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How to Fill Those Empty Vehicles

4th February 1938
Page 17
Page 17, 4th February 1938 — How to Fill Those Empty Vehicles
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

A Suggested New Activity for the Associations, Which Will be of Practical and_ Direct Benefit to AU Members of the Road-transport industry in Keeping Ve hicles Fully Employed

By S.T.R.

THERE are three principal causes of rate and farelcutting in the haulage and coach industry. Ignorance of costs, together with a lack of realization of the existence of overheads and a certain amount of bus:ness ineptitude, is one of the three. The urge to find loads for otherwise idle vehicles is another and, so far as goods haulage is concerned, the temptation to accept return loads at what would otherwise

• be ruinons rates is the third.

The first is obviously a subject for educational action. In that belief The Commercial Motor has for years devoted considerable effort to the end that operators of all descriptions should be apprised Of the real cost of operating their vehicles, should be instructed as to proper allowance for overheads and advised as to what may be considered reasonable provision for net profit.

Ways in Which We Help Solve Operators' Problems.

There appears weekly an article dealing with operators' problems, at approximately annual intervals a schedule of operating costs relating to all types of vehicle and, a third line of attazk, the series of lectures on these subjects arranged by The Commercial Motor. In the lastnamed activity, the two big roadtransport associations and others have co-operated.

The problem. of the return load is

admittedly Most difficult. If will have to be solved concurrently with the erection and completion of this rates structure that is so much to the fore in hauli.ers' discussions at the _present time. The method of dealing with it will have to be rigorouS if it is to be effective.

The other trouble, that of the idle vehicle, is in a class by itself. It is widespread, yet, for some reason that I cannot determine, does not yet seem to have been tackled in earnest by either of the main associations acting

"The Commercial Motor" Costs Expert and Lecturer nationally, or by any of their areas or sub-areas acting locally. Yet it does seem to me to be the easiest of the three questions to handle.

In considering the matter as a problem, regard must be had to two factors. First, and most important, there is a definite urge for the haulier to take irrational steps to keep his vehicle on The road, quite apart from the monetary aspect of the matter.

Iniquitous System That Encourages Rate-cutting.

Everyone is aware that when the question of licence renewal comes up for consideration, there is always the risk that if evidence can be produced by an objector to show that any vehicle owned by the applicant has not been reasonably well employed during the period of the expiring licence, may be refused. have previously dealt with this matter at length. To my mind it is iniquitous, if only for the reason that It is a direct encouragement to ratecutting by suggesting to an operator that he must have tonnage irrespec. five of revenue.

The second factor is one of precisely the opposite character. There is to-day ample work for road haulage, enough at least to keep every licensed vehicle occupied for a reasonable proportion of its time. The problem here—and this is the one with which I really wish to deal— is to bring the idle vehicle at any point to the work which is surplus at another. It should not be deduced from this that the two points are necessarily far apart. In nearly every case they will be within the ambit of a particular sub-area of one or both of the associations.

It should be made the business of the sub-area organization to deal with this problem. A registration bureau is definitely indicated—one of the simplest description accessible by telephone and with its interior organization limited to daily recordings of telephone imjuiries and action taken.

Linking Up Idle Vehicles and Surplus Loads.

Hauliers with idle vehicles should be invited to communicate by telephone daily. Members with surplus loads should do the same. The two sides should be put into communication one with another and there, I think, the responsibility of the association should end.

There should be no attempt on the part of the associations to make any profit from this service. The cost could be met by charging a registration fee for each communication; it might be 6d. or is. It should be no business of the association to discuss rates or conditions.

In addition to being, to a large extent, effective in ameliorating the disability brought about by idle vehicles, there would be some direct advantage to the associations in that they would be able to point to this facility asconcrete evidence of service rendered.

They would be able"to use it as a lever to ensure prompt payment of subscriptions, because it should be a rule that the service was available only to-members and that those whose subscriptions were more than, say, six weeks overdue, should not be given any assistance under this scheme.


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