Operating Aspects of PASSENGER TRANSPORT
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LATEST NEWS FROM THE TRAFFIC AREAS
AGAINST APPLICATIONS FOR CONTRACT LICENCES.
CONSIDERABLE controversy rages as to the legality and necessity of the action of the Southern and West Midland Traffic Commissioners in introducing special licences to cover contract work. Last week, the Motor Hirers and Coach Services Association objected to every application made to the Southern Traffic Commissioners for these special licences.
It should be clearly understood that the Association does not question the need for the services, but wishes to test the necessity of the licences.
WALLASEY TRAMS TO GO.
THE tramways committee of Wallasey Corporation is to seek an Order for the abandonment of the tramways circular service on September 30, and has appointed a sub-committee to consider and report upon the revision of the whole system of road transport in the town.
SMALL LOSS ON CHESTER BUS WORKING.
DURING the year ended March 31 last, Chester Corporation's buses worked at a loss of £154, after charging interest on loans and sinking-fund contributions. To this sum must be added the debit balance brought forward from last year of £1,680, interest on loans for the tramway (which the bus services superseded) £1,305, and £1,945 in respect of loan repayment..
This makes a total debit balance of £5,085, towards which there was a contribution of 14,500 from the general rates, leavine a balance of £585 to be carried forward.
An increase of £507 was made in the wages of drivers and conductors (the figure for 1933 being £11,517) ; power expenses were raised by £2,148 to 17,078; repairs show a decrease of £452 to £2,436; loan charges amounted to 0,689 (a rise of £389) ; expenditure increased by £2,704, but was modified by an increase of £981 in traffic and miscellaneous revenue, so that the net increased expenditure was £1,723. The reserve fund at Mara 31 stood at £7,498.
The corporation has now 12 A.E.C. Regent 50-seater and 10 A.E.C. Regal 30-seater buses in commission.
DELAY IN DECIDING APPLICATIONS FOR LOWER FARES.
NUMEROUS operators are still wait ing for the Traffic Commissioners to sanction various decreases in fares. Last November, certain concerns sought to. reduce fares in order to meet competition and in the hope of stimulating ' traffic, and since that date, many other operators have made similar applications.
There is a strong feeling that, in fairness, the applications should be decided before Whitson, in order to avoid the needless expense, on the part of operators, of having to discard handbills and obtain new supplies. In some quarters, it is believed that a deliberate attempt is being made to delay the matter.
LATEST MIDDLESBROUGH MOVE.
MIDDLESBROUGH borough trea surer .(Mr. R. Sutcliffe) is to prepare an estimate of the cost of operating either a trolley-bus or motorbus service on the Linthorpe-Transporter route at present served by trams.
COMPREHENSIVE HOLIDAY TOURS.
AN attractive book describing the holi day coach tours organized by the General Travel Agency (London) Ltd., 53, Woburn Place, W.C.1, has been issued by that company. The trips range from a few days to 14 days' duration and cover most parts of the country.
A particularly enjoyable tour should be that starting from London every Wednesday, from May 31 to August 30, and proceeding northwards by way of York, Alnwick, Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen, Pitlochry and Inverness (to quota a few of the many pieces of interest), and continuing to John 0' Groats. Tha tour occupies 14 days and costs £26 2s. 643. inclusive of all charges. COMMISSIONERS AS ARBITERS ON EM.PLOYMENT,
A DECISION that emphasizes the
wide powers of the Traffic Commissioners was given by the South Wales Commissioners, at Pontypridd, this week, and has immediately raised a storm of controversy.
Notice of appeal was given by the legal representative of the applicant immediately the Commissioners gave their decision. There is little doubt, we understand, that the matter will be raised in Parliament.
The importance of this decision lies not so much in its effect on the bus proprietor concerned, or even on policy, but in the fact that the wide powers of the Commissioners permit them to decide not only the means for transport to be operated, but make the Commissioners arbiters as to whether a group of men shall or shall not be employed.
The applicant was Mr. D. T. Breese, of Merthyr Tydfil, who sought to run a new bus service to convey 200 workmen from Dowlais to the Bedwas Navigation Colliery, a distance of about 20 miles. Pending the Commissioners' decision, the service has been running.
It was pointed out that the bus was the only possible means for the transport of these men. Bedwas and Machen Urban District Council strongly opposed the application, claiming that the service was unnecessary. That claim, it -was contended, was absurd, as the fact that these 200 men were now being conveyed was ipso facto proof of its necessity, apart from the fact that there was no other way of travelling.
