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The Editor invites correspondence on all subjects connected with the use of commercial motors. Letters should be written on only one side of the paper. The right of abbreviation is reserved and no responsibility for views expressed is accepted.
A POWERFUL DEFENCE OF THE ASSOCIATIONS' COMMITTEE OF CONSTRUCTION.
 It is absurd of Mr. J. Keeling to write (letter 4864, August 28) on the subject of the A.R.0.-C.M.U.A. merger in the terms he uses, because by doing so he does not put any cat among any pigeons, but just discloses his own ignorance of facts. Having had so many appearances before Traffic Commissioners and Licensing Authorities he should know the relative value of facts.
All the other errors in his letter would not have mattered so much, but he made his real mistake in his last line when he abandoned that splendid defence—a nom de plume.
Democracy in an association means government of the members by the members for the members, but it is thought to be a little inconvenient to call together 18,000 people once a week to discuss the constitution and government of the new merged organization.
It in presumed that those elected by their members in the Area as representatives do in all respects represent the members ; are trusted by, and have the confidence of, the general membership. Mr. Keeling has so often held an elected position that I do not suppose he wants to quarrel with that system of democratic government.
The whole work of merging the two Associations has been done by a Committee of Construction specifically elected so that each Area or Division of each Association had its representative on it. I have yet to hear of any better democratic arrangement. The committee meets in London, so I suppose that accounts for Mr. Keeling's complaint that the preparation is done in London and then passed on to the provinces.
If it were to be left to the Areas first to decide the major principles, then eventually there would have to exist exactly the same committee to co-ordinate the differing views and ideas. The merger would then be complete after road transport had ceased to exist.
Yorkshire has had its say—very forcefully and very frequently—in all matters to do with the merger, and Mr. Keeling, in fact, is only discounting the work of the Yorkshire A.R.O. representative on the Committee of Construction, and his attack is most unjustifiable and PnWaqailteci.
'Perhaps in common with Mr. Keeling I might now be allowed to deal with matters of opinion. Mine is that the Yorkshire member on the Committee of Construe.
tion, in common with all other members of both organizations, deserves the praise of all engaged in the industry for the splendid co-operative, conciliatory and co-ordinating work done in merging the two organizations. Particular praise is due to Major J. B. Elliott, the prime mover in the whole scheme, and the active adviser and director in all the difficulties encountered by that committee.
It is also my opinion that Mx. Keeling's complaint on the merger work comes not from the fact that the Yorkshire members generally had no part in its settlement, but because Mr. Keeling was not himself a party.
In my opinion, also your heading "Mr. Keeling Puts the Cat Among the Pigeons" was badly chosen, and I suggest, if you must keep to zoological terms: "Mr. Keeling Apes the Ostrich." I am not a member of the Committee of Construction!
London, S.E.14. F. A. FLAN.
THE NEED FOR STRENUOUS OPPOSITION TO RAILWAY INTRIGUE.
 Having regard to the continual complaints of the railway companies regarding road competition, I would say that, in my opinion, road transport has decreased considerably during the past few years owing to the ridiculous taxation imposed upon it and the powers afforded to the railways in the traffic courts.
Another important matter is the irksome regulations enforced by the railways in respect of the use of commercial vehicles in docks owned by them. If some drastic action be not taken soon by the associations, with a view to having the control of these docks placed under a public body, road transport to and from them will practically cease. Since the commencement of the dispute as to the road transport of timber from the Hull docks, this has, I believe, dropped by nearly 70 per cent.
Are the associations to stand by until the eve of a rail monopoly and then commence a campaign? Will they permit, without objection, the railways to demand the production of the books from an applicant for the renewal of a licence? I can imagine the excitement there would be if a haulier were to demand the same of a railway company.
As to the stabilization of haulage rates, I suggest that, whilst this matter calls for serious consideration, no drastic step should be taken without first demanding the abolition of the system of agreed charges now employed by the railways. Each form of transport should carry the goods for which it is best fitted, and I think that the sooner the Government sees that the railways' attitude towards it is "the more you do for us, the do,'" the better it will be for all M.A.W. more you can concerned. Derby.
A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FREE COMPETITION SHOULD EXIST.
 I have read with interest, in your issue dated August 21, A.I.T.A.'s further reply to my accusations and I am still convinced that my arguments have a substantial grounding. No unbiased person can but fail to admit that the road-transport industry generally is passing through a period of severe persecution at the hands of the railway companies. Is it logical to condemn a new virile industry merely because it can render services more cheaply than a once-monopolistic nincltr, taking which is straining every endeavour to :strangle it at birth?
Does it necessarily follow that, because road rates are in a large number of eases lower than rail rates, they are uneconomic? Of course the answer to both questions is an emphatic no. Since its inception road transport has thrived, not on cut rates, but on sound business; how could it. be otherwise? Road transport is not one huge combine able to absorb losses in hundreds of directions and still continue to function, but composed of numerous small undertakings which must all show a reasonable profit or go to the wall.
