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S.T.R. Compares Transport Costs

27th November 1936
Page 49
Page 49, 27th November 1936 — S.T.R. Compares Transport Costs
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

IN an address to Southampton Chamlber of Commerce, on Monday, S.T.R., The Commercial Motor costs expert, dealt with the economics of the tram, trolleybus and motorbus. He referred to the tram as being, under present conditions of traffic, an anachronism.

The major part of the address dealt with figures for cost of operation of the three types, actually becoming four by the separation of motorbuses" into petrol vehicles and oilers.

S.T.R. pointed out that the determining factor in the choice was undoubtedly that of headway and that, again, depended upon the traffic demand. " If," he said, "the actual running cost of tram, trolleybus and motorbus were the same, the motorbus must inevitably be the only choice, in view of the fact that both tram and trolleybus involve considerable capital expenditure and corresponding fixed charges in respect of, in the case of the tram, the track and overhear) equipment, and in the case of the trolle.ybush the overhead " gear."

that, however, he continued, is not the case. Considering running costs alone, the tram is least expensive and the motorbus is the most expensive of the three types. It is the nice balancing of the high fixed charges of the tram, plus its low running costs, as against the comparatively high running costs of the bus and the absence of fixed charges, with the trolleybus corning mid-way between the two, which determines the choice of type under any particular set of conditions.

I le gave figures and produced a diagram indicating, under average conditions, the critical headways at which the various types became preferable.

Mr, A. Howgrave, M.S.A.E., director of Southern Carriers, Ltd., asked whether it were not a fact that town gas was being used successfully for the propulsion of buses. Was that a possibility which they in Southampton should take into consideration?

S.T.R. replied that, whilst it was true that gas was being used in one or two places, he did not think that the proposition was one which, under present conditions, at any rate, offered advantages. The gas had to be compressed and, in the case of anything but quite short routes, it was necessary to supply supplementary fuel stations and compressing plant. He understood that the cost of gas, including provision for the compressing plant and its compression, was equivalent approximately to petrol at Is. per gallon.

Mr. Sinclair, referring to S.T.R.'s suggestion that the laying down of a tramway track was ,equivalent to freezing half the capital invested in that particular stretch of road, asked whether the fact that those trams carried large numbers of people was not a sufficient justification for the so-called " freezing." He also asked whether it was not true that there was a serious danger to health from the fumes emitted from motor vehicles.

S.T.R. pointed out that motorbuses and trolleybuses were equally capable of carrying passengers and that there was no necessity to diminish the traffic value of the road, as was undoubtedly the case when tram lines were laid. Moreover, there were nearly 6,000 niotorbuses running in London and, so far as he was aware, there was no authentic case of anyone having suffered in health as the direct result of fumes.

Mr. H. Parsons, J.P., in moving a vote of thanks to the lecturer, was particularly appreciative of the fact that, whilst the address had embodied the kind of helpful information which they required in Southampton, there had been a complete absence of bias.

In opening the meeting Mr. M. H. Pugh, president of the Chamber, referred to the fact that the problem of passenger transport in Southampton was again coming forward for discussion.


Locations: Southampton, London

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