Bedwas and Maehen's case was that at Bedwas, Trethomas and Madsen there were unemployed some 1,500 skilled miners who were available for work at this colliery, and it was unnecessary to bring men from outside. The applicant pointed out that about 95 per cent, of the population of Dowlais was unemployed.
Mr. A. T. James, K.C., chairman of the Commissioners, said they had every sympathy with the position of the people of Dowlais, but it was necessary to consider the question of the public interest of the service. They concluded that it was not in the public interest that workmen should be conveyed 18-20 miles by buses from one area to another, where there was a great deal of unemployment, and where there were plenty of skilled men available to do the work. The application was refused.
FINANCIAL POSITION OF YORK TRANSPORT.
BY reason of recent developments, the accounts, which have just been issued, dealing with the passengertransport operations of York Corporation in the year ended March 31, 1933, are particularly interesting.
The corporation operates petrol buses, trolley-buses and tramcars, and the net result of last year's operations shows a surplus on each class of transport ; that is, petrol buses 14,450, trolley-buses 11,817, and tramcars /5,660. After taking into account interest and sinking-fund charges, however, the net loss on the petrol buses was 12,619 and on the tramcars 14.421, but there was a net profit of /469 on the trolley-buses.
The deficit on the net-revenue account was, therefore, £6,572, and, added to the deficit balance at the commencement of the year (110,467), and capital expen
diture of £1,200 defrayed out of revenue, gives a total of £18,239. After deducting a contribution from the general rate of 5.93d. in the 1, totalling £11,624, the deficit balance at the end of March last was £6,615.
The aggregate mileages covered during the past year were as follow :— Petrol buses 510,780, trolley-buses 83,705, tramcars 904,589, the figure for trolley-buses being the only one showing an increase on the previous year's returns.
So far as the number of persons carried is concerned, the petrol buses dealt with 3,273,490, the trolley-buses with 564,671, and the tramcars with 5,836,752. At the end of March last the corporation had 21 petrol buses, three trolley-buses and 45 tramcars in service.
SOUTH WALES OPERATORS AND THE NEW BILL.
.ON Sunday next, May 28, at 4 p.m., at the Hotel Metropole, Swansea, a meeting of bus proprietors and haulage contractors will be held under the auspices of the Motor Omnibus Proprietors Association (South Wales), when Mr. Daniel Hopkin, M.A., LL.B., Barristerat-Law, will explain the provisions of the Road and Rail Traffic Bill. The chairman of the Association, Mr. W. E. Gough (Mountain Ash), will preside.
COUNCIL WANTS COACHES.
A STRONG criticism of the action of
the Traffic Commissioners in prohibiting the use of the road through the Trough of Bowland, a well-known beauty spot between Clitheroe and Lancaster, was made, on Monday, by Bowland Rural District Council. It was stated that considerable improvements had been made to the road, and that it was now suitable for use by small coaches. A previous request for the withdrawal of the Commissioners' ban is to be renewed.
RESTRICTED LO CAL SERVICES.
THE District Councils' Association
has considered a resolution from Thirsk Rural District Council, calling the attention of the Minister of Transport to the action of Traffic Commissioners in imposing restrictions upon local bus services, and in particular upon those services catering for the sparsely populated districts.
The council urges the necessity of.the immediate modification of those irksome restrictions, and points out that the question of facilities and fares was gradually tending to become the monopoly of the larger companies.
Ths. Association considers that the matters referred to are of a local nature. Should the difficulties become general, it would take action in the matter. A suggestion is being made to the Minister of Transport that the list of applications to be heard by the Commissioners and supplied to the local authorities should be indexed, giving the numbers of the local authorities affected by the. routes in the applications. STRONG OPPOSITION TO
EXCURSION LICENCE BIDS. WHEN the excursion and tour licence modifications asked for by Yorkshire Motor Coach Owners, Ltd.— previously reported in our issue dated May 12—again came before the Yorkshire Traffic Commissioners, at Leeds, on May 17, there was more opposition than at Sheffield.
All the proposals were opposed, but there was particularly strong objection to the suggested modifications allowing additional excursion and tours, permitting the maximum number of vehicles to be according to traffic demands, allowing services to operate all the year round, and giving operators authority to pick up prebooked parties anywhere within a three-mile radius of the licensed starting point.
The objectors included the combine bus companies, the railway companies, municipal operators and the Commercial Motor Users' Association. The suggested modifications—which came forward again on applications for excursion and tour licences for the Heavy Woollen District and Yeaden groups of Y.M.C.O. members—would enable a great amount of prebooked party traffic formerly carried as contract work to be handled under excursion and tour licences.
The Y.M.C.O. wishes to confine contract work within as narrow limits as possible, arid thus prevent the running of buses as contract vehicles. It was stated not to be uncommon for an operator to travel 12 miles from his own garage into another man's area, and then cut the fare by 40 per cent. in order to obtain the work.
For the opposition, it was complained that if the proposed modifications were approved, Y.M.C.O. members would, by means of their interhiring scheme, be able to flood a district with 300 or 400 vehicles at a time, as on the occasion of the annual local holiday.
Regarding the bearing of the proposals on the question of contract work, Major Chapple, of the West Yorkshire Road Car Co., Ltd., suggested that the Commissioners should reserve their decision in this matter until something could be done on national lines. Mr. .1. Keeling, secretary of the Y.M.C.O., said that they had waited long enough.
The Commissioners reserved their decision.
LEEDS BUS PROFIT FOR FIRST TIME.
FOR the first time, Leeds Corporation's
buses, as briefly reported in last week's issue, last year made a profit. The working in the 12 months ended March 31 last, showed a profit of 14,197, against a deficit of 111,992 in the previous year.
Licences for vehicles last year cost £6,939, and the cost of petrol increased by nearly 14,000 to £28,593, including 8d, per gallon for taxation. In addition to increased economies in working and garage expenses, the use of double-deck buses instead of single-deckers has contributed to the financial improvement.
The bus revenue increased by '13,621 during the year, and including a surplus on the tramway account of 124,302, a net amount of 128,500 is available for rate-relief purposes, compared with 143,410 in the previous year. The gross surplus on the whole transport undertaking was 1142,274, after allowing for incoshe tax, interest on loans, etc.
MR. STIRK OPENS BIG NEW GARAGE FOR TRENT CO. WHA.T is believed to be the largest bus garage in the midlands is being opened to-day (Friday) by Mr. J. H. Stirk, chairman of the East Midland Traffic Commissioners, for the Trent Motor Traction Co., Ltd.
The new garage is situated in Manvers Street, Nottingham, and provides accommodation for 134 vehicles, replacing premises built in the same street, in 1926, for 75 vehicles. The growth of the company's operations in Nottingham has necessitated more commodious accommodation being acqured, and, at the same time, Nottingham Corporation has found a need for a larger garage. Arrangements have, therefore, been made to sell the Trent concern's smaller premises to the municipal authority.
The new building is 460 ft. long and 85 ft. wide, and includes a dock bay for the periodic inspection of vehicles. The company's main works are at Derby, where the principal overhauls are undertaken. In the dock bay are situated workshops for electricians, joiners and for carrying out tyre repairs. There are also general stores, a mess room, etc.
Two pits are provided, these being equipped in modern style with white glazed bricks, recessed lights and trays for tools.
Hammond liewmeters, in conjunction with an electrically controlled pump, discharge fuel, at the rate of 17 gallons a minute, from the four 5,000-gallon petrol tanks under the floor. Three underground 500-gallon oil tanks are provided.
At one end of the main garage, on the first floor, are the traffic offices, these being in addition to the offices at the bus station in Huntingdon Street.
The Trent Motor Traction Co., Ltd., the general manager of which is Mr. G. Campbell Taylor, now operates a fleet of 285 buses.
LICENCE REFUSED ON THE GROUND OF SAFETY. ON the ground of safety, the Western Traffic Commissioners last week refused to permit Red and White Services, Ltd., to operate excursions from Newnham to Littledean, via Pleasant Stile.
Colonel E. S. Sinnott, Gloucester county surveyor, stated that the maximum gradient of the road was 1 in 6, the minimum width was 11 ft., whilst
the route was tortuous. &Ir. A. r. Nicholson, chairman of the Commissioners, stated that they could not take the responsibility of licensing the company for the route.
PERMISSION TO SELL COACH BUSINESS REFUSED.
AUTHORITY for a small operator to
sell his business to a rail-associated concern was refused, last week, by the North-Western Traffic Commissioners, Crosville Motor Services, Ltd., expressed its willingness to take over the undertaking of Mr. T. W. Rose, of Rhyl, who, for medical reasons, wished to sell his business, although the Crosville concern would not be prepared to acquire his vehicle.
