OPINIONS and QUERIES A Plea for Better Road Propaganda.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[40701 Sir,—As a regular reader of your paper I should very much like you to give space to this letter, as I wish to bring the following points before you.
Some time ago an article by Sir Josiah Stamp on Railway v. Road Transport appeared in a local. Sunday paper. The effect of that article on the lay mind could not be otherwise than to prejudice him against road transport, putting the man in the street against us.
The following week appeared an article from Mr. E. C. Marston in reply, but he had .evidently not been allowed the same space as Sir Josiah Stamp, with the result that he was not able to express himself so clearly and forcibly.
I cut out the two articles mentioned and forwarded them to the British Road Federation, London, urging upon it the necessity of printing an extensive reply in the newspaper, if possible on the same lines as the propaganda pamphlets which are sent out from time to time, but since then I have seen no reference to it in the terms required.
Every road-transport-vehicle operator in the country must feel the effect of the proposed new taxes and rogulations, and one is compelled to ask when is this going to stop. It is well known and proved that roadtransport vehicles are; paying more than their share of road cost, but so long as we keep accepting these impositions without united protest they are bound to keep being increased.
We are paying 8d. a gallon petrol tax, far more than our share of tax to recompense for damage to the roads, and now fuel oil itself has been taxed 1.d. per gallon, which increases the cost to oil-fuel-vehicle operators by at least 20 per cent. I ask again, how long are we to submit to these impositions?
What we demand is the lowering of present vehicle taxation, a substantial reduction in the petrol tax, and fuel on to be left alone, as it is having serious consequences in regard to the cancellation of orders for Diesel-engined coastal vessels, particulars of which cancellations have been given in the papers recently, in addition to depressing the road-vehicle and oil-engine industry.
I feel confident that every other road-transportvehicle owner feels just as strongly about this as I do, and I also feel that the whole position should be put before :the public in order that we may win public opinion.
When the man in the street picks up his paper and reads a speech by the Minister of Transport, which says that this road and rail war must stop, he does not know what it is all about, he is only a casual observer, and when he also reads an article by a railway propagandist, in which it is stated that "the reform of road transport, etc., etc.," he is made to believe that there is something seriously wrong with road transport. If it be impracticable to' insert articles in the newspapers, then I suggest that pamphlets should be distributed to every house, When the inmates can have a clear understanding of the whole position, and I suggest that this system be adopted in every town, and that the local transport vehicle operators subscribe to the cost of it.
I shall be glad to have the remarks of any of your readers, as I feel that no expression can be too strong, or any effort too small, in an endeavour to obtain fair treatment. J. C. Ilaooxs. Manchester.
Road Interest in Commercial Aviation.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR. .
[40711 Sir,—Please forward to us the three copies of The Commercial Motor up to date containing the section on Air Transport.
We find thee supplements on commercial aviation very interesting and instructive and wish to have those copies filed for future reference.
Bromley. F. E. GOLDING.
For Commercial Roadways, Ltd.
Carrying the Coach Passenger's Luggage.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[40721 Sir,—It was with great interest that I read Mr. W. D. Wright's article on the Nottingham Chamber of Commerce Road Transport Department, in your issue of May 5. It certainly deserves all the success it has achieved and I wish there were more like it. At any rate, could not its mode of dealing with "smalls" be extended throughout the country to deal with the problem of the luggage of coach passengers?
No doubt, only a large volume of such traffic would compensate for the low rates required in competition with the 2s. charged by the railways for luggage in advance, but, as a confirmed coach traveller; I feel that the service would be greatly appreciated.
The Tax on Oil Fuel a Grave Mistake.
The Editor, THE COMIVIERCIAL MOTOR.
[40731 Sir,—The duty on heavy oils imposed in the recent Budget is already having a serious effect. upon industry. It has placed a new burden upon manufacturers already overtaxed,. and will intensify their difficulties. These .men are, anxious to do all-they can to relieve unemployment, but the Chancellor is not helping them, to put it mildly. . ,• • If it be suggested that by taxing heavy oils the coal industry, so vital to the prosperity of our country,. is being helped, then I for one object to the suggestion. I am aware that it has been very widely mooted, but to take, my own constituency of Wednesbury, where coal Is important enough, in all conscience, there are industries suffering from the new oil tax which have used oil for 20 to 30 years, and cannot go back to coal. I refer to the nut and bolt-making industries, and to the steel and iron tube factories. Their revival is being gravely prejudiced by the tax on heavy oils. The Budget does not give these employers and their workmen anything Tike a souare deal.
Another point. I dislike this use of the "patriotic" note in the propaganda of one industry against another. Coal is a vital British industry : we know that. But so is oil. Of the petroleum products imported into this country, a substantial proportion comes from wells entirely British-owned and employing British technicians and British labour, or from within the actual borders of the British Empire.
J. W. BANFIELD House of Commons. J.P., M.P. for Wednesbury).
Tax Increases and Operating Costs.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—We should like to make the following criticism with regard to the points raised in articles in your issue of May 5 : Under the heading "The Effects of the New Taxes," by " S.T.R.," Table I indicates the annual tax increase on pneumatic-tyred petrol-engined goods vehicles of varying capacities; this shows an increasing ratio from £2 on a 2-21-ton vehicle to £122 on one of 12-tons capacity.
We wish to point out that the Multiwheeler with a legal load capacity of 15 tons has a maximum annual tax increase of only £76.
