# Coach and Bus Costs Compared

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Why a Bus Costs More to Operate than a Coach. Figures Investigated in Connection with a 26-seater Proposed to be Used by a Sports Club

pe TOT Long ago I compared the coach and the bus, viewing

1 X the subject from. the legal aspect. Now 1 have to deal with, the same subject from another aspect, the economic one.

There are certain differences between, the bus and, coach, so far as their costs are concerned, which have puzzled students of "The Commercial Motor" Tables of Operating Costs. In particular, I have one inquiry relating to the use of a 26-seater. This inquirer was thinking of operating one for private use in connection with the conveyance of members of a sports club of a college to various meetings.

It was anticipated that the weekly mileage would be 4+30, and tie had turned up the pages of the Tables to get same idea of the costs. He then discovered that there were tables for buses and tables for coaches and that the figures did not agree. He pointed out that, according to the Table, the cost per mile of a bus covering that weekly mileage was Is. 4.81.d. per Mile, whereas for a coach it was only ls 1.5. This, he said, was a big, difference, and be had no idea which figures he should use because he did not know which would apply to his particular kind of use of the vehicle. It was. that inquiry that started this article.

Conductor's Wages Actually, roost of the. difference can be accounted for by one Ilene, namely, wages. A conductor must be employed on a 26-seater hue That is not necessary in the case of a coach, whether it is a contract carriage or is engaged, on tours and excursions. The difference mile amount to as muck as 14 or £5. per week, which is upwards of 21dt per mile—very, nearly all the difference between the two.

Other items also; however, are affected. It seems to. be we while to go into, them irt detail, and in doing so twill not take figures, from the Tables, but Will. quote current costs under etarrent conditions The first item calling for consideration, according trs this scheme, is the initial outlay involved. A 26-seater bus, according to the mot recent quotations, may be had at prices varying from £1,250 to £1,300. A coach of the same capacity, wRI cost from. 1250 to £300. more, say 11,450 to £1,000,. I wilt take as a basis for the foltowing assessment a price of £t,280 for the bus and one of £1,520 for 'the coach,

This difference in cost LS due to a variety of cirearnstances, but principally to the fact that a bus is built for utility, whereas a_ coach, besides having to be useful, must be ornamental.

Interest and Depreciation .

Two items. of operating costs are dizeetly affected) by this difference in the initial eatlay. They are the interest on that capital disbursement and the depreciation.

SO far as interest is concerned, taking 4per cent as being the rate, that is equivalent to £51 per annum on a bus. or El per week, and 161 per annum in the ease of a coach, which is El 4s. per week.

Depreciation must be dealt with in some detail. Apart from the initial cost of the vehicle, we want to. know, size and cost of tyres.

On. the particular vehicle whichI have mind the tyre equipment is as follows: Front tyres, 7.50 ins. by 20 ins.; rear, 1.25 ins. 6y 20 ins. (twins).

The cost of the front tyres. is made up of two covers at LICh /3e each, tubes at £1 6s. 6d., total £23 19e. The rear covers cost £12 15s. 6d; each, and tubes £1: 10s., the total being £14 5s. 6d. per tyre, of £57 Is, altogether. The total

cost of a set of tyres is thus £81 Is. It is sufficiently accurate to regard this as a round figure of £80, thus allowing for the fact that the tubes will not necessarily wear out as quickly as the covers.

Now, in the case of the bus; the, initial prier of which

was 11,280, the cost, less tyres, is 11,200.. The residual value assumed after a life of 120000. miles can be taken as £120; The net figure for calculation Is, therefore, it,080, and that, for e life of 120000 mites, is 2.16d, per mile The tyres on the other vehicle cost the same ant, of course, sch that the' value of the vehicle, less tyres„ now becomes £1,440; It is net likely that the residual value of this vehicle will be any greater than that of the other, for by the time it has run its life of 120,000 miles the question of comfort and luxurious fittings will not be of any

importance. We must, therefore, again take M' and, deducting that from 1.1,440, we get £1,A20„ giving us 2..64d. per mile as depreciation. So ter the coach is seen to be more expensive thee the bus.. The west item veriebs the scales the other way. I am referring to wages. Far the bus, we must take .the wages of a driver at, say„ per week and a conductor at £4 10s. per week, giviog a total. of 19 10S-. TEE this must be added, roughly, £.1 per week to cover insurance under the \Nockmen's Compensation Act, National Insurances, and provision for holidays with pay,. gieing a total of £10 10s. per week for that item.

Advantage' to the Gooch

So far as the coach is concerned, a conductor is not needed. The total wage to be taken into. consideration is thus that of the driver, at £5 per week, plus an allowance of 103. for insurances and _holidays with pay, total £5 1.0s., which is 15 per week in favour, of the coach I take tyre cost next. Experience and statistics combine to demonstrate, as might be expected, that tyre cost is greater en the coach than it is, on the bus. The principal contributory. factors. to, this are road surfaces and speed; perhaps rather more of the latter than the formes.

The majority of buses run on well-surfaced streets of towns and cities. The toe' life on buses is longer on. this 01

account. Speed, however, is the main reason tor me fact that the life is shorter on a coach. On the bus, then, tyre life of from 24,000 to 30,000 miles may be expected; that is a cost per mile of .64d. to .8d., and I am_ probably being on the safe side if [take as an average figure .72d. per mile. On coaches I should not expect an average life a more than 20,000 miles, which is equivalent to Id. per mile.

