Our Tables of Operating Costs : The Latest Revision.
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•T"previous compilation for The Commercial Motor's Tables of Operating Costs has held good since February, 1927, and revision is now called for by reason of the fact that new contracts for fuel, and particularly for coal, are being placed at slightly better rates, whilst tyre mileages are steadily improving. Instances of great mileages covered by individual tyres or sets of tyres are often reported to us, and we use the facts, where we think advisable, for the modification cf our estimate of average mileage based upon the experience of operators in every part of the conntry. That average, however, may pever approach the -sensational occasional longevity which secures such a disturbing amount. of publicity, and we always ask operators to ignore the exceptions and to base their own charges upon the safe averages which are adonted in making out. calculations.
The framework of our Tables has now stood the test of time, for it has been employed by us for 20 years, and operators throughout the land have adopted it and, in confidence, give us their actual costs of operation, filling in the framework. The items call for little discussion or disagreement. The only divergence of opinion occurs when an operator takes the view that the item of interest on .capital. should not be included. We contend that it Cannot be excluded, because the person who invests Money in a haulage business (or, for that matter, any other business) is entitled to 5 per cent, "which .his money could earn. if Invested in a first -Class security, plus a profit for his work and for the risk he accepts in the Conduct of this business. If he borrow money for the purpose of purchasing his fleet., obviously he must charge the interest on that money to the business before he can balance his accounts or ascertain his 'profits. , • • . Every item of running cOsts—fuet, lubricants, tyres, maintenance : and . depreciation—and of standing charges—licences, wages, rent and rates, insurance and interest—has been most carefully studied in relation to each type and capacity of vehicle according to the -work it .is ,iikely to be 'called upon. to undertake, the sortof attention it will probably receive, And the quality of the supplies that will be provided for it. There is thus far more in our Tables than would meet the eye at first glance, . and for that reason we recommend readers to write to us if there should be a figure or figures with which they are inclined to disagree or cannot reconcile : we are confident that a reason satisfactory to the inquirer can be given by our experts on the subject.
The Railways and Their Weak Bridges.
THE attitude of the railway companies in the matter of the bridges carrying the highway over their property has not helped to ingratiate them with the road haulier. Under the original Railway Acts,.the companies are only required to maintain these bridges at their original strength— one of the few mistakes made by our early legislators, for they took no accouut of the possible development of traffic on the road. The Minister of Transport has admitted that he _ has no figures at his disposal to show the number of road bridges which are closed to heavy traffic because of their weakness. Nor has he the Sewer to initiate schemes for strengthening them. The most that he can do is to give "favourable consideration" to proposals from responsible highway authorities. But, if the 'sig-hway authorities regard a weak bridge on a Ante of route as a protection for their highway, compelling heavy traffic to follow some other route, there is no active influence at work to secure improvement and the removal of that which is obviously an obstruction on the highway.
If the railway companies persist in their attitude of retaining the bridges at a strength that was suitable to the conditions of 1840 they will find that there will be an extensive swing on the part of road hauliers to the 2-ton pneumatic-tyred vehicle, which will be able to travel faster and will be a more serious competitor for the railways for all short and medium-distance traffic. There is already a substantial turnover in the direction of the lighter vehicle: