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6th November 1923
Page 23
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Page 23, 6th November 1923 — PASSENGER TRAVEL NEWS.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Latest Doings and Developments in the Bus and Coach World.

MHE Special .Commission on Motor

Praffic in France, which has been in session for some time at the Ministry of Public Wqrks, Paris, has turned its attention to the question of public-service vehicles running on difficult or mountainous roads. The frightful affair which occurred last August, when 23 people were thrown over an 8C0-ft. cliff, remains vividly in the public mind. Since then a number oi sufficiently serious minor accidents have helped to keep the matter in view.

In the writer's opinion the two chief contributing causes to these accidents are excessive speed and abnormal wear and tear on the brakes. Excessive speed seems, unfortunately, to be inherent in the national character, but with regard to brake wear it is to be hoped that the introduction of four-wheel brakes , for public-service vehicles will lessen the danger in this direction.

It must 13e remembered that in the mountainous districts of France, roads which run downhill for 16 miles or 17 miles are by no means uncommon. On such roads as this even the brakes of a private car will have to be relined very frequently if kept in constant use, whilst in the case of a public-servict vehicle they should be examined before setting out for every trip.

In the case of the deplorable St. San-veur accident on the Lourdes-Gavarnie road, the writer happened to pasts the spot a few hours after the affair had happened. Although the Gavarnie road

might he deemed entirely unsuited to ehar-i-bancs traffic, it, is not actually dangerous, in so far as the edge overlooking the deep precipice is protected by a. substantial wall of mortared stone some 4 ft. high and quite a foot thick.

The vehicle which was involved in the St. Sauveur accident cut. right through this wall, and went over the cliff in such a short space of time that not one of the passengers had a chance to jump clear. Even a complete steering failure would hardly involve such a risk, unless the machine were travelling at an excessive speed.

The Gavarnie road is beautifully engineered, and is wide enough for two motor coaches to pass comfortably. During the short summer season the road is so crowded, however, that it somewhat resembles the Brighton Road on a

MHE advantages offered by the West

inghouse system of providing superior braking effort on motor vehicles are being tested by the Bristol Tramways and Oyarriage Co., Ltd., on one of their 30-seater single-deck buses for service in the large area covered by them in the West of England. Should the directors Bank Holiday, so far, as the amount of traffic which it carries -isconcerned.

The Motor Traffic Commission has adjourned for a short period in order to obtain fresh r data with .reference to public and private motor coach enterprises in France. Its final report should contain a host of information of considerable interest to all. interested in passenger transport.

Whilst on the subject 'of meter coaches, one cannot help but refer to the astounding advances which have been made in coachbuilding in France during the past few years. Only a short time ago the French idea of a motor coach body was a flat platform provided with a number of straight-backed wooden seats, sometimes covered with American cloth, but usually not upholstered at all. If a hood were fitted it was in the nature of a fixed canopy on four uprights.

Now, as the recent heavy-vehicle Salon has proved, French builders can turn out coach bodies, both of the closed and open types, which are equal to the finest British products. Higher praise can surely not be bestowed.

and operating staff be as fully satisfied as preliminary consideration of the matter has led them to expect, it is highly probable that other vehicles of the company's large fleet will be equipped with this type of brake. We had the opportunity of examining the bus whilst it was at the depot of the Westinghouse Brake and Saxby Signal Co., Ltd., -in London, and were constrained to admit that the brake gear had been neatly and ' suitably worked in. In time chassis designers will provide for the fitting of air brakes, as they now make provision for the accommodation of dynamos 'and other fittings which do not come within the, four walls of chassis design.The

brake control is brought to a bracket secured to the dash, the gauges (showing in the one case the pressure available in the reservoir, and in the other the pressure employed at the moment of operating the brakes) being one on the left and the other on the right. The MRE TERRIBLE results of the earthis quake in Japan s have driven still more firmly into the i'i.ental mind the conviction that the carrying of goods and passengers by road must be the principal means of land transport so far as Japan, China and the assuntries contiguous to them are concerned. It is true that roads suffered very consider= ably as a result of the, recent seismic disturbances in the neighbourhood of Tokio and Yokohama, but the railways suffered to a far greater extent. Moreover, it is much more difficult. to restore running conditions on railways than on roads. Steel rails and sleepers must he brought from afar; the very debris caused by an earthquake provides road construction materials.

