OPINIONS and QUERIES
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PROVIDING THE PUBLIC WITH ROAD-TRAVEL FACILITIES.
[46141 In your issue dated August 9 you publish a warning given by the Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner to express-carriage operators, regarding the need for them to cater fully for the public in their district, and not to limit accommodation by accepting more remunerative work. If your report be correct, Mr. Gleeson E. Robinson has adopted an entirely new procedure for him, in that he has made no full investigation of the circumstances, and yet issues this warning. It is ray opinion that he would do better to adhere to his old practice of taking no decision on any subject without a very minute examination of the facts.
Many seasonal operators utilize their experience of many years to judge of the required facilities on any given date, and when they feel that an additional coach would be wasteful operation from the few passengers they are likely to obtain, they stop booking. That in no way means that the travelling public cannot obtain travel facilities—it only means that they have to travel by another service that still has accommodation, and their custom, being directed elsewhere, ultimately results in other coaches being well loaded, and so the Road Traffic Act objective of eliminating unnecessary trans port is achieved. That some lesser convenience is afforded them is no doubt true, but the Metropolitan Commissioner, in his review of the picking-up-point question, does not himself believe passengers should be afforded convenient transport for their own personal reasons, when there are general reasons against it.
Until a recent date my company had accommodation available on any day to carry any traffic that required transport to Thanet, and for a company that has already been brought to a very poor financial state by administration under the Road Traffic Act, it was very upsetting to have coaches not working on those Saturdays in June when private-hire rates were particularly alluring, for that money would have been extremely welcome.
If the Commissioner is to follow up this warning with any action, then all the seasonal operators will be putting on additional coaches for two or three passengers who might well be carried on my company's services, and the very object of seasonal services is to carry that bulk traffic from particular districts that offers in the season and which is not able to be catered for by the all-the-year services.
The logical outcome of this position would be not to limit the seasonal operator at all as to duplication, and then all-the-year operators would get no traffic on departures at all comparable with the seasonal services, and certainly no day-return traffic.
I do not believe that any passenger in the Metropolitan Area was deprived of road transport for lack of accommodation prior to Saturday, August 3. I hope that the Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner may be prevailed upon to resort to his old system of inquiring fully into the subject first, when I feel sure he would withdraw any allegation that may have been carried with his warning, and after which the state of affairs would continue that the latest passengers to book might have less convenient travel, but would, in being diverted to other services, result in good loads for all—the selfish motive, of course, being that my company would be included in the latter.
F. A. FLIN, Director,
for M.T. Co. (Motor Coaches), Ltd. London, S.E.4.
THE LAW CONTROLLING DRIVERS' HOURS.
 I should be grateful for advice as to the titles of the current regulations or orders under Section 19 (3) of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, and Section 79 of the same Act. H.J.B. Houghton-le-Spring.
[The following are the current Regulations regarding hours of driving, which have been made under Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, as amended by Section 7 of the Road Traffic Act, 1994 :—(1) As to drivers of public service vehicles: The Road Traffic Act, 1930 (Variation of Provisions of Section 19) Order, 1935, dated May 23, 1935. The official reference is Statutory Rules and Orders, 1935, No. 491. (2) As to drivers of commercial goods vehicles, etc.: The Road Traffic Act, 1930 (Variation of Provisions of Section 19) Order, 1934, dated November 10, 1934. Reference, Statutory Rules and Orders, 1934, No. 1186. The current Regulations under Section 79 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, are contained in the Public Service Vehicles (Licences and Certificates) Regulations, 1934, dated November 19, 1934. Reference, Statutory Rules and Orders, 1934, No. 1269.—ED.]
A CAUSE OF RATE CUTTING.
 The road transport industry should be grateful to you for giving further publicity to the question of rates. This vital subject cannot be discussed too often. , I agree with those who consider that effective volun
tary or statutory control is almost impossible. As Mr. A. G. Mack says, there are too many possible loopholes, such as hidden rebates and discounts.
Are not the prices of transport services, like other services and commodities, still governed by the old law of supply and demand? I suggest that, taking the industry as a whole, and with average conditions, depressed rates are due to an excessive supply of haulage capacity. Rates will not improve until there is a substantial reduction of surplus vehicles which, for various reasons, must be kept going at any price.
Overhead costs are so high that there is often less loss in working at a rate under cost, than in having vehicles standing idle. • This consideration is, unfortunately, frequently in the minds of many hauliers, and leads to the establishment of cut rates.
If demand be, on the whole, approximately stable, more must be done to reduce surplus supply, and thereby remove the inducement to accept uneconomic rates.
King's Lynn. FRANK BULLEN, for Giles and Bullen.
 Congratulations on your cartoon dealing with the restriction on coach passengers which is enforced at so many hotels and other places of refreshment.
May I suggest that your drawing should be reproduced in postcard form at a nominal fee. I feel quite sure that )many operators would be pleased to distribute such cards amongst their passengers, as they would certainly draw attention to the class of client whom we carry nowadays, in comparison with those transported a few years ago, There are, however, still some people who consider that we cater only for the rough and ready. This impression seems to be prevalent amongst small-car owners.
Tunbridge Wells. P. G. WARREN.
[We are glad that our cartoon was appreciated. We ourselves thought it summed up the situation concisely. Only the other day we were at a roadside restaurant, at Dunstable, where there were only two or three customers for tea. Yet when a most well-behaved coach party arrived, the members, although they had actually taken seats before being advised, were turned away. It would have done the proprietors of this particular restaurant some good to have heard the comments upon their lack of business instinct, quite apart from the downright discourtesy which was displayed. We would consider issuing postcards such as those suggested if the call were sufficiently large to justify it, but these would have to be produced from the original as published.—ED.]
OPERATING A SERVICE FOR HOTEL GUESTS.
 We have taken over a guest house accommodating 200 visitors and are desirous of running a motor coach for collecting the visitors and their baggage from the railway station and returning them. Also we contemplate running daily excursions for the sole use of our visitors.
Would you be so kind as to tell us what type of licence would be required, also whether there are special laws or regulations appertaining to this type of vehicle? SERVICE. Isle of Wight.
[We are Of the opinion that if you make -no charge of any description for the transport of visitors from the station to your hotel and back, or for running excursions, you will not require a licence from the Traffic Commissioners. If, however, you make a charge, you should apply for a stage carriage licence in connection with the service to and from the station, and for an excursions and tours licence in respect of the excursions. The South Eastern Traffic Commissioners, Gaywood House, Wood Street, London, S.W.1, are responsible for the granting of these licences. You should also obtain, if you make a charge for transport, a public service vehicle licence and a certificate of fitness in respect of the vehicle, each costing £3. The regulations concerning public service vehicles are complicated and relate to the construction of vehicles
and their use. Copies can he obtained from H.M. Stationery Office, or through any bookseller.—En.]