An objector stated that the only real asset Mr. Rose proposed to sell was his starting point on Rhyl promenade.
The Commissioners refused to allow the sale to be made, on the ground that the proposal did not conform with the principle of eliminating wasteful competition and giving better service to the public, as was sometimes the case with mergers. MEMBERS OF LONDON PASSENGER TRANSPORT BOARD.
JUST too late for inclusion in last
week's issue of The Commercial Motor, the names of the members of the London Passenger Transport Board were announced in the House of Commons by Mr. Oliver Stanley, Minister of Transport, as follow :—
Lord Ashfield is appointed as chairman for seven years ; Mr. Frank Pick, at present managing director of the Underground Group of Companies, to he a whole-time member for seven years ; Mr. John Cliff (assistant general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union) and Mr. P. A. Cooper (a director of the Bank of England and Governor of the Hudson Bay Co.), to be part-time members for five years ; Sir John William Gilbert, an alderman of the London County Council, Sir Edward Holland, an alderman of the Surrey County Council, and Sir Henry Maybury (chairman of the Len don and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee), to be part-time members far three years.
HUDDERSFIELD'S SUCCESSFUL WORKING.
A PRELIMINARY return in connec
tion with Huddersfield Corporation's transport undertaking shows that, during the year ended March 31 last, there was a gross surplus of £25,469 on the buses, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Co., under the joint working arrangement, receiving £12,735 of this sum. The corporation. obtains £2,636, after deducting various charges. In connection with the tramcars, there was a gross surplus of £42,934, the deduction of various charges reducing the net surplus to £4,603.
NEW MERGER FORESHADOWED.
WE are advised by Bagshaw and Sons (Kettering), Ltd., Tanner's Lane, Kettering, that negotiations are proceeding between that company and the United Counties Omnibus and Road Transport Co.. Ltd., for the merging of the two undertakings.
The Bngshaw concern holds a licence in the East Midland area for a service from Kettering to Thrapston. The United Counties concern has its headquarters at Wellin'z,borough. BARROW'S BUS FINANCES.
DTJRING a period of acute trade de
pression, Barrow Corporation's buses provided, in the year ended March 31 last, total receipts of £56,576, as compared with an expenditure of £43,654. The sum of £11,457 has to be deducted for loan charges, including repayment to the tramways renewals fund, and £2,453 for renewals computations, the result being a net deficit of £988. The total capital expenditure on buses, excluding £11,750 advanced from the tramways renewals fund, is £54,705.
HIGHER FARES REFUSED.
THE Northern Traffic Commissioners, sitting at Newcastle, have refused to grant an application from Newcastle Corporation, United Automobile Services, Ltd., Tynemouth and District Electric Traction Co., and Wakefield Motors, Ltd., for an increase in fares between Newcastle and the East Coast.
The Commissioners were informed
that the bus companies had entered into an agreement with the London and North-Eastern Railway Ca., whereby the latter would also increase fares on the route if the Commissioners granted the bus companies' application. In declining to grant the increase in fares, Sir John Maxwell, chairman of the Commissioners observed that the application was sharply at variance with their policy of effecting reductions of fares in other parts.
NEWPORT TRANSPORT RESULTS.
DURING the year ended March 31 last, Newport (Mon.) Corporation bus receipts totalled £113,264, a decrease of £1,842 on the previous year's figure, whilst tram receipts, at £40,244 were £2836 lower. The buses and trams carried 62,651 fewer passengers than in 1931-32, the total being 16,165,028, and the 2,181,913 miles run by the joint services were 796 fewer than in the previous year. ROAD-RAIL CO-OPERATION.
THE Great Western Railway Co. announces that, at Wbitsun, interavailability of road and rail tickets will be in force at over 300 points in the west of England and south and central Wales. This includes the long-distance coach services controlled in London by London Coastal Coaches, Ltd., and those operated by Greyhound Motors, Ltd.
WEST MON. BOARD'S BILL.
HAVING been considered by the House of Lords Select Committee on unopposed Bills, the West Monmouthshire Omnibus Board's Bill to confirm a provisional Order of the Minister of Health has been ordered for the third reading, Under the Order, Bedwelty Council shall appoint six members and, in the first place, the Mynyddislwyn authority shall nominate three. Later, the number of members appointed by the latter is to be revised.