OPINIONS and QUERIES
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Allegations of Bias in Granting Haulage Licences. Penalizing the Operator who Licenses his Vehicles on a Quarterly Basis Using Trailers with Petrol and Electric Vehicles. Would it Pay to Carry Out Maintenance Direct? Information on Rates
COMBINE TO FIGHT AGAINST LICENCE RESTRICTIONS.
 Having attended meetings of the Commissioners to hear the licence applications of haulage contractors, like many others, I have come away with the conviction that bias and unfairness against the haulier and owner-driver in general are paramount.
It seems incredible that in these days of liberty, socalled, when men are doing their utmost to build up a business, their very efforts are spiagged by these officials.
A contractor realizes that, with increased business, he must, perforce, have additional vehicles to cope with fresh demands.
His application to the Commissioner for increased tonnage is either not granted, or it is so reduced as to be of very little account. This relentless opposition is so obviously, unfair as to make one wonder whether • the Commissioner is justified in making such restric tions. '
If you are extremely lucicy, and not in too much competition with the railways, then your application may be granted, but 'if the railway is in open competition with you, it is a foregone conclusion.
I wonder what public opinion would be if a like onslaught were to be made against ordinary traders, in endeavouring , to suppress or check their businesses. Then why this ramp against haulage contractors?
The haulier has contributed many millions of pounds towards the Road Fund for the purpose of building good roads and bridges, and now he is denied the f till advantage and right to use them in his business. We should protest Most strongly against this 'one-sided state of affairs.
Vehicle operators, by dint of hard work, have built up businesses which are the envy of the railways, and which they are seeking by every means in their power to grab. Anyone doubting this should attend and hear the results of the licence applications.
For many years I ran a small one-man business. I went out of business for a short time to take up an
appointment, but not being satisfied I wanted to return to general haulage. I made application to the Commissioner and met with a point-blank refusal.
Now how can I return to my old business? The Commissioner has refused my application. Is there any other way out?
The railways are continually, and with immunity, adding large numbers of machines to their already large fleets. There is something sinister about these additions in such large numbers which speak more plainly than words. The answer seems to be that haulage contractors in general, from one end of the land to the other, must combine into one body, and thus be in a position strong enough to enable them to fight the railways and press the. Government to uphold their rights.
There have been toci much neglect and independence amongst haulage contractors in general, but they should know that the railway menace has not finished, and that those who feel satisfied that justice has been meted out, are only deceiving themselves.
They should combine without delay, before it is too late and before any further unjust impositions are placed around the neck of the industry. The complacency of the Government towards the railways, and their combined opposition to road haulage concerns, is arousing deep resentment in the minds of business men and the public. R.Y.
EXCESSIVE " INTEREST " ON QUARTERLY LICENCES.
 Since returning from abroad; where I have been in charge of a large fleet, I have become a most interested reader of your journal. I left England in 1922, and am therefore rather puzzled by all the new laws that have come into force since then.
I am, like most people, horrified by the taxes that have been applied to commercial vehicles and it is this question that has prompted me to write to you. In S.T.R.'s article on costs (page 761, January 11, and page 826, January 25), it would appear that the•average haulier pays his taxes quarterly. Is this the ease? Taxes paid quarterly appear to be 10 per cent, higher than those paid up in full at the beginning of each year. Has the Minister ever produced figures justifying this exorbitant rate of interest, which amounts to approximately 10 per cent, per annum? I have given the
matter considerable thought and fail to see why the Government pays 31 per cent. on War Stock and the haulier pays to the Government 10 per cent. on rolling
Of course, I may have got hold of the wrong end of the slick, and would, therefore, be glad if you would put me right. F. W, Scm..igfc.
[You are quite right, both in respect of the 10 per cent. charge to which, you refer and in the, fact that it is a most excessive rate of interest. It means that the poorer man, who cannot pay a large amount in one sum, has to bear a much heavier burden—" From him that hath not shall be taken away, even that which he bath." —En.] ADDING TRAILERS TO PETROL AND ELECTRIC • VEHICLES.
[44861 We run six Bedford lorries and several Morrison electric trucks, and have been considering using trailers on some of these vehicles. The Bedfords are of 50-cwt. and the Morrisons 12-cwt. load capacity.
Will you please tell us what our obligations would be in order to use trailers. If we had to carry an extra man the extra cost would probably be too high. The vehicles are used for the collection and delivery of milk, under a Class C licence. H.E.S. Leicester.
[A. second man is necessary in every case where a trailer is drawn by a goods vehicle the weight of which, unladen, exceeds 2i tons. If the unladen weight does not exceed 21 tons a second man is not necessary if the trailer does not have more than two wheels. In the case of your Bedford lorries a second man would, therefore, be necessary (this is on the assumption that the weight unladen of the Bedfords exceeds 21 tons and that they are, therefore, heavy motorcars), but a second man would not be necessary in the case of your Morrison electric trucks if two-wheeled trailers were used. In any case it would be necessary for you to pay the additional duty for the right to draw a trailer. This duty is based upon the unladen weight of the vehicle which draws the trailer, and is at the following rates:—Where the unlaien weight of the drawing vehicle does not exceed 21 tons, £10. Where the unladen weight of the drawing vehicle exceeds 2-1 tons but does not exceed 4 tons, £15. Where the unladen weight of the drawing vehicle exceeds 4 tons, £20. It would also be necessary for you to obtain class C licences for the trailers. It is desirable, although not essential, that you should apply for, and obtain, these licences before you buy the trailers.—ED.]
