OPINIONS FROM OTHERS.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
The Xditor invites correspondence on all subjects connected with the use of commercial motors. Letters should be on one side of the paper only and typewritten by preference. The riyht of abbreviation is reserved, and no responsibility for views expressed is accepted.
Possible Use for War Office Lorries.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—I presume it has occurred to you, but, on the off-chance thii4 it has not, it seems to me that there is a possibility of relieving some of the seeming anxiety on the part of motor manufacturers and traders concerning the injury that the trade may sustain if numbers of War Office lorries arc thrown on the home markets, by suggesting that the various Government Departments that can use motor lorries should be compelled' to take these over. I have in mind particularly the Post Office Department which throughout the expanse of the country could use great numbers of petrol lorries both for the transport and distribution of mail matter in the large cities and the handling of parcels post in the rural districts. If the Post Office Department were inclined to develop the parcels post business between farmer and consumer a very large quantity of foodstuffs could be brought immediately from railway to consumer, thereby cutting out at least one middleman's profit, if not two or more, which would naturally result in better prices to the farmer and lower prices to the consumer.
I believe that where the Post Office Department is now using motor transport, it is on a contract basis, and it seems reasonable that if a contractor can profitably undertake this work, there is every reason why the Government should use its own equipment. I have no doubt there are other Government Departments that could be shown how to use motor lorries to a lesser degree, but, with equal economy, Iam sure that such vehicles as were employed in this way would be a great relief to the motor industry at large.—Yours faithfully,
GENERAL VEHICLE CO., LTD.
pp. E. W. CURTIS, JNR.
Motor Haulage and Railway Rates.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sire—In reference to the letter from "Motor Haulage Contractor," in your issue of 9th January, I would like to point out that his use of sarcasm does not tend to prove his side of the question or make it stronger. It rather suggests that argument having failed his only alternative is to use sarcasm.
However, with regard to the body of his letter, there was -certainly no misquoting from his previous article, and my "causes of failure" were certainly to the point. Moreover, he fails to accept the fact that I. too, am interested in motor haulage. If he communicates with any of the haulage contractors in Preston, Blackburn., Damen. or Manchester, he will find they (if inclined to talk on their profits—be must, of course, take his chance of this) will bear me out that they are able quite easily to compete with railway transport and to make a useful profit.
:Even if they were not able to compete on price there are many firms who prefer to pay a little more to the motor haulage contractor to ensure speed in delivery, efficiency and reliability, which are certainly not present in railway4transport. I certainly give successful haulage contractors "credit for business capacity,Lbut,the man who cannot make haulage pay, even when handicapped by war troubles, evidently does not show much business capacity.
I still maintain, as in my previous letter, that subsidization is more necessary in road reconstruction, which Will call for a huge expenditure to make roads sufficiently strong to stand the wear and tear of heavy motor haulage. With regard to the rise in costs, your correspondent has, evidently, been buying in a very dear market ; with the exception, of the items, petrol and new vehicles, he is certainly well on the top side. As a last word, his criticism of the Chamber of Conamerco is most uncalled for.
The Manchester Chamber of Commerce, during the period July to December, 1917, found 2250 tons of back loads for carriers, and from January to August,. 1918, 12,530 tons—over five-fold. Such a system is certain to -economize transport, and also being in touch with both carrier and user, is tho means of finding many back loads which would otherwise fall to the railway. "Motor Haulage Contractor" will probably find he can well afford the 5 per cent. commission from the prices charged by the Chamber of Commerce. I would advise him to become enrolled as a haulage contractor with some such institution.—Yours faith fully, LANCASTRIAN.,
Haulage Contractors' Rates.
The Editor, -THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—We hope you will permit us to call your attention to a few discrepancies which appear in your issue of 2nd January, in your "Answers to Queries" page' (reply 4451). tou give, in your schedule of charges for a 8-ton lorry, a figure of £4 10s. daily or 224 15s a week.' These rates are considerably below, those prevailing at the present moment, and we are sure' you will appreciate the harm that will be done in encouraging beginners to quote below prevailing rates.
With regard to your running costs, you give petrol at 4.8d, per mile. The present price of petrol is in. the neighbourhood of 3s. per gallon, and, on all-round work, the user is very fortunate if he can average six miles to the gallon. We should be very happy if we could reduce our petrol costs to the figure you mention.
On the other band, you quote tyres at 2.25d. per mile. Even taking the guaranteed mileage at 10,000, this works out at over 190 a set for tyres. Half that figure should reasonably cover the cost of tyres. -We would also suggest that your figure or maintenance loaves considerable margin for doubt, and it is only with the utmost economy and fortunate running that the cost can be cut down to your figure, and should the vehicle be second-hand and require extensive annual overhaul, the cost would come out at considerably more.
We are also of the opinion that you deal rather lightly with the costs other than running, such as garage, insuYance, depreciation, drivers' wages, and other incidental charges peculiar to the business.
' We have noticed on other occasions that the facts and figures you give as running costs are open to criticism and we feel sure that you will not resent our calling your attention to these facts. As you will no doubt appreciate, our figures are based on a considerable number of years' running of a large fleet of lorries of many males.—Yours faithfully,
COMMERCIAL CAR HIRERS, LTD.
J. C. MOTH, Secretary.
[We have reason for knowing that the rates given are those which are largely in force throughout the country for the work stated. We would remind our correspondent that empty as well as loaded running is covered. The cost of fuel per mile is obviously directly dependent on two factors—the mileage -per gallon and the price of the fuel. Eight miles per gallon is pretty generally achieved by careful drivers. Our original inquirer wongd be a private owner, and would be likely to accomplish this at least. Actually, taking eight miles per gallon, and the present price of No. 2 spirit to commercial users, namely, 2s. 101d. the fuel cost per mile would be 4.6d. We note that Commercial Car Hirers, Ltd., take as their basis such a high price as 3s. a gallon for petrol, . but it is within our knowledge that most large users in London are obtaining their petrol at prices very considerably below this.
The figure for tyres is intended to cover full list prices, and also to make an allowance for more frequent replacement for tyres than at 10,000 miles interval. As our correspondent is in a provincial district where roads are not good, there would on that account be additional expense in respect of tyre removal and replacement. As regards maintenance figures, those which we gave are based on actual ascertained costs, acquired from a large_number of users and extending over a period of years. They have, of course, been brought pp-to-date in accordance with increased war-time charges. We dealt in the manner we did with the overhead charges because of the special circumstances of our original inquires; Our own figures are based on a great number of years experience of the running of many fleets of lorries, both large and small, and also of a great variety of makes.—En., "C.M."]
Army Drivers and the Disposal of Army Lorries.
 Sir,—Re the disposal of Army cars and lorries, I should like to suggest that the men who have joined the forces should have the opportunity given them of buying one or more of the surplus vehicles at a low figure. I have no doubt there are many who, like myself, joined up early in the war and, having no one to leave in charge of the business, had to sell the vehicles at the low prices then prevailing for second-hand machines. Nom that demobilization is in sight, we are naturally thinking of commencing business again, but in the interval of our service the prices of vehicles have risen so con, siderably that it will be a severe handicap to us unless' the Government can see their way clear to dispose of some of the surplus vehicles in the way I suggest., The opinion of other military readers would be welcom —Yours faithfully, Foun Ynaas M.T., A.S.C.