AN ANALYSIS OF MUNICIPAL BUS SERVICES.
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Authentic Details of the Bus Activities of the Most Important Local Authorities with Particulars of the Composition of the Respective Fleets.
AN outstanding phase in the history of the road transport industry during the past few years has been the remarkable development in the use of motor vehicles for passenger-carrying Purposes, and to-day the whole of the country (with the possible exception of a few isolated areas which are •difficult of approach on account of their configuration) is literally honeycombed with motorbus services. Private enterprise, quite naturally, plays a big
pert in the operation of these services, but progressive municipalities which are not wholly wedded to the tramway system are recognizing to an ever-increasing extent that nowadays the very existence of a municipal passenger transport organization hangs on the adoption and extended use of up-to-date rolling stock-in other words that motorbuses or trolley-bases are a necessity.
If tramways managers or other municipal offieials have any doubt on this point we would persuade them to make a careful study of the accompanying analysis of municipal bus services we have compiled from official information obtained from almost all the im
portant corporation-s • in England, -Scotland and Wales, which have exercised the bus powers granted VI them. Furthermore, if they wish to secure an impression of the esteem in which motorbuses are held by local authorities and of the useful work they are performing, as -well as to obtain an idea of the type of vehicle which is best suited for operation in districts where known factors exist, they will do well to follow this article to the end, inasmuch as the facts and figures which it contains are based on authentic information.
. The ABERDARE URBAN DISTRICT Colmar, obtained powers to run buses by Acts of 1911 and 1915, and the eight vehicles which it runs at present are all built for one-man control. The council has on order throe Bristol buses, two of. which are 32-seaters arranged for operation by one or two men, according to . traffic exigencies. The buses have been found most useful for operation is thinly populated areas and for connecting adjoining districts with Aberdare. . '
That the ABERDEEN CORPORATION has proved the value of motorbuses is indicated by the size of its present fleet and the fact that the purchase a a further 10 buses has recently been recommended.
The petrol buses of the ASHTONONDER-LYNE CORPORATION are one-man operated, but its trolley-buses have motorman and a conductor. The former are used partly as feeders to the tramways system and partly as a connecting link with the surrounding boroughs on routes where the traffic is light. The trolley-bus sttrvice is run along a ronte hitherto operated by tratnears, and the vehicles are carrying as many passengers as did the ears.
The BEDWAS AND MACHEN URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL is running a has service from Caerphilly to Machen, at which place a connection is made with the vehicles run by Messrs. T. Beavis to Newport. The route so far as Machen is suitable for working by heavy, slow-type buses, but, thence to Newport fast pneumatie-tyred vehicles are best, for this portion of the route is through less-populated districts than the first section. The distance between Caerphilly and Newport is about 12. miles, and Mr. H. F. 1E. Gibson, A.M.Ins.t.C,E,-.A.M.I.Alech.E., believes that -there is a future for an hourly service on this route.
Of the total fleet of buses run by the BIRMINGHAM CORPORATION, the 16 trolley-buses and 119 petrol-propelled vehicles have covered-top, double-decker bodies, whilst the two six-wheelers and 28 other petrol buses are shod with pneumatic tyres, the others having cushion tyres. At a meeting of. the lrainwayS
committee last week it was decided to purchase 30 new buses.
The bus fleet of the BLACKPOOL CORPORATION • will comprise 54 vehicles when six new buses are brought into use in July next. The passengers carried during the year ended March 31st last exceeded the five-million mark. and it is estimated that in the current year the figure will approach 10 millions. The number of local services operated is 12, and the total route mileage 34. The buses are operated over routes not served by the tramways and are run within and without the borough for a distance not exceeding a radius of six miles. The corporation has recently purchased _a central property, which is being developed as a bus station for housing up to 200 buses. The bodies 01; the S.D. Freighters run by the BOURNEMOUTH CORPORATION are of the saloon type and those on the 16seater Guys of the toast-rack pattern, both types of vehicle having been evolved for running specially on the Undereliff Drive, where the speed is limited to 8 m.p.h.
Although the Bray CORPORATION runs five buses only at the present time, it has a Bill before Parliament in Which further bus powers are sought and, if the application is successful, the services will be considerably extended.
In addition to a number of Dennis buses forming a big part of its existine: flret, the CARDIFF CORPORATION will shortly take delivery of a further .six 32-seaters of this make, the maker's F.:type chassis being the basis of these vehicles. The fleet is made up of singledeckers and double-deekers, two of the latter haring covered tops.
Coventry is principally an industrial city and the buses crossing the centre of the town are required to deal with heavy volume of traffic during the rush -periods of the day. For this purpose the COVENTRY CORPORATION uses buses of large-seating capacity, but for the outlying districts, where the traffic is comparatively light, one-man-operated vehicles are used and are very popular. The special feature of the latter is the near-side door, which: can be used for loading and unloading when a coil
duetor is employed. The door will swing either nwards or outwards and is kept closed when the vehicle is in charge of a driver only, but it can be opened from the outside or inside of the bus in emergency.
Apart from the vehicles referred to in Our analysis, the DOUGLAS (ISLE OF MAN) CORPORATION; has four 33-seater Tilling-Stevens petrol-electric buses of the forward-control pattern on order.
'An article published, elsewhere in this issue . deals very fully with the passenger-vehicle services maintained by the EDINBURGH 'CORPORATION. The bus services in this important Scottish city are steadily increasing and up to May 16th the capacity expenditure on buses and garages was £226.835, of which £193,106 has been paid off.