MAINTAINING A MIXED FLEET.
 We should be glad of your opinion as to the following: We are at the moment running six vans, three lorries and four private cars and up to the present have always taken them to the local garage for all repairs and adjustments, etc. Do you think it would pay us to employ a mechanic at, say, 23 per week, to do all repairs and adjustments, including rebores?
The lorries and vans are on the road all day and we do not run a spare one. We also have no equipment other than tools as supplied with our vehicles.
[We think it would probably pay you to employ a fulltime mechanic to do ordinary repairs and adjustments, but hardly think he could be expected to undertake rebores, because this is a specialized job. On the other hand, there are firms who specialize in reboring cylinders and providing the pistons, so long as the cylinders are Sent to them apart from the engine,and there is no reason why this should not be done. Such work is undertaken at a much cheaper rate than it the whole engine has to be attended.—En.]
CHARGES FOR CARRYING TURVES AND HAY.
 Your journal has supplied me with a great deal of facts and useful information on the operation of my vehicle and I should be pleased if you could assist me with the following :—This is an agricultural district and I am the only operator within a radius of five miles. I have a class B licence for general goods (25mile limit) and a contract for -carrying turf, for which
I can operate anywhere in England. The journeys are sometimes of 100 to 150 miles.
The average weight of turf as grown here is about 30 yards per ton. My vehicle is a Ford 2-ton long-wheelbase type, with twin rear wheels. I work out costs per journey to two decimal points, and allow only a minimum amount for profit. Could you assist me in calculating the price per ton or yard for carriage? My reason for inquiring is that another operator is cutting my price to such an extent that it barely pays, and naturally the contractor is asking me to work for the same price.
Can you also tell me what I should charge for carting hay and straw, etc., distances of 5 to 15 miles? Thn greatest time with this class of goods is, of course, occupied in loading and unloading. The maximum load of hay consistent with safety is 1 ton 5 cwt., and straw,
1 ton 8 cwt. V.G.M, Stoke Golding.
[There is only one rational method of assuming your appropriate charges for the work you are doing, and that method applies to both the cartage of turves and of hay and straw. It is indicated in the bottom paragraph of Table I of our Tables of Operating Costs. I suggest you charge according to the time and mileage rate at, say, 4s. per hour plus 3d. per mile, the time being the total time taken on the job, including loading, travelling, unloading and returning. In the case of the 100-mile lead carrying turves, assuming that the job be done just inside an eight-hour day, your charge will be eight hours at 4s.; that is, 32s., plus 200 miles at 3d., which is 50s.; total 82s., roughly Is. 5d, per yard of turf. Similarly, carrying hay. Assume a lead of 10 miles and that it takes three hours in all. Then charge three hours at 4s., which is 12s., plus 20 miles at 3d., which is Ss.; total 17s,, or about 14s. to 15s.. per ton of hay.—S.T.R.] '
INFORMATION ON RATES REQUIRED FOR A HAULAGE ASSOCIATION.
 We are interested in a local road haulage association, and we should be glad to have your opinion as to the minimum rates of charges for haulage over distances above 10 miles for vehicles carrying four tons,, 8 tons and 12 tons. The distances to be from 10 to 50 miles and over 50 miles. The mileage would be GOO per week.
We had a meeting but failed to agree, as some members suggested 2d. per ton-mile, which, in our opinion, would be a loss even with a 12-tonner.
We are owners of lorries including Leyland 12tonners, and we find The Commercial Motor most valu
able to haulage contractors. E.T.S. Transfynydd.
[It is practically impossible to quote a satisfactory rate per ton-mile because so much depends upon how much of the time the vehicle is loaded and whether it is fully loaded or not. You referred to a 12-tonner. If you quote per ton-mile for a 50-mile lead you may run 100 miles fully loaded all the way, in which case your tonmileage would be 1,200. On the other hand, you might have to run 120 miles and be loaded for only 50 miles. In that case, although your vehicle has run 120 miles, as against 100 in the first case, your ton-mileage is only 600. The following rates are per mile run, They are absolute minima and your quotations should be in excess of th:ase, rather than under:—Four-tonner: 10-50 miles, Is. per mile; 50 miles and upwards, 101d. per mile; Eight-tonner: 10-50 miles, Is. 3id. per mile; 50 miles and upwards, Is. 2d. per mile. Twelve-tonner: 10-50 miles, Is. 70. per mile; 50 miles and upwards, is, 6d. per mile. Taking the last figure as an example and allowing for -loading in one direction only, the figure per ton-mile for a 12-tonner would be 3d.—S.T.R.]