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Passenger-Vehicle Topics.

25th April 1912, Page 8
25th April 1912
Page 8
Page 9
Page 8, 25th April 1912 — Passenger-Vehicle Topics.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

London cabdrivers are expressing dissatisfaction atthe rumoured long-distance services contemplated this summer by the L.G.O.C. It is rumoured that a B-type will take a load from London to Windsor for 3s. ed. return fare.

London and Provincial Motor Carriers, Ltd., is running a number of Unie cab chassis with van bodies for commercial purposes. Several owner-drivers also garage at this company's premises at Fitzalan Street, formerly occupied by the Miller-Lancaster Co.

The management of the British Motor Cab Co., Ltd., recently was asked by a driver to supply him with a new tunic. By the finding of the Board of Arbitration a new tunic is to be supplied every 18 months. The period in this case had not expired. The applicant was referred to the Board of Trade.

Dennis Passenger Vehicles.

Quite recently, Dennis Bros., Ltd., of Guildford, has dispatched two ten-seated, 18 h.p. omnibuses, the bodywork being convertible to take two stretchers and an attendant, and one 16-seated, 28 h.p. omnibus, to the Metropolitan Asylums Board, bringing the total fleet of Dennis ambulances owned by this body up to well over 50 vehicles, and a van type of ambulance, to take two stretchers and an attendant, and convertible into a six-seated omnibus, to the West Ham Guardians (repeat order).

On Friday of last week the Benevolent Branch of the Cabdrivers' Union held its first annual boxing entertainm:mt.

Special Newspaper Service.

On Thursday morning last at 5 o'clock the " Daily Express" chartered a fleet of 30 taxicabs from die General Motor Cab Co., Ltd., to take their papers, which it was anticipated would contain exclusive cq,bles with reference to the loss of the " Titanic." This was in addition to the Charron cars in daily service, one of which goes to Bath and Bristol and another to Gloucester for the " Evening Standard." L.C.C. and Local Veto upon Tramway Schemes.

A -determined effort, by the L.C.C. to obtain Parliamentary sanction tor its own views, as opposed to those of the borough council concerned, with reference to the use of overhead equipment in piaciof the conduit system in Stepney, was defeated in the House of Commons, on Monday last, on the motion of Mr. Lawson, the member for the Mile-End division, by 141 votes to 39. The L.C.C. professes to be astonished at the result, but it had under-estimated the strength of London opinion.

London Traffic Rivals.

The L.C.C. tramway receipts, for the week ended the 10th inst.. were 246,431, compared with 141,322 for the corresponding week of 1911 • the L.G.O.C. receipts, for the wee ended the 20th inst., were 251,803, compared with 240.109 for the corresponding week of 1911. The L.C.O. gain is 25,109, whilstthat of the L.G.O.C. is S;11,694.

Motorbus Service for Birmingham.

The Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co., Ltd., has now completed arrangements for the inauguration of a motorbus service from Birmingham to Harborne, some three to four miles in length, to replace the existing horse-bus service running out of New Street,

Parliamentary powers have recently been sought by the Birmingham Corporation to extend their tram service in two directions [We give a detailed account elsewhere in this issue.—Era], one of which is the route mentioned above ; the Bill only passed the Commons in part, the Harborne scheme being thrown out, while the Hagley Road portion passed this stage, although it has yet to receive endorsement by the House of Lords. In the event, however, of the latter rejecting even this portion of the Bill, the Omnibus Company is prepared to put on a service for the Hagley route also, an understanding having been come to by it with the Corporation, who are prepared to license satisfactory vehicles to that end. In any case, however, an initial order for 20 Steven-Tilling petrol-electric buses has been placed to provide for the Harborne route, the demonstration vehicle being expected in thedistrict before the end of the present month. The development of the motor ()melbas as a means of transit was frequently referred to in the course of the hearing of evidence on the Birmingham Corporation Bill before a House Of Commons Select Committee, last week. The Bill asked for Parliamentary sanction to the construction of tramways and street improvements and other powers. The tontentions clauses were those relating to a proposed extension of the city tramways to Harborne, and opposition was here offered hy the London and. North-Western and Harborne Railway Clompanies, who were supported by petitions from inhabitants, owners and ratepayers of Edgbaston and Harborne, who contended that the introduction of tramwa:ss would depreciate property and alter the character of the neighbourhood. The suggestion of one part of the opposition was that if additional means of transit were required those additional means would be better obtained by motor cmnibuses than by iti1111ways, and various witnesses were closely cross-examined for the purpose of emphasizing that suggestion.

Tn opening the case for the promoters of the Bill on Tuesday (16th April) Mr. Lloyd, K.C., contended that the present menns of transit to Harborne and Edgbaston to the city were s inadequate, and the railway fi0 unsatisfactory, that the majority of residents walked or cycled. Three-horsed omnibuses, with a five minutes service, were not a satisfactory means of providing for the traffic.