HUDDERSFIELD CORPORATION is 110W operating motorbuses on 10 different routes from the centre of the town and further extensions are being considered. It is the opinion of the general manager of the tramways department that for dealing with light traffic the motorbus is more efficient than the tramcar. Considerable additions are being made to the bus fleet of the Hint CORPORA'rum, and seven vehicles are at present on order, these beingtwo Bristol covered-top double-deckers, two Leylands of the same type, a Guy sixwheeled covered-top vehicle and two Leyland saloons.
The value of both trolley-buses and petrol-propelled buses has been clearly demonstrated to the KEICHLEY" CORPORATION, which uses almost an equal number of each type of vehicle. Three. new buses are on order. The first three weeks of the present financial year have shown that as compared with a „similar . period of last year the petrol buses have carried an additional 35,600. passengers, aed the trolley-buses 6,860 more passengers.
KILMARNOCK CORPORATION is augmenting its fleet of buses by the purchase of two Thornyerofts and an Albion' the bodies of which are being built by. the Northern Counties and En gineering Co., Ltd. In these vehicles the dame class of seating used on the usual type tramcar will be employed, the authorities believing that this layout gives the conductor greater freedom of action when collecting fares and facilitates passengers' movements.
Metorbis traffic in Lincoln has developed very rapidly. It is only six years ago that bus services were started in the city, and .as a result of the developments which have taken place the LINCOLN CORPORATION has purchased E. fine site in the centre of the city on which it proposes to build a large municipal garage, providing accommodation for 70 buses, together with offices, workshops, messrooms, etc.
During the course of the next few weeks the LIVERPOOL CORPORATION will take .delivery of eight 70-seater sixwheelers with covered-top double-deck bodies and nine 40-seater single-deck six-wheelers, which will take the place of some of the older types of vehicle now in use. Some of the bodies are being built by the tramways department. , The corporation bus services in Liverpool act as feeders to the tramways system and connect the outlying • suburban tramway termini.
Buses have undoubtedly assisted very materially in developing the district," is• the view of Mr. H. W. Laing, M.Inst.T., the general manager of the tramways department of the LintAm ST. ANNES CORPORATION. The vehicles run on routes hitherto unserved by any form of transport, and building operations have followed the advent of the • buses. There is evety possibility of the bus services in Lytham St. Annes being extended.
The MANCHESTER CORPORATION has 30 new 32-seater buses on order, divided between those of Associated Daimler and Bristol makes ; six-cylinder sleeve valve engines will be used in the former. Mr. Henry Mathison, A.M.Inst.C.E., the general manager of the tramways undertaking, regards the motorbus as an extremely useful auxiliary to the fixedline system and for the purpose of effecting interconnection between extreme points.
The bus system in the Meethyr Tydfil district is an obvious necessity, because, in 'addition to the population in the valley, there is a large number of people . residing in the hilly areas where no other form of transport could reach them. Furthermore, it is scattered and no other method would prove possible economically. The tramways system in the district is fighting against overC40 ' whelming, difficulties and sOhner or later will be superseded by buses. This is the view of Mr. D. F. Adey, A.M.I.M.E., the omnibus superintendent of the MERTHYR CORPORATION, who foresees a further extension of the use of buses as the mining population begins to work ' in districts outside the borough where quantities of virgin coal are thought' to abound.
The buses run by the NELSON CORPORATION are used on purely local town services and, comenencing in September, 1923, the services have been gradually extended until they cover all the out lying districts. The routes radiate from a common terminus.
The NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE CORPORATION finds that the great value of buses, running in 'conjunction with the tramways system, is their flexibility of application to outlying country routes and thinly-populated routes in the city.
• From a bus point of view, the activities of the NEWPORT CORPORATION are very restricted, because an Act of Parliament limits the distance to which the buses. can run ' from the borough, boundary. to approximately two miles. Buses are mainly utilized for town traffic over hilly districts.
OLDHAM CORPORATION has adopted six-wheeled buses extensively, and these vehicles have shown a parked diminution in vibration when running over the stone setts peculiar to the district.
Motorbuses were first put into operation in Plymouth in 1920, and all the earlier types of vehicle have been replaced by pneunlatic-tyred machines, the smaller vehicles being of the oneman-operated type. The buses are only
used for developing areas not already served, but additional facilities required. in districts already served by the tramcars are being provided by overlapping eervices, of buses. By building its own bodies, PLyziourit COR.PORATION is able to secure particularly lightweight construction, the .26seater bodies, when complete with full equipm,ent, weighing just under-1 ton.
It ls likely that the RAWTENSTALL CORPORATION will• gradually abandon the tramways system in favour of motorbuses as the track wears out.
Due to the peculiar shape and geographical location of Muth Shields, there is little prospect of the bus services being extended in the borough. The SMITH SHIELDS COVORATION operates three services, and when the new coast road which is being constructed from South Shields is completed it is possible that a further ser vice will be instituted, • The general policy of the WALSALL CORPORATION is to replace single-line and loop tramways with motorbus services as the former reach the end of their period of economic life. As a result of the heavy traffic carried over the double-track part of the tramway system. the .general manager does not think that the time has yet arrived when the tramcars can be replaced on these sections by motorbuses.
After experimenting on two short routes with trolley-buses in place of tramcars, WEST IIARTLEPOOL CORPORATION has changed over entirely to the operation of the former type of vehicle, and the last tramcar was rtvi into the sheds in March last.