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Transport Lessons from the Strike.

18th May 1926, Page 1
18th May 1926
Page 1
Page 2
Page 1, 18th May 1926 — Transport Lessons from the Strike.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Tm S is neither the time nor the place for a discussion on the late general strike ; that which is practical at the moment Is an examination of certain lessons to be learned and deductions to be drawn that will be of interest to road transport.

It was intended that the strike should gain some of its effectiveness by causing inconvenience, annoyance and even privation to the general public. The cessation of the normal facilities for travel—by bus, tramcar and railway train—was to paralyse traffic and to stop industry. Road transport was the rock upon which the big stick was broken. The individual in road transport proved to be an unassailable force. He came along in his thousands ; he took his buses,, his coaches and his vans and lorries and, with merely a chalked inscription „or_ a paper, label, he con-stituted a new transport system for passengers, food and essential materials that enabled the nation to carry on and to wear down the strike element. It was the triumph of the individual, and the independent operator (not only the licensed but the unlicensed) gained the gratitude of those who, but for his services, must have suffered in their efforts to carry on.

The adaptability of the motor vehicle, its ability to override attempts at repression, in comparison with the tramcar and the railway train, stood out 'in 6. marked manner during the strike anti they so Impressed the public that the Minister of Transport would be well advised to reconsider his attitude towards motorbus services. The railway and tramway systems, being each dependent upon the effectiveness of every component, were, for a time being, paralysed. The railways recovered in a remarkable manner, but, except in rare cases, the tramways remained idle.

It was evident from the very first day, however, that the passenger motor vehicle could not be repressed, and in its orthodox form and as a " jitney " it maintained a road service which earned' the full appreciation of the public. So soon as the volunteer drivers and conductors had received a small amount of coaching, the big concerns were able to re-establish their services to a limited but rapidly growing extent. Had the policy of the Minister of Transport of repressing the buses in order to foster the tramways been pursued to its logical conclusion, the loss of the bus and the jitney would seriously have affected the convenience of the public.

Yet another lesson must have been learned by the officers of the Ministry of Transport, if they were out and about on the roads, as they must have been, during the strike. They must have been impressed by the fact that, with fewer people moving than at normal times, the number of vehicles necessary to deal with the passenger traffic .of a busy centre such as the metropolis was simply colossal. Figures should tell the story— that a 54-seater bus carries at two-thirds load (to take a low basis) the average load of 16 or 18 motorcars, whilst, on the basis of full load, it displaces quite 25 motorcars. The congestion of the streets was never so great as when people were forced to use cars because of the absence of buses, whereas the Minister has hitherto leaned towards the opinion that buses are the cause of congestion. It is now proved that they are its preventives.


Organisations: Ministry of Transport

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