LATEST NEWS FROM THE TRAFFIC AREAS
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The Ministry and the Hooking Agents.
FOLLOWING the reception by Lord Plymouth, at the Ministry of Transport, of a deputation from the Booking Agents .Association of Great Britain, Ltd., which was dealt with on page 731 of our issue for last week, the following letter has been addressed by Sir Denry Piggott, a secretary to the Minister, to the office of the association. at 40, Sherbrooke Road, London,
1 aro directed by the Minister of Transport to refer to the deputation from the association which was received by Lord Plymouth, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry, at these officeson Thursday, December 17th. In confirmation of the atatement made by Lord Plymouth at that meeting, I am to inform you that the Minister has recently had under consideration the question vrhe• thcr the Traffic Commissioners have power to regulate the amount of commission whith may be paid by the operators of road pas• enger services to their booking agents, and .that, whilst he has no authority to interpret the law, he has been advised that the Commissioners have no power to attach conditions to road service licences and backings as to She amount of commission which is to be paid to booking agents. Whilst no doubt the fixing of a standard rate or rates would be to the advantage of all concerned it seems to the Minister that action to that end is primarily a matter for the operators and their agents and it does not appear to him that either ho or the Commissioners &mild intervene directly in any case where a higher rate is paid out of the operator's ovvn pocket. I am to point vet,. however, that the Commissioners have power to attach conditions to a road service licence or backing to ensure that the fares charged shall not be unreasonable or, if a, representation be made tothem, to fix maximum Tares, and that these powers could be exercised in any case where fares were unnecessarily high in the same way as if fares were unreasonable owing to any other came.
I am to add that the Traffic Commissioners have been so informed and that a letter in similar terms to the above has been addressed in the appropriate associations of operators.
Local Conditions for Scottish Licences.
LOCAL AUTHORITY conditions attached to road service licences affecting the burghs of Elgin, Dollar, Brechin, Montrose, Arbroath, Montiieth, Carrioustie, Kirrierauir, Forfar, Dunfermline, Leven, Falkland, Buckhaven, Methil, Burntisland and Peterhead, defining routers and stopping places to be observed, are announced in Gazette 20 of the Northern Scotland Commissioners.
Inquiry as to Lancaster's Extended Services.
IN addition to making application to
the Traffic Commissioners for consent to run public service vehicles outside its borough, Lancaster Corporation has applied for the issue of road service licences. The town clerk of Morecambe Corporation has lodged formal objection to the isue of unconditional road service licences in favour of Lancaster Corporation, so far as routes within Morecambe are concerned. Such objections have been lodged merely to give More
cambe Corporation a locus standi in the unlikely event of the Commissioners. granting consents and licences to Lancaster Corporation otherwise than by agreement of the two corporations as to the method of running, division of fares, and similar matters.
Details Needed by Northern Scotland Commissioners.
IT has been necessary for the Commissioners for the Northern Scotland Area to issue a warning to applicants as to traffic returns which they may he
required to produce when their eases come UP' for hearing at the public sittings. In particular, the following information should be available :—Actual date when service commenced, length of route, journey time, average speed, receipts and costs per mile during past -three months, total number of passengers carried and journeys made during the past three months, types of vehicle used and names of other operators who are engaged upon the route in question.
A Municipality Against Monopoly.
AT a meeting of Leek Urban District Council the question of the refusal of road service licences to Mr. T. Gee, a Leek operator, and of the dismissal of his appeal to the Ministry of Transport has been discussed. As a result, it has been decided to support Mr. Gee in making a fresh application. The council is against the establishing of a monopoly by any one bus-operating concern. National-Bristol Amalgamation.
THE acquisition by the National Omni bias and Transport Co., Ltd., of a controlling interest in the Bristol Tramways and Carriage CO., Ltd., is announced, the purchase having been effected through the Western National Omnibus Co., Ltd. The authorized capital of the Western National concern is £1,000,000 and, in order to paovide funds to finance this new acquisition, this is to be increased to £2,000,000. The Bristol concern has a capital of f1,500,000, divided into 500,000 4-per cent, preference shares and 1,000,000 ordinary shares. For the year 1930 a dividend of 10 per cent. on the ordinary share capital was paid.
The amalgamation makes the Western National Omnibus Co., Ltd., probably the largest provincial operating company in Great Britain. The chairman of the National and Western National companies is Sir John Jarvis, whilst Mr. J. Milne, the managing director of the Great Western Railway Co., is one of the directors of the Western National concern. Thomas Tilling, Ltd., is, of course, largely interested in the National company.
Morecambe Corporation's External Services.
AT a meeting of the transport com
mittee of Morecambe Corporation it has been reported ,that Ribble Motor Services, Ltd., the L.M.S. Railway Co., and Lancaster Corporation have lodged objections to the application of Morecambe Corporation for licences for
services outside the borough. The town clerk has been instructed to take the necessary steps to meet the objections.
Conference of Small Municipalities.
A CERTAIN amount of interest
centred around the announcement recently made that a conferente of municipalities in the Northern Traffic Area was being convened, at the suggestion of Consett Urban District Council, to discuss the administration of the Road Traffic Act. There appeared to be some dissatisfaction as to the attitude of Traffic Commissioners towards smaller independent operators, particularly those running services in rural districts.
It took place a few days ago, representatives of several urban and rural councils in Co. Durham meeting at Consett. The Northern Commissioners were alternately criticized and commended on their work. There seems to have been no agreed view as• to whether their methods were satisfactory or not. The criticisms were levelled at alleged reduc
tion of services, increase of fares, etc., whilst, on the other hand, it was claimed that the Commissioners had brought order out of chaos, reduced fares, and ensured satisfactory wages and working conditions for bus-company employees. The conference was adjourned indefinitely, without any important resolution being passed.
Tram Abolition in Birkenhead. BIRKENHEAD Corporation has com pleted the .substitution of buses for trams on the New Ferry-Woodside route and is to convert the New Ferry tram depot into a bus garage at a cost of approximately 117,000.
Work of the Fares Committee. WITH reference to the paragraph on page 731 of our issue for last week, the fares committee set up by the Metropolitan and South-eastern Commissioners has completed the first stage of its work, and is about to submit a report setting out several points of agreement in principle. . Municipal Bus Activity at Cardiff.
MR. WILLIAM FORBES, Cardiff
Corporation's transport 'manager, estimates that during 1932-33 the municipal buses will work at a profit of 1840. This figure is derived from anticipated revenue and expenditure figures of £194,450 and £193,610. The statistics are based on a continuance of the present industrial depression.
Negotiations are being t onducted between the council and the private bus enterprises in the area as to the amounts that they are prepared to pay for the use of the proposed £70,000 bus station near the central railway terminus. The corporation will manage the station and pay £1,000 per annum in respect of its buses.
The experimental operation of an oilengined bus for six months on city routes will be commenced by the corporation in January. Mr. Forbes has been congratulated on saving, during 1931, £19,000 on the working costs of the bus and tram services.