the person whose position relative to himself renders him impotent of causing harm, and thus he is the better able to continue to 'watch those who have not got into such a position. The good driver knows when to brake and when to speed up ; the poor driver applies his brakes needlessly and accelerates without justification. .
We hope that owners and users of commercial vehicles will do everything in their power to encourage their drivers to send us ideas for the lessening of road dangers in the interests of the whole of the m otor community.
Our great aim in offering, jointly with three of our associated journals, the sum of 2250 as awards for the ideas for which we are calling is that the motor community may be able to say :—" We have put our house in order ; let the horse driver, the pedestrian, the cyclist, the owners of dogs and cattle go and do likewise."
• We do not propose yet to declare a closing date for the reception of ideas and suggestions, as we feel that, by a discussion of the problem; its elucidation will be facilitated and accelerated.
Bringing Inventions into the Daylight.
'THE RtCENT exhibition organized by the Institute of Patentees consisted of models belonging to members of various inventions relating to almost every branch of industry. Presumably, the object of the exhibition was to afford a means whereby inventors and manufactures, or those wishing to participate in inventions, may come into contact.
The idea seems to us to be 'a thoroughly practical one, and we wish the Institute every success in these new ventures, for it is to be presumed that the B15 exhibition will be repeated at intervals. Considering the important .part played by inventions in our daily life, and that we owe our very existence under present conditions to inventions, it is strange that some step-of the kind has not been taken before. We have stock exchanges, corn, exchanges, sand many similar institutions where buyers and sellers can meet, but., until the recent effort was made, we had no place where an inventor could display. his wares to purchasers or those likely to be interested in the development of inventions.
The .necessity for advertisethent or publicity in all business matters is so well recognized-now that the old way of sitting tight and waiting for someone to turn up may be regarded as hopelessly out of date. We should have a proper means of intercommunication between manufacturers and those who have a patent for some useful improvement which they desire to sell et. for the manufacture of which they ere-prepared to grant licences. If a series of similar exhibitions be held it would be well for manufacturers to get into touch with the Institute and to attend them.
It might be said that an illustrated circular could Convey the ideas as well as an exhibition. In our opinion this is not the case, as a model, no matter how rough, will show the possibilities of an invention better than any other means. We feel that we cannot close these comments upon an important function veithout complimenting the Institute on the patient and intelligent description given by the members of its staff during the exhibition of the models.
Our New Feature for Hauliers.
WE DIRECT the attention of .our readers in general and of motor haulage contractors in particular to our new feature: " The Hauliers' Inquire Within," which is designed to serve a double purpose. It is intended to be a help to the individual haulier, in, encouraging him to submit his problems to us for elucidation, and to be a continuation of our long-established feature, `! Hints for Hauliers." The former is necessarily more or less a private affair between our correspondents and ourselves. The latter will arise from publication and open distussion of the subject-matter of such of the eorrespondenee as is of general interest., and which may be made public without detriment to the interests of the person most concerned—the correspondent whose problems we are considering.
We need hardly...point out that the answering of readers' letters of inquiry is no new business for the . editorial stall of this paper. From the very commencement it has been one of our pleasantest and most important duties : it will continue to be O. There is nothing new, either, in the special .extension of that service to the haulage contractor—we like to call him a " haulier." He, however, has his special problems, more comislicated than those of the ordinary user of commercial motor vehicles. To him we have for many years accorded a particular portion of the paper, in the care of a contributor who is expert and experienced in these special problems. His assistance has been requisitioned many hundreds of times by many hundreds of readers, who, as regards many of them, come again and again.