Tyre cost, then, is against the coach. On the other hand, the maintenance cost of the bus is much higher, chiefly because of the effect on transmission gear, etc., of frequent stopping and starting, use in traffic, frequent -use of brakes, and so on. Also, the seats and interior fittings of buses get much harder wear. All these things contribute to increased cost of maintenance, and an average expectation of expenditure on this item is 2id. per mile in the case of the bus against lid. per mile in the case of the coach.

Common Expenditure

The foregoing comprise all the items which differ as between one vehicle and the other. Now take the others in the usual order, beginning with the thx. That is the same for both, approximately £1 per week. I take 13s. per week for rent and rates, that being unaffected by the question as to whether the vehicle is used for bus work or tours and excursions.

The next item is insurance. This is a tricky one. Premiums to be paio depend on locality, type of use and, above all, on "merit," which refers to the operator's claims record.

If I take a mean figure for vehicles located in an average semi-industrial area the total will amount to approximately £35 per annum, comprising £20 per annum for the insurance of the vehicle and £15 for the passengers. That is 14s, per week.

Petrol consumption varies widely according to use but there does not appear to be any justification for differentiating between bus and coach. Statistics show that on the whole the same figure is applicable to both. On the bus, frequent starting and stopping tends to increase consumption. On the other hand the factor of speed enters into the figures applicable to a coach and the one seems to offset the other.

Balance Sheet

A reasonable figure is 9 m.p.g. and if I take the full retail price of 2s. lid, per gallon, that is 2,83d. For oil I will take 0.17d. That is the last item to be considered. The summary and the totals appear in Table 1. It can be seen there that the standing charges are heavily in favour of the coach, the running costs in favour of the bus, but not to a great extent, approximately id. per mile.

From these figures in Table I it is possikle to get the total cost per week and the total cost per mile for both bus and coach.

First the total cost per week. For the bus it will be 400 times 8 13d. which is £13 1 Is., plus the standing charges at £13 17s. which is £27 8s. For the coach the total of running costs is 400 times 8.39d. which is £13 19s. 8d., plus standing charges at £9 Is., giving a total of £23 Os. 8d.

c2 • The total operating costs per mile are 16.8Id, for the bus and 13.53d. for the coach. It is interesting to compare these with the figures of 16.81d. for the bus and 13.53d. for the coach, taken from "The Commercial Motor" Table of Operating Costs quoted.

Very little consideration is needed, however, to indicate that, having in mind the purpose for which this inquirer intended to put his vehicle, it does not come into either category. It is not exactly a bus and it is not a coach.

I gathered that it was to be used for conveying members of an athletic club DE the college to various sports appointments and probably from the college buildings to the sports ground, some distance away. I was not given details. In some ways, therefore, it would be more of a coach than a bus.

It would not be stopping frequently to pick up and set down, it would not be used mainly in traffic, so that its chassis maintenance would be similar to that of a coach. The body maintenance would be more related to that to he expected in connection with the use of a coach. Altogether, then, the maintenance cost might be expected to be the same as for a coach.

Tyre Costs

Tyre cost ',should imagine would be intermediate between the two. The vehicle would not always be running on smooth roads. On the other hand the speeds would not usually be high so I should think about .85d. per mile, which is approximately mid-way between Id. and .72d. per mile, would meet the case. The lower-priced vehicle would be adequate for the purpose, so that interest and depreciation would be as with the bus. Again, on the other hand, the wages would be as for the coach as there is obviously no need for a conductor.

Summing these figures up, I get what is set down in Table II, showing that the cost of operation as a whole is less than either bus or coach. The total of standing charges is only £8 17s. per week, which is less than the coach at £9 Is., and the running cost falls to 7.76d., less than the bus at 8.13d.

The total cost per week for 400 miles would be 400 times 7.76d., which is £12 18s. 8d., plus £8 17s. standing charges, giving £21 15s. 8d.—again less than either figure already given for total cost of bus or coach. Correspondingly the total cost per mile for a 400-mile week would be 13.07d. The total cost per annum on the basis of a 50-week year would amount to £1,089 3s. 4d., say £1,090.

The inquirer stated that he had had a quotation from a coach operator for the hire of a bus every week of the year at £900, In the face of that quotation it seemed that his best policy would be to hire a bus.

A 36-week Year

On the other hand I am wondering whether he meant what he wrote, in that phrase " every week of the year." It is the usual experience that colleges, schools and the like do not work anything like 50 weeks per annum. A reasonable expectation is 36 weeks. If! take 36 weeks then I must go through the calculation all over again to find out what the cost is likely to be. • The principal difference of course will be that the driver's wages will have to be paid for only 36 weeks in the year. There will also be a slight reduction in the tax from £48 to £38 and probably some allowance on account of insurance, bringing it, say, from £35 to £30 per annum. The standing charges per annum will thus be as follow: tax, £38; garage rent, £32 10s.; insurance, £30; interest, £50; wages (for 36 weeks at £5 10s. per week inclusive), £198. The total is £348 10s. for standing charges.

The running costs, on the basis of £12 18s. 8d. per week (see above) for 36 weeks, will be £465 12s., and the total cost for the college, according to that, Will be £814 2s., say £815, showing a saving of £85 on the quotation from the bus operator. Whether it would be worth while for the college to take unto itself the responsibility of running a vehicle for a saving of £85 a year, which in itself may be further reduced by the necessity to pay someone to check over the operation generally, is a moot point. Personally I think I should be inclined to regard the offer of £900 as being a reasonable

one in all the circumstances. S.T. R.

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**Organisations**: Sports Club