NOTTINGHAM AND MOTORBUS TRAFFIC.
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T HAS BEEN suggested in Notting1 ham that a certain amount of dilatoriness has hitherto marked the action of the authorities in eateringifor the needs of the public by mews of a well-organized system of motorbuses, capable of meeting growing requirements in districts not served directly by tramways. It cannot be said that arrangements in this category have erred upon the score of celerity, but simultaneously with schemes now in progress for widely extending the municipal boundaries, has come the decision to exploit a conveniently expeditious form of transport which locally has been too long neglected. Some years ago, when such means of locomotion were in their inchoate stages, a few cumbersome motorbuses of a now extinct type were tried, but were soon discontinued upon the ground that they did not represent a paying proposition. The Nottingham Corporation is now, however, entering upon a more serious form of the undertaking.
In the Bill which has been presented by the City authorities, Parliamentary powers are being sought to extend tramways into urban districts, and alternately to run motorbuses in areas where, under the annexation scheme, it is proposed to bring within the City confines.
A formidable question of relative cost here arises, which must be largely affected by the power which may be accorded to the County Council to make
mileage charges for the usage of the reeds, opposition to the breaking up of which for tramway purposes has been already foreshadowed in Nottingham. The principle underlying the right to make such .a levy was, it may be recalled, conceded in the Rotherham case, and it has not been suggested locally that the Nottingham Corporation can escape-its liability in this respect. -. If, however, the levy is fixed as high as in a recent case at 2d. per mile it may well be that the city authorities may have carefully to weigh the financial patentialities of the solution.
Pending the decision upon the boundaries extension project, there is no reason, however, for further delay in the adoption of motorbuses for the present city area, and by way of an inauguration of the seheme•three large vehicles of the latest Dennis type have been ordered, it being intended to run these from the Bagthorpe district, via Rucknall Road, along the Gregory Boulevard to Hartley Road, connecting up en saute with the tramway systems to Sherwood and Arnold, to Basferd and Bulwell and to Lenten and RadFord.
The plans as thus atranged by Mr. Jahn Aldworth, who, with conspicuous success has acted as manager of the Nottingham electric tramways since their inception, are designed to meet the wants of several of the most important districts of the city, and their development will necessarily depend upon monetary results, which, with the present heavy cost of labour and equipment, may give rise to many serious considerations.
It may be that if, at reasonably moderate fares, the new buses cannot be run attually at a profit,'they may serve in Nottingham, as elsewhere, as an indirectly lucrative source of revenue by acting as feeders to the larger tramway system; now fie. removed from dwellings in many Parts of the city. Moreover, tale flexibility of communication to be afforded by the new means of transport commends itself strong:y in such a widely scattered municipalarea.
undertaking the new enterprise the city authorities are not oblivious of many important financial factors which have been well exemplified in the neighbourirtg. city of Sheffiel. There it. has been shown, upon tile basis of figures collated:] by Mr. A. R. Fearnley, general manager of the tramways and motors, that, whilst' the total working expenses in 1915 averaged 7.035 pence per bus mile, in 1918 they had risen to 14.022d., and last year to 17.896d.
The mew form of buses to be used in Nottingham will he of the single-deck type and petrol propelled, the idea of utilizing etectro trolley buses not having been taken into contemplation. Statutory ; powers which will no doubt be obtainable. will afford, however; as indicated, an alternative choice between trams and, buses, a matter which, according to the . present outlook, is likely to be decided very largely, although not entirely, in favour of the former means.