Table II indicates an increase on oil-engined vehicles of from £7 on a 2-21-ton vehicle to £177 on a 12-ton vehicle, whereas a Multiwheeler oil-engined Anaconda of 15 tons legal pay load capacity has a maximum annual tax increase of only £116.
With reference to the artiele entitled "Road Transport Vital to the Building Trade," we should like to take exception to the following paragraph :— "It is not, as a rule, possible to compete with the railways on a basis only of cost for the haulage or large quantities of bricks, e.g., the standard rate for the conveyance of bricks, in not less than 6-ton loads, from a siding in Peterborough to the goods yard in London is 6s. lid, per ton. By road, using the most economical type for this class of work, that is to say, a tractor-trailer combination capable of conveying 11,000 bricks at maximum speeds and costing when regularly employed on such work about 71d. per mile to run, the expense of bringing bricks to London from Peterborough, assuming no return loads were available, would approximate to 9s. per ton.
First, I do not know of any commercial vehicle which can take a legal pay load of 11,000 bricks. The average weight of Peterborough bricks is nearer 21 tons per 1,000 than 2 tons 5 cwt. If we take an average of 2 tons 7 ewt., which we believe to be the rail weight per 1,000, this would be a fair average. Assuming that the vehicle referred to by you is a six-wheeled articulated type, the average unladen weight of which is 9 tons, with a maximum gross weight of 19 tons, the load capacity would be 10 tons, which, on the basis of 2 tons 7 cwt. per 1,000, is 4,250 bricks per load.
Reverting to the rail rate based on 6s. 11d, per ton, with a weight of 2 tons 7 cwt. per 1,000, this would represent a rail cost of 16s. 3d. to the London siding. Bricks could not profitably be handled and hauled from rail siding to site at less than 4s. per 1,000, which would bring the total cost for the haulage of bricks by rail from Peterborough to the site in the London area to £1 Os. 3d. per 1,000.
In dispute of the statement that it is not possible to compete with the railways on the basis of cost for the haulage of large quantities of bricks, we would state that the Multiwheeler can take a legal pay load of B28 151 tons, and this is about equivalent to 6,000 bricks.
Assuming that the multiple-trailer system is adopted for loading, the vehicle, with two drivers, can complete 11 journeys per week; say 2,000 miles, which, on the basis of 6,600 bricks per' journey at 71d. per mile, would mean a cost of 17s. 2.6d. per 1,000 bricks, 'which rate is considerably below the railway rate quoted (Os. 11d. per ton plus 4s. per 1,000 from railhead, equal to £1 Os. 3d. delivered to site) and leaves a fair margin of profit for the road haulier. Thus, assuming that the contract was taken at rail rate with two power units and four load-carrying units with two drivers per power unit, the cost would be £125 per week and the revenue £147 Os. 3d. per week.
You will notice that we have used your figure of 71d. per mile operating costs in arriving at the above figure. This is in excess of the actual figure of 6.81d. per mile which has been arrived at by operating Multiwheelers upon this class of work with multiple trailers. The tax increase on January .1, 1934, would mean an additional cost per mile of .18d.
CHAS. J. 0. Boucion, Managing Director, London, S.W.1. For Multiwheelers, Ltd.
[The figure of 11,000 bricks should have 'read 11 tons. Ths example quoted of the use of a Multi-wheeler for brick haulage is on excellent instance of the old saying "An
exception which proves the general rule." Under the conditions cited by Mr. Boucher it would be possible to haul bricks at railway rates and show a saving.—S.T.R.1
Should Councils Combine to Pay for an Appeal ?
The Editor THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
140751 Sir,—in your issue for April 28, under "News of Municipal Activities," you refer to an action issued by the Battersea Borough Council against my company, which was heard at the Wandsworth county court and wherein we were awarded judgment, with costs. You then refer to the fact that the plaintiff borough has given notiee of appeal and you state that it proposes to ask the various borough councils in London to contribute towards the cost of ,the same, in view of the importance of the ease to local authorities.
On behalf of my company I wish to make a public _protest against the Battersea Borough Council endeavouring to enlist the combined finances of London's municipalities to fight us, after we have defeated the council in the lower court.
The principle involved is a matter of vital importance to the individual haulier throughout the country, and although I am unable to comment on the facts in _this case, owing to the appending appeal, I would submit that the principle which the plaintiff has raised may have far-reaching effects and, possibly, unforeseen re action. FRANK: F. FOWLER, Managing Direetor, Frank F. Fowler, Ltd. London, S.W.18.
R.H.A. Effort to Obtain Amendmentsin the Bill.
The Editor, THE COMPrIF.RCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—I observe in your issue of May 12 that I am reported to have stated at the recent dinner of the Derbyshire Section of the Road Haulage Association that the Association was largely responsible for the framing of the present Bill in order to prevent a measure being forced upon the industry which would have been unworkable.
. The above statement is obviously a reporter's error. I stated that the founders of the Road Haulage Association, three years ago, advocated the same policy which the Association has since pursued, as to the licensing of haulage contractors, and indicated that the Road Haulage Association is co-operating with other bodies in seeking to obtain amendments to the present Road and Rail Traffic Bill in an endeavour to prevent a Bill being placed on the Statute book which would be unworkable from a road haulier's point of view.
Birmingham. A. W. GUPWELL.