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We commented, a little more than three years ago (Vol El, No. 38, dated the 3oth November, mos, page 237), upon the apparent unfairness of the conditions under which motorbuses with txposed top-decks were obliged lo compete with tramcars whose tops were protected from the elements by suitable coverings. This matter, from the date mentioned until the summer of 1906, was one to which we devoted a fair measure of attention, as reference to intervening issues will show, and as will probably be well within the recollection of not a few of our present supporters, For example, in the month of February of the last-named year, the proposition was submitted by us for the consideration of Colonel R. E. Crompton, C.B., Mr. Worbv Beaumont, M.Inst.C.E., the chief officials of the Public Carriage Department of New Scotland Yard, representatives of the manufacturers, and several operating companies. We then contemplated the offer of cash prizes for a set of suitable drawings or models of a really up-to-date and acceptable canopy for motorbuses, but circumstances were against the .project. The police feared that the margin of stability for such motorbuses as were then in existence might be reduced -to an unsafe point, whilst they also advanced the view that the additional height of the vehicles would give rise to objections from first-floor occupants ; the manufacturers and the proprietors appeared to fear the imposition of any extra work upon the engines and transmissions ; the tire companies looked askance at an innovation which might add to the wear and tear upon tires ; and, finally, at the beginning of August, 1906, when the report of the Select Committee on Cabs and Omnibuses was published, it was found that this committee, over which Mr. (now Sir) Henry Norman presided, endorsed the police views. Hence, with everybody against the idea, it seemed best to give it a rest.
• A new factor has been introduced into the situation since reo7, and one which appears to us to render in trial of the canopied motorbus really feasible. Nobody can deny the great public convenience and boon which such a change would prove, because hundreds of business men and women
are seriously incommoded, during rainy weather, and have ei risk their comfort and health, by waiting about in the streets until an omnibus comes along which has room inside, The accumulator-driven omnibus, which is now popularly known as the " Electrobus," furnishes that new factor, and one which did not come under the consideration either of the police or of the above-named Select Committee in the early months of the year load. This journal was commissioned, on Friday of last week, to prep-are a report for the directors of the London Electrobus Company, Limited, and: a verbatim copy of that report, together with three diagrams,. will be found on page 254 of this issue. The mere fact that a heavy battery is carried below the frame is sufficient to render a vehicle of this type safe under all conceivable conditions of service, and we believe that Sir Edward Henry and his principal officials will come to the same conclusion. in) no distant date. It is true that paragraphs 59 and do of the Report of D906 stated the Committee's inability " to accede to the request to recommend the licensing of motorbuses with canopies overhead, awnings, or a roof above the outside passengers." Paragraph 62, however, reads thus : " In view, however, of the rapid development and improvement in design of motor vehicles, we are of opinion that the Commissioner of Police should have discretion to issue a temporary and conditional license to vehicles of improved design which might differ in some respects from the official specification. Not to do this would be to stereotype a necessarily imperfect design, and to discourage inventors from working upon new types.1Ve believe that the canopied Hectrobus is a case for the exercise of this discretion.