One sequel to the recent disaster is that the scheme for the suggested underground railway in Tokio is said to have been abandoned. There is not, the slightest doubt that, had this line been in existence, it would not only have been completely destroyed, but there would have been a great addition to the already appalling loss of life. The Japanese Government has taken prompt action towards re-establishing ocnial and commercial' life in the neighbourhood of the capital. Significant among these steps is the fact that for the time being tariff charges on imported commercial vehicles have been cancelled.

Since the conclusion. of the World War motorbuses in large numbers have been entering—almost imperceptibly, perhaps —the densely populated area that lies, roughly, between Harbin and Singapore,

1340 necessary piping has been neatly carried out, and every detail of the equipment is so disposed as to be capable of ready access. The bus, by the way, struck us a very fine example of utilitarian coachwork, the workmanship being good and the vehicle very comfortable.

from north to south, and from Tokio to 'Urge, from east to west. As a result of the introduction-of these vehicles, millions of Asiatics can be said to have benefited both materially and socially.

The natives of the countries bordering the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the China Sea are certainly having their spheres of life broadened. I.Tp to 1918 these people were hardly able to leave the villages in which they were born because of the lack of transportation. Now they can travel quickly and comfortably for a few sen, cents or piastres to neighbouring villages and

towns, and can discover, with an amazement beyond . our comprehension; that the inhabitants of these places speak the same tongue as themselves, have the same tastes and the same ideals.

None of the credit for, this progress can be claimed by the touring car. Such vehicles have, of course, been widely introduced, but they. are mostly owned by the wealthy classes, to whom travel is not a novelty. It is the humble motorbus that is bringing about this revolution.

It may be said that during the past five years more reads have been built in China than in the previous five decades. This has mainly been brought about by the formation of motorbus companies in many of the towns and villages, even before roads were available fox the vehicles to run on, permits then being obtained from local authorities to coestruct the necessary highways. Labour being very cheap and dirt roads only being built, construction is rapid. The type of vehicles generally employed

seat 10 to 15 people, and the tariff charges generally work out at less than .ktl. par mile. The first appearance of new buses' on the streets creates con

siderable local excitement. .

One of the cities that has been most affected by the introduction of mechanical road transport is Canton. •Five.yeare ago wheeled traffic in that city was impossible owing to its alley-like streets. To-day it has many miles of wide surfaced highways over whiesh a bus service is maintained and to which the Cantonese boastfully points when the progress of his city is a subject of conversation. It is true the sedan chair is still to be seen in the streets of Canton, hut, wherever possible, the natives use the motorbus. These vehicles are never seen on the streets unless they are densely crowded.

The social and economic future of Korea is rapidly being changed in a similar way. Before the commencement of the present road-building programmeof the Japanese Government, travel was strictly limited to the vicinity of the railway running from FaSall to Wiju and German. Now it • is possible to travel long distances on both sides of this line by motor omnibus. The result of this is that Koreans are now leaving the coastal districts for those areas that -have been opened up by feeder motor services, and are busily cultivating lands that have lain fallow for centuries.

As is well known, thousands of Chinese emigrate annually. to the adjoining countries. In the Malay Peninsula, for instance, large numbers of coolies are employed in the tin mines.' Motorbus services have been established connecting up these mines with local towns.

This opportunity for providing miners with the social pleasures of life has proved a great boon to the proprietors. Now the coolie remains steadily at work. He is no longer discontented at being. a virtual prisoner in a dull mining camp. Every week-end hundreds of these miners speed by motorbus into towns sometimes 50 miles away, to enjoy the glory of the cinema or the tea-house. Often they cover the expenses of their trip by purchasing necessaries at much cheaper rates than prevail in the inaccessible mining camps.

It has already been indicated that seismic disturbances in Japan are deterrent to widespread railway construction. Yet another important reason why road transport is prefereed is that the country is very mountainous, and that a great deal of tunnelling is necessary if railway construction is undertaken away from the coastal districts. Highway's, of course, can be constructed ha overcome gradients without tunnelfing, and thus it is the policy of the Government to build motor roads 'instead of branch railway lines, and to use them as feederS to the main railway routes.

It is estimated that there are to-day 75 i motorbus lines operating in all parts of Japan. The majority of these services are feeder's to the railways, and run from railheads , into the interior. These services are profitable for the movement of the people is steadily increasing. Japan is over-populated in

many parts, and, by the 'general estab• lisihment of Las lines, areas that have hitherto been sparsely populated are now being peopled by those who are crowded out of the coastal districts.

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