Picking-up Principle in London Threatened
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Metropolitan Licensing Authority Rejects Application for Second London Picking up Point : Denies Preference for One Operator 1-1. A SUBMISSION that "the whole
framework of licensing as it concerns picking-up points would be in the melting pot" if an application by two State-owned companies for a second picking-up point in London succeeded, was made for George Ewer and Co., Ltd., by Mr. F. A. Stockdale, before the Metropolitan Licensing Authority in London, last week.
The two companies. Eastern National • Omnibus Co., Ltd. and Hicks Bros., Ltd., were a1so charged by the Passenger Vehicle Operators' Association with seeking an unfair advantage over other operators in using the public highway as a picking-up point.
[Some three months ago, the companies were granted a dispensation to run loaded vehicles on their services from Halstead, Malden and Braintree to Victoria Coach Station, with a picking-up and setting-down point at Euston, and the application sought to confirm this arrangement.]
Refusing the application, the Authority said he did not intend to reopen any important question of principle. The Euston picking-up point must thus become a service terminal for Eastern National and Hicks Bros., although 1 again express the view that it ought not to be allowed to become a competitive North London coach station."
Mr, James Amphlett, for the applicants, said that they sought to run to Victoria Coach Station, and to have a picking-up point near King's Cross. They had found one in Euston Grove.
Mr. L. E. Richards, assistant general manager of both companies, said they had used the Judd Street station until it had closed at the end of last year. Until then, vehicles had run light from Judd Street to Victoria.
The services were not competitive with those of other operators, for they had no picking-up point at Chelmsford, the only section of the route which was also covered by other interests.
During January and February this year tlfeT had been a decrease in passengers' compared with a similar period in 1953, andthere -was_nnt a bigdemand for the extension to Victoria.
B28 Mr. Richards said they were temporarily using the public highway in Euston Square until a portion of adjoining land they had leased from British . Railways was ready.
Mr. Stockdale said that Eastern National applied for a similar extension in 1951, to which his clients objected. It was refused, and the applicants did not pursue it because it became known that Judd Street station was carrying on.
He submitted that the _principle involved could mean that all services at present routed through the King's Cross area would have a right to pick up and set down there.
Mr. Richards refused to give Mr. Stockdale an undertaking that, were the application to succeed, they would not apply' for similar facilities for other services.
Alleging that the extension would cause abstraction from London Transport, Mr. Stockdale said that the applicants' fares were not to be increased, so there would be a "dead loss" to the British Transport Commission.
Mr. J. H. Ewer, managing director cf George Ewer, said they would not have objected if the proposal had not included a second picking-up point in London. He submitted that it opened the door to other operators to ask for a second terminal.
His company had applied for a projection of their King's Cross services to Stamford Hill to protect their interests if the applicants' case succeeded. They were prepared to withdraw their application if the case failed. His objection was "a matter of principle." He feared "one of the most disastrous decisions to private enterprise operators there have been."• Summing up, Mr. Stockdale, said: "Let there be no mistake, this is an. extremely important case." If the Authority granted the application he "would find it difficult not to concede the same point to others." If it
succeeded, it would reopen the whole question of picking-up points in the Metropolitan Area.
A spokesman for P.V.O.A., who charged the applicants with seeking an unfair advantage over other operators in using the public highway in Euston Square as a picking-up point pointed out that it was illegal. He also said that the site which the applicants intended to use on private land at • Euston Square would not be adequate for the numbers of vehicles -involved. •
The Authority, Brig. R. J. 0. Dowse.. . said he could not permit picking-up on The public highway to continue. " want you to know that I am not givingpreference to any one operator," he said. The temporary arrangement had
lasted longer than he expected. • Mr. Amphlett asked for the representation made by the P.V.O.A.. to be disregarded on the ground that they had no locus.
L.T.E. Did Not Object
.The only operators who could he affected by the proposal, said Mr. Amphlett, were London Transport, who had "seen fit to leave it alone," and Corona Coaches; who objected on the ground that they had a direct service through Halstead and Braintree to King's Cross. • His clients would not object to Corona Coaches being granted an extra picking-up point in the Victoria area. George Ewer, he submitted, did not "come into the picture."
The Authority said he would defer his decision until he had heard George Ewer's application for an extra pickingup and setting-down point.
Opening the case for George Ewer. Mr. Stockdale said that Eastern Counties Omnibus Co., Ltd., had withdrawn their objection to the proposed extension to Stamford Hill. Mr. John R. Amphlett, for Messrs. Webber Bros. (Empire's Best), said they had withdrawn their application when the applicants gave an undertaking not to pick up or set down passengers for Colchester at Stamford Hill.
London Transport objected.
In rejecting George Ewer's application, Brig. Dowse considered there was substance in London Transport's objection.