Undoubtedly, traders can expect efficient transport only provided that they are willing to pay economic rates for it, but economic, rates are not necessarily rail rates. It is impossible to state that certain rates are economic and others are not, unless the costs of performing the service be known. Even a railway official cannot state, with any reasonable degree of accuracy, what it will cost to convey a ton of cement by rail from London to Newcastle.
I am afraid that the practice of tendering high in order to refuse business is more prevalent in industry than A.I.T.A. appears to think. This is not because the business tendered for would be unprofitable at a lower figure, but because the acceptance of such business would necessitate the refusal of more lucrative business.
Of course, no haulage concern would accept unpro6Aable business. and I certainly never stated that the roadtransport industry could not, and did not, discriminate as to what traffics it would refuse or accept. I stated that the railways manipulated rates in order to achieve this object, and I would point out that railway agreed charges are based on the total transport costs incurred by the trader over a given period, not upon another trader's agreed charge.
If A.I.T.A.'s contention, that because railway rates are controlled road rates should be so, be pursued, it automatically follows that the ancillary user should be controlled, that passenger fares by rail and road be governed by the Traffic Commissioners, that the private car user and cyclist be also controlled.
If industry is' to be efficiently served by transport, it is essential that a certain amount of free competition should exist. The " co-ordination " which suggests would constitute nothing more or less than a return to monopolistic conditions, under which rates would rise and service deteriorate. TRANSEX. Bishop Auckland.
ANOTHER SUCCESS FOR THE OIL ENGINE.
14879] A few weeks ago you published some correspondence relating to the use of oil engines in light vehicles.
You may be interested to know my experience with a Perkins-engined Hillman. This is a 1931 model and was equipped with a Perkins " Wolf " 17.9 h.p. engine about three years ago.
I have just completed 20,000 miles with this vehicle during the past nine months without an involuntary stop.
Maintenance has cost 13s. 6d. (6s. for one change of injectors—Perkins service—and one new filter element, 7s. 6d.); no mechanical adjustment has been necessary and no attention paid to the engine, apart from the usual cleaning of filters. The fuel return is 36.5 m.p.g.
A cruising speed of 50 m.p.h., with no sign of engine stress, can be maintained, thus giving a high average speed; and what is more to be appreciated, a minimum of driving fatigue. The engine starts instantly in summer or winter. This, coupled with the above facts, results in a wonderful faithfulness in service which has to be experienced to be appreciated.
I am not inexperienced so far as petrol engines are concerned, haying driven various makes of motor vehicle, both at home and overseas, during the past
20 years. F. A. RAINES. Laindon, Essex.
DRIVERS' WAGES IN THE REMOVAL INDUSTRY.
[48801 We were very interested in an article on " Short-time Work," which you published early this year. Will you kindly give us guidance in the following matter?
In common with most removal contractors, we are usually short of work in the early part of the year. Bearing in mind the provisions of the law regarding hours and wages: (a) Are we allowed to stand a driver off when he is not required (so that he works fewer than the full 48 hours in a week)? (b) If so, are we expected to pay for more hours than the driver actually works?
For example. A driver earning Is. nd. per hour earns a minimum of 62s. per week for 48 hours. If we cannot give him 48 hours' work in any particular week, are we still obliged to pay him 62s. minimum,
or not? P.D. Weston-super-Mare.
[The working hours and wages of furniture-removal operatives are governed by the conciliation agreement for the furniture-removal industry. The industry has a separate joint industrial council and conversations have been proceeding with a view to amending the agreement in certain respects. As it stands, however, it provides for a 48-hour guaranteed week and no special provision is made for working fewer than 48 hours. It, therefore, appears that men who work for shorter periods should be paid for the full time.--En.] CARRYING HOP PICKERS ON A LORRY, 141881_1 I have been a reader of your excellent paper for the past six years, and note how you are always ready to help hauliers over the difficuties they have,
I operate three lorries of 2-ton and 30-cwt. capacity under an A licence, unrestricted as to goods and mileage. Recently I have been asked to convey hop pickers to the various hopfields, 20 miles to 30 miles away and pick them up at the end of the season. Is it quite in order for me to do so?
In conclusion, may I compliment you on your vigorous fight for a very much oppressed industry?
Bexleyheath. T. E. AUSTIN.
[The transport of passengers in a lorry is permissible in law only so long as no charge of any description is
made. It has been held, in the case of the transport of farmers to market with their goods, that the charge for carriage of the goods includes a charge for the transport of the passengers. Therefore, some care is necessary to ensure that no accusation of accepting payment can be levelled against you. It would be necessary for you to advise your insurance company of your proposal to carry passengers. If you wish to accept payment for the transport of passengers, you will have to license the lorry as a public-service vehicle. You will then require a public-service vehicle licence and a certificate of fitness in respect of the vehicle, but we are not sure whether the Traffic Commissioners would regard the class of work you have in mind as contract work. If they do not regard it in this light, you would have to obtain a road service licence in order to operate the service. Should you consider the work worth while, you should apply to the Traffic Commissioners in your area, with whom you are, of course, already acquainted.—Eo.]