In Your Opinion
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Don't Take it for Granted
IN your July 15 issue, "Lorry Driver", Clapton, assumes that he is going to keep the better wages and conditions he is now enjoying. In this he is very much like many others, in taking for granted the present situation and not looking or thinking ahead. In times of full employment, such as we have had now for many years, no credit is due to anyone for obtaining higher pay—it is the normal occurrence—and is often offered by employers.
This man may have to alter his tune within the next few months, unless he happens to be in the minority in being a first-class employee. I think it likely that a great amount of the "rubbish" now classing themselves as "drivers" will be on the scrap heap, where they belong, within twelve months, and that those who are left will be only too pleased to ignore their trade union manual and accept whatever jobs are going.
Employers generally, expect to pay a good driver well in excess of what "the book" says. If a few more of them had the guts to pay the rough ones to move on to the unemployed ranks, and so keep the job on the higher footing it deserves, the road transport industry would be that much better off.
Wages in transport are continually chaotic, in that a relatively low basic rate becomes out of all proportion when overtime starts after a mere 41 hours. Why not pay a better basic weekly rate, below which a driver cannot draw, and adjust overtime accordingly?
Very few drivers (good or indifferent), draw less than at least 11,000 a year, and although vehicles may be larger, and daily mileages higher, what does "Lorry Driver" think he is getting the extra pay for? If he had to (or even could) drive the vehicles some of us had to about 30 years ago, he would probably have a legitimate grouse.
Anyone who cannot manage the average present-day vehicles should not be driving, anyway—I have no time for employees who moan for ever about their job and yet stay in it. They still have the remedy which has always been present—get out. The industry would be much better without them.
Any industry can pay only what it can afford, whatever other alternative opinions there may be. And it will be as well for the rough, grab-all types to remember this during the next months. It is Likely then that it will not be how much increase can be got, but if there is a job available.
Unlike your correspondent, I have the guts to sign my name. W. A. G. SAYERS, Newbury, Berks.
A 'Retrograde Step'
HAVING JUST returned from Cornwall, I strongly endorse the comment of The 'Hawk (June 24 issue) on the lack of information on the destination indicators on Western and Southern National buses. Most of the vehicles have space provided for not only the ultimate destination, but also places passed en route as well as for the service number.
In an area where visitors predominate, the absence of destination screens creates inconvenience and annoyance and one is at a loss to understand this recent deterioration in the service offered to the public at a time when transport undertakings generally are endeavouring to induce more people to travel by bus.
Up and down the country there has been a tendency among certain undertakings to reduce the amount of information on destination screens—with, of course, creditable exceptions. Where services are operated on a "cross-city" basis and where, as in Glasgow, for example, different routes are taken through the centre of the town to the same destination, it is particularly important that indication should be given of the streets traversed en route.
Possibly you will succeed in finding out why this retrograde step has been taken.
J. MARLESDEN, Fareham, Hants.
Conversion Material is available
IN THE July 15 issue of COMMERCIAL MOTOR reference was made to manufacturers not having conversion material available to cover brake modifications and it was alleged that no satisfactory kits or details had been received from manufacturers.
From information available it would appear that the Ministry of Transport has not yet defined the date of introduction for the revised UK braking regulations. Until this position is clarified, and the specific requirements are established, we, as vehicle manufacturers, cannot initiate service conversions with the object of supplying material.
In view of these remarks it is presumed that your statement refers to the availability of braking equipment associated with the plating regulations, where I confirm that Leyland Motors have held this conversion material in their stores since late 1964. At the time of writing we have supplied 156 Comet kits, 215 Beaver kits and 20 Badger kits. We still have material available in stores and in fact we are holding 48 complete kits of material for one individual operator where we are awaiting the return of his vehicles to our service organization for conversion.
On behalf of Leyland Motors I would also point out that these kits are made available at a very special price, considerably below the normal discount terms applicable to operators, and this action has been taken with the object of assisting the operator as much as possible as regards the cost of conversion. In the case of labour charges, we have no alternative to that of applying normal labour rates. But on the other hand operators can convert their own vehicles and we will approve these within the service network.
F. W. MARGETTS, Service Manager, Leyland Motors Ltd.
THE REPORT published in the June 10 issue of COMMERCIAL MOTOR on Dunlop's research into wet grip of giant tyres has led me to an idea for a system to minimize aquaplaning.
I suggest that where a vehicle is fitted with air-power brakes air pipes should be fitted immediately in front of all steered and braked wheels. The outlets of the pipes should be fan shaped and pointing to the road. Connect these pipes to a manifold which is supplied with air from an additional reservoir, so as not to deplete the service reservoir. Have the air turned "on" by a relay valve operated by the service line pressure and the driver. This would cause a continuous charge of air to be released to the road surface and blow away all "loose" water from the road and clear an area equal or greater than the tyre contact area. This would produce better conditions for braking and steering on very wet roads and minimize aquaplaning.
Another point worth considering is that on pure air-brake systems the air compressor is doing nothing once the reservoirs are charged. This idea would make the compressor "earn its keep", especially if a similar method for cooling tyres and brake drums was used.
I would appreciate opinions on this suggestion.
P. WASH, Fulford, York.
IN the July 1 issue Mr. Wilding and Mr. Cater missed the point of my letter. No criticism of COMMERCIAL MOTOR or road tests was intended.
I simply wish to draw attention to the attitude taken by a manufacturer to complaints about new vehicles. What I said in my letter was fact, not hearsay.
S. C. WALKER, Pinner, Middlesex