The coming Coronation time will witness a very-large increase in
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the number of horse-drawn pirate buses in London, and many super. seded vehicles and horses the worse for wear will again "ply for hire."
Westminster City Council, or a portion of it, at least, is much concerned about the alleged mudsplashing of motorbuses. Councillor Lyon Thomson, however, con -V tends that there is actually less mud in the streets since the advent of motor vehicles.
The L.G.O.C. has about 70 more of its first shop order for 250 B-type motorbuses to put into service and another 250 of the same design are then to be put in hand at once. A considerable demand is expected for the company's vehicles by private-hire parties to see the decorations and illuminations during Coronation-time. The few temaining horse buses are to be largely used for this purpose.
In our issue for the 28th -August, 1910, we illustrated an example of the latest design of Straker-Squire silent motorbus chassis, which had then just been placed in the service of the Great Eastern London Motor Omnibus Co., Ltd. Two of these vehicles have now each completed 20,000 miles of running, and their mechanism, upon examination, appears to have stood up well. Fifty " Silent Strakers " are now to be delivered to the G.E.L.M.O. Co., and of these, the first four were presented to the Noise Committee last Friday, and three of them were passed. That is good.
A West Ham Town Councillor, Mr. Enos Smith, commenting upon a communication from Sir Edward Henry with regard to motorbuses, delivered the considered opinion that he had "never in all his life read such silly rubbish as this letter ; "he objected to the use of the roads by "these evil-smelling, livershaking oilcans on wheels!' Enos has indeed quite a pretty turn of speech.
Alderman Littler, in seconding, characterized the Commissioner's letter as " absolute drivel," while Councillor Jones thought that they had better take no action against the buses, for fear that retaliatory measures were assumed against their trameais ; they did not like being summoned for overcrowding. Carnarvon Motors, Ltd., is shortly to transfer, to the Llanaelhaiarn road, the public-service vehicle which has been in use on the Ebenezer route. The original service is to be maintained by a smart new 30 h.p. worm-driven Leyland char-k-banes. The new machine can be used as a closed vehicle during the cold weather.
The Cedes Electric Traction, Ltd., of 15, Cockspur Street, London, S.W., is supplying an electric motor-driven back axle, complete with hub motors and cast-steel wheels, to the Brighton, Hove and Preston United Omnibus Co., Ltd., for embodiment in one of the old London Electrobus machines, of which Mr. E. A. Eager, the superintendent of the company, is rebuilding several.
East Surrey Traction Co., Ltd., with an authorized capital of 22,000 in 21 shares, and with its office at 57, Bell Street, Reigate, to carry on a service, of motor omnibuses between Reigate and Redhill ; also, to adopt an agreement with Tamplin and Makovski, Ltd. First directors : A. W. Makovski, A. H. Hawkins, R.. MacGregor, A. Hyslop, J.P., J. W. Neale, T. B. Phillips, and T. Newell. The Associated Omnibus Co., Ltd., whose tenth annual meeting has recently been held, has now managed to show a gross profit, for the year 1910, of 24,604. The company has turned its attention to the purchase on a large scale of young Irish horses. It will be remembered that this concern abandoned the operation of motorbuses before the inauguration of the present successful era.
Thornycroft passenger vehicles are in steady demand ; we have already referred to those on order for Cyprus. The Lake District Road Traffic Co., Ltd., has now placed a repeat order for a 30 h.p. char-k-bancs chassis, in consequence of good results obtained from previous Thornycroft models ; the Harrogate Carriage Co. has ordered a 30 h.p. char-à-banes chassis ; and the Llandudno Coaching and Carriage Co., Ltd., has ordered two 30 h.p. char-h-bancs chassis.
Brunt Should Try Again.
Birmingham residents are anxious that, when the question of developing outlying tramway schemes for that city comes under consideration, every effort shall be made to preserve that very-fine thoroughfare known as Hagley Road from tramlines. Much of the earliest experience of motorbus operation in this country was secured in Birmingham, and it was not entirely the fault of the early models which were employed that the service was abandoned some years ago. Local residents should be made fully aware of the extraordinary progtess that has been made in design during the last year or two ; London's present object lesson should not be lost.
Far-better business was done by the Berlin General Omnibus Co. in 1910 than in the preceding year. The old motor lines showed improvement all round, while the new ones, including the de luxe line, gave satisfaction. Further motor developments are contemplated. The annual report contains the following passage :—" The rise in the price of rubber, combined with a considerable decline in the quality of tires, operated most adversely upon the working expenses of the motorbus traffic, yet, through favourable purchases of petrol and materials, through turning our own shops more and more to account for the making of spares, through constructional improvements, through progressive schooling of the staff, etc., it was possible to prevent expenses rising in return for the same efficiency." The company's gross receipts amounted to 10,319,716 marks (738,704 more than in 1909), the expenses working out at 8,338,391 marks.
Leicester Should Be Educated.
The further development of Leicester's tramway system is now being advocated, and we are glad to see that some attempt is being made by certain enlightened local residents to draw the attention of the inhabitants to the undoubted advantages now possessed by motorbuses with reference to the possibility of their economicaLser
vice in provincial towns. Weymouth's anti-tram decision should carry some weight, though late.
The Safe Motorbus.
It is a curious coincidence, that exactly the same number of fires (13) occurred during 1910 in motor omnibuses and in electric tramcars while on the roads in the Metro politan area. The outbreaks in the tramcarswere all due to one cause-defective electric circuits. The fires in the motor omnibuses were due in 11 instances to overflow of petrol, the balance being made up thus : mineral-oil lamp upset, 1 ; petrol vapour coming into contact with flame, 1.
The annual report of the Fire Brigade Committee of the L.C.C., from which the foregoing facts are taken, also states that there were seven fires in motor lorries (causes : overflow of petrol, 4; spark from fire, 1; spark from steam motor, 1 ; unknown, 1) ; five fires in motor
cabs (causes : overflow of petrol, 3; petrol vapour coming into contact with flame, 1; smoking tobacco, .1), and two fires in motorvans (causes: friction of machinery, 1 ; overflow of petrol, 1).
Official Protests at Maidstone.
We recently drew attention to the foolish competitive methods that have been adopted by the rival companies on the motorbus route between Chatham and Maidstone, and complaints have now been lodged with the Chatham Town Council with regard to these services, The Town Clerk has, by instruction, written to both the operating companies, informing them that the council protests against the racing which is alleged, and stating that, unless a timetable be arranged so that the two companies' respective machines run at different times, the council will refuse licences in future. Our Berlin correspondent writes, " In my recent notes I omitted (I think) to state that, on 31st December, 1910, the Berlin Omnibus Co. had 110 motorbuses at work, compared with 77 at the close of 1909. The average number working daily through the year was 73.92, as against 6/43 in 1909."
Manchester Investigates. .
The Northenden motorbuses, which are being maintained by the Manchester Corporation, and to the unsatisfactory nature of whose service we drew attention in our issue of the 16th March, have now become the subject of definite attention by the Manchester City Council's Tramway Committee. A deputation has visited Northenden, and steps are now to be taken to improve matters. It should not be difficult for the Committee to put its finger on the cause of the trouble.