The new feature, then, is hardly .so much a new feature as an extension of an old one. In addition to merely dealing with these questions by post as oefore, we propose to discuss them openly, since our experience has proved that the problem of one man ds generally the problem of many. We refer to such things as cost of running (we have before us at this moment a letter from an old reader who wishes us to tell him the up-to-date figures for the operating costs of the four main sizes of heavy lorry); the means of arriving at cost of running, and accountancy on simple lines • how -Le find work for a lorry, bow to keep it when found, and how much to charge for it when it is done. Sometimes we are asked to
help a man justify his-charge when it is made, and we have even been requested to assist a haulier to deal with a, defaulting creditor. These are the problems which confront the men who, after the war was ever' went in for meter haulage because he had acquired knowledge of the mechanism of the motor lorry during the war, and because it apparently offered him a fair opportunity to earn a: decent diving 'leder congenial conditions in the open air. He forgot, or never even realized, that the knowledge of his vehicle was the least of the things which he. should know, and that. it was more essential that he should have had a. business training, which the Army of to-day, or of any other day, certainly does not give. Anyhow, whatever his circumstances, there he is, with his lorry, and it is certain that he has some problems which we could solve," and, in helping him to solve his problems, we prevent him from doing injury to his competitors of longer standing in the industry. This new feature gives him, the necessary encouragement to bring
them to us for solution. •
We invite him to do so in the knowledge that any help which' we can .give him is his by right as a reader of the paper ; for any subscriber, and no less any occasional purchaser of this paper, should know that, for his subscription, or for his occasional threepence, as the case may he, he is buying not merely the paper itself with its reading matter—advertising as well as editorial—but also the help and advice -of its staff. He is under no obligation whatever for this service, which is rendered, so far 'as is possible, through the medium of the post, or, where convenience permits and the occasion demands it, by personal interview.
The Difficulties and Dangers of Bus . Rationing. •
HE FIRST-FRUITS of the drastic scheme of bus rationing put into force by the Watch Committee of Stoke-on-Trent have not proved at all satisfactory ; in fact, the present conditions are almost chaotic.
There is no doubt that the Watch Committee originated its scheme. with the best intentions, but it has been executed without any consideration for the bus owners or for local traffic conditions.
The scheme was devised with the object of distributing the vehicles more evenly over the various routes, and, if it had been carried out in conjunction with the bus owners, all might have been well. -Unfortunately, the Watch Committee adopted an uncompromising attitude, made drastic reduction in the number of vehicles operating on busy routes, and put many of the vehicles on routes on .which the owners cannot operate them at a profit. The result is that many of the owners have been crippled fianancially, whilst Others were not even able to run their vehicles because the necessary licences for running could not be obtained in time from the authorities of outside districts.
The anomalies and injustices caused by the alloceCons have aroused the resentment of the public, and there is an increasing call far "free trade in buses. Unfortunately, the matter has had to rest in abeyance for some weeks, because, after completing the scheme on paper, most of the Watch Committee left the district for• their holidays, and little could be done until their return.
Now the committee ha,s informed the secretary of the North Staffs, Motor Bus and Char-itelea,ncs Association that it would be willing to receive suvestions for modifications which might. ease the situation. This is a wise move, although undertaken so late.
It may be asked why the committee did not accept the original offer of the association, by which the latter agreed to provide a sub-committee to confer with the authorities, and which suggestion was ignored. The association has already put forward a revised scheme. We have not the space here to devote to details of this, but the guiding principles are the provision of circular routes combined with through routes, as distinct from the radial rutes which are now almost exclusively. in operation. The circular routes. will avoid central congestion and reduce the necessity for changing, and the association states that it will arrange for services at intervals not exceeding 21 minutes on the main routes.
So far as possible proprietors who had been running on certain routes before the rationing scheme came into force should be allowed to continue on such routes, subject to the modifications necessitated by the new scheme of the association. Under the rationing scheme at present in operation many owners who have taken great pains to develop passenger services to certain districts have had to g:ive way to newcomers, and have thus lost the goodwill which they have built up by years of enterprise and good service to the public.
The experiences of the licensing authorities at Stoke-on-Trent should act as a drastic deterrent to other towns that May have considered following their example. The allocation of vehicles to certain routes may prove necessary in some instances, but any such schemes should be thoroughly well thought out before being brought into operation, and the local associations of bus owners should certainly be informed well beforehand of the steps which it is proposed to take, and every attention paid to counter suggestion which may be made by them.