The first reference to the motor omnibus was during the examination-in-chief of Alderman Beale, a member of the Birmingham Tramway Committee, who while admitting that motor omnibuses were improving, and might in the future lei better on the Hagley Road, contended that they had not, been satisfactory in the past, while, even if more efficient. they would not fit in with the general system of traffic. They could not on the Hagley Road render an good a service as tramways. To put sufficient motorbuses_on the road to be equivalent to a good tramway service would be to cause ccmgestion at, the bottom of Broad Street, Birmingham. While he had no prejudice against them, he would not be in favour of the municipality taking over motorbuses. During the second days proceedings, Mr. Travers Edge, of Edebastc.n, a solicitor, thought it possible that. a few houses ia Harberne and Bagley reads would be depreciated in value, but some compensation would be obtained. because a large number of motorcyclists, who were a great Inds:awe. would lei driven off the roads by the tramwa.ys and compelled to use side roads. The manager of the Capital and Counties Bank, Birmingham, objected to motorbuses on account of dust.

The respective advantages of a motorbus service and a tram service were the eubject of the cross-examination of Ar. Henry Edward Stilgoe, city surveyor for Birmingham, on Thursday. In answer to Mr. Jeeves, who said the suggestion had been made that motorbuses would provide Adequate means of transit on the Harborne route, witness replied that the roads were macadamized, and in two portions had severe gradients, and in their present condition were not adapted for motorbus traffic. The only motorbuses they had had in Birmingham had been taken off the route.

Mr. Hutchinson, K.C. "Do you know that the trams in the neighbourhood of London are experiencing the most sevens competition at the present. time from motorbuses? " "I doubt that, where the roads are not fit for buses."

" What do you call riot. fit? "

" 3racadam made with steep gradients." "I will put. it generally, that where the motorbus traffic has beee developed there are motorbuses running successfully on macadamized roads with gradients just as severe as they :ire here, and they are in serious competition with the trams the same routes."

" Well, I ant of the opinion that the upkeep of the roads and the buses would be very heavy." " I will again put it as a general proposition : so severe is the competition that a well-known tramway company is adopting motor omnibuses in the hope of killing that competition? " " I am interested to hear that ; but I do not know anything about it."

3fr. Joy cross-examined witness 4.)11 a statement that in places where the roads were narrow, within certain limits, it was better to have double seta of lines than single, because in the former case they had what might be called more "pliable" traffic. Mr. Joy suggested that the motorbus carried the theory out to perfection, but witness could not agree to the proposition. Mr. Joy again urged that if motorbuses were adopted. the widening of streets, rendered necessary if the tramwave were constructed, would be avoided, hut witness again dissented He questioned whether the Watch Committes would license motorbuses for the route. Mr. Alfred Dickenson said while it, was physically possible to use motorbuses on the route, itwould not he poseible, in his opinion, to give the same service, and the same facilities, at the same fares as you'd be given by an overhead tram system. Personally he would prefer the tram to the bee, but he also preferred' a tram to a motorcycle. (Hear, hear.) The working cost cif motorbuses in London was 8d. per mile, and the carrying capacity was 34. The carrying capacity of the tramcars proposed for Birmingham was 56. Upon statistics published by the Corporation the average number of paesengere carried by a motnrbus in Birmingham would be 7.40; and the average revenue per electric car mile in Birmingham was 11.58d. litst year. Last year the average distance of a Id. fare on the trams was ai miles. For a motorbus the traffic receipts wculd be short of the expenditure on working on that basis by at least 6d. per mile. But those figures were based ou Lundon fun res, and in Birmingham the cost of running a bus would be greater. Tire charges would for instance be greater. He thought it would be fair to say that the only way in which motorbuses could succeed would be by giving an inadequate {service and crowding the. buses, and they would not then be able to deal with the traffic in hours of necessity.

Crees-examined, witness would not agree that the trams would he more of an obstruction than motorbuses.

Mr. Joy, quoting from a loard of Trade Blue Bock, said : " The ratio of obstruction ' of various vehicles was givevi as follows : electric tramcar, 10; ordinary bus, 5; motorbus, 3 horse cab, 2; motorcab, 1." He also urged that whereas motorbuses were being developed and improved and the cost of running was being reduced, the tramcars had reached the point below which the working cost would not fall. in opening the case for the opposition on behalf of Harborne petitioners, 31r. Joy, referring to 1907, when a similar proposal to the present Bill was thrown out by the Committee, said the only change in the conditions was that to-day we had a much improved type of motorbus. He urged that the inhabitante should be given an opportunity of trying the modern motorbus. lii conclusion he summed up his argumente by stating four reasons for not passing the Bill: (1) Thar. motorbuses were infinitely safer, more convenient, and preferable to trams. beeamse there was no necessity to lay down rails ; (2) when the development of the district, showed that a different. meant; of access was required, then a motorbus route could be easily diverted to meet the requirements; (3) in a narrow road A motorbus was better than a tramcar ; (4) the amenities of the " old village of Harborne " would not be destroyed.

The e.nnsideration of the Bill came to a sudden termination on Friday. The Committee announced that while they thought improved means of communication between Harborne and Quinton and the centre of Birmingham were necessary, the proposed route through Harborne should be struck out of the Bill. Regarding the IIagley Road route the Committee were inclined to sanction the proposals, het the opposition intimated that, not desiring to prolong the proceedings, they would oppose the Hagley Road route in the Hciuee of Lords. There is no opposition to other proposed tramways. Sir Oliver Lodge, F.R.S., and Cal. Crompton, CB., were the experts for the opposition.

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