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1st April 1924, Page 30
1st April 1924
Page 30
Page 31
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Part Played by a Pioneer Passenger Vehicle Concern in the Development of Regular and Efficient Services.

THE ROMANCE of .motoring in the Stirling district is one of the most remarkable episodes in the recent history of Central Scotland. It began many years ago, when the oldhoreed tramcars running between :Bridge of Allan and Stirling had become such an eyesore that the company running them sought :to • improve the vehicles by adapting them to be used with motor engines. One of their best vehicles was chosen for the initial experiment, and With a: second-hand motor engine. the rejuvenated car was started on its aventful career. From the outset it proved a failure. Whether the vehicle did not suit the engine, or the engine did not suit the vehicle, it is hard to say,but certain it is that not a day passed without the antiquated turnout being subject to breakdown. Passengers accordingly gave -it awide berth, for they were never sure of getting to their destinations without unconscionable delays and other irritat

ing experiences. .

.Towards the middle of the war s, change came over the passenger travel movement in the Stirling district. A few motor coaches were introduced by certain local companies, and these secured. patronage for summer excurtions and other special runs.

-From the earliest days of motor travel it was obvious that the public would :Tippreciate the iostitution of a good motor service, and, in the course of a year or two, the Scottish General Omni'ens Co.. Ltd., began their operations with a splendid fleet of buses, which plied regularly between Bridge of Allan and Bannockburn by way of Stirling

and St. Ninians. This service ran in direct opposition to the horsed tramcars, the doom of which they ultimately sealed. The new vehicles were large and well ventilated, and their interior equipment gave no cause for complaint to the most fastidious passenger.

The vehicles were well patronized, with the result that the stuffy tramcars were seldom loaded to capacity, and as the buses became better known they secured more than three-quarters of the available traffic. At length the old Unprogressive tramcar company was forced into voluntary liquidation, and within two years of the advent of the motorbus the rails were actually removed.! Thus vanished the last horsed tramcars in existence, with the possible exception of those in use at Port Said When first they started their fine system of motorbuses, the Scottish General Omnibus Co. had to cope with two formidable factors. They were faced. with somewhat strenuous competition from another company, that ran vehicles over exactly the same route. This organisation was well financed and well planned, and for some time it seemed doubtful which of the two undertakings would secure the victory in the struggle for precedence. However, the Scottish General Co. began to forge ahead very perceptibly, and before many months had passed the issue became a certainty and the other company decided to retire from this particular field of activity. The, other disturbing element in the way of rapid progress was the unsatisfactory state of the roads along the line of route. The buses could not be driven at a reasonable rate of speed without considerable discomfort to passengers and at some risk to the conveyances

themselves. However, short sections of the thoroughfare were duly improved, and -to-day every portion of the road between Bridge of Allan and Bannockburn is laid with the finest asphaltemost of it Lake Trinidad—and it may be described as one of the finest stretches of road in the country; cetainly .it not surpassed in Scotland, and probably not equalled.

From sinall beginnings the services of the Scottish General Omnibus .Co. have extended until they now .cover a large

portion of Central Scotland. In thu. course of the development of the service, the first place off the mains road to be tapped was Alloa, miles from Stirling. Other places that were linked up in quick succession were Alva and Tillicoultry, Fallin, Cambusbarron, Denny and other localities. In those days the traffic between most of these places and Stirling was slight, but now many hundreds of people travel daily in each direction between the various centres and the county town. The latest boroughs to be linked up are Larbert, . Falkirk and Linlithgow, the last-mentioned being nearly 20 miles from Stirling and affording a well-arranged connection with the buses run from Edinburgh.

The moving spirit of the Scottish General Omnibus Co., Ltd., is Mr. D. Hays, who is general manager and also one of the directors. of the company. He has a profound knowledge of traffic• superintendence, and has been responsible for the affairs of the company being brought to a high state of efficiency. He has an intimate knowledge of the requirements of the districts in which the company's vehicles run. When he first took over the reins of office the company's organimation was not of the hest and the buses did not run to a definite schedule, racing between rival vehicles being of frequent occurrence. Mr. Hays changed this condition of things as with the stroke of the pen, and punctuality is now a distinguishing feature of the buses run by the Scottish General Co. The company now publish a time-table at regular intervals, which is offered for sale in many of the shops on the various routes. This booklet extends to about 120 pages and is entirely -31aken up with details of the

company's activities, an explanatory map of the district always being included amongst its Contents. At all the principal stopping places on the various routes a card, framed in an artistic iron stand, which is glazed and enamelled, and containing a summary of many of the figures in the time-table, is placed.

The number of vehicles run by the company exceeds three score, and they are all of modern type. The mechanical condition of the chassis and the appearance and condition of the bodies are so maintained that delays or breakdowns are seldom recorded, and, as a matter of fact, the town councils of the various boroughs served . by the company's vehicles often speak in the highest terms of the efficiency of the vehicles and the organization behind them.

So much for the work of the all-theyear-round services of the Scottish General Omnibus Co., Ltd. Their summer and autumn programmes are not a, whit less elaborate and satisfactory.. The directors have mapped out a

her of interesting tours in Central Scotland, and these are well advertised both locally and throughout the country. Most of these tours are run daily for the whole season, and embrace many of the beauty spots and places of interest in the counties of Stirling, Lin lithgaw, Perth and Dumbarton, thus covering a very large area.

As with the regular services, punctuality in starting and returning is always observed in connection with the tours. We are informed that the company are to develop this side of their activities during the forthcoming summer, and they intend to provide visitore and holiday-makers with a wide choice of attractive tours. A number of new passenger-carrying vehicles, both motor coaches and motorbuses, will be put into service, and extensive additions to their large garages at Larbert and other centres are being made in order to accommodate the new vehicles.

One side of the company's business is concernedwith the hiring-out of coaches and ether vehicles for the use of private parties, and, needless to say, this is by no means the least popular, for the true Scot throughly appreciates the beauties of his native land, although, naturally, a fair proportion of the. travellers are of other nationalities.

The relations between Mr. Hays and his staff are of the most cordial nature, and once or twice a year he meets them in a social capacity and entertains them and their friends to a supper and dance at one of .the leading hotels in the district. This relaxation is not permitted to interfere, however, with the admirable,' discipline observed throughout every department of the service.

: There are One or two other small con-Tulles which run a few buses locally in their respective districts. In BannoCkburn, for example, -Messrs. Penman and Messrs. Forsyth run several. buses, and their vehicles seem to be very _ popular amongst some sections of the travelling public.


People: D. Hays
Locations: Perth, Dumbarton, Edinburgh

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