PROGRESS IN PASSENGER TRAVEL.
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The Latest Doings and Developments in the Bus and Coach World.
Stowing the Motor Coach Hood.
A New Method which Overcomes Certain Disadvantages of the Older Types of Covering.
IT IS PLEASING to observe that incertain directions determined attempts are being madioto solve the question of the provision of a satisfactory type of hood for motor coaches. With the continued growth and expansion of the motor (mach industry much thought and close .attention have been concentrated on the problem, and, although certain modifications in design have been conceived and new types have been, tested under actual service conditions, the great majority of coaches now in use are still fitted with the old style of hood, in. which a number of hood. Sticks, to which a waterproof twill is permanently attached, are, when the hood is raised, placed at intervals along the body sides, either being slid along a runner or Carried by the operators of the hood to the position in which each stick is fixed, the movement always being in the forward direction.
This type of hood has various disadvantages, not the least important of which 13 the fact that the hood and its fittings, weighing approximate' g 2 cwt.,
are, when lowered, carried at the rear of the body, i.e., at a point where it is not desirable to increase the weight. Moreover, this type of hood, in its oldest form, is subject to risk of damage, due to the fact that the hood sticks protrude beyond the width of the body sides, whilst the i
operation of reversing s always attended with certain risks.
In the latest designs of coach bodies, wherein the hood is often accommodated around the luggage compartment at the rear, the risk of damage from colliaion, • etc., is negatived on account of the hood being in Huu with the body sides and back, but this does not overcome the objection • to the disposition of weight at the rear of the vehicle.
Where there are several doors to a coach, the disposition of the hood at the rear increases thepossibility of the back doors flying open whilst the vehicle is travelling, due to the weight of the hood whipping the rear of the body, whilst it also increases the tendency of the vehicle to skid, especially if the overhang be considerable.
The design in which the various disadvantages which we have enumerated are surnammtect is that which has recently emanated from the North Road coachbuilding factory of the London General
Omnibus Co. This type of hood does n< greatly differ in general design and cm atrucoon from any of its predecesson and its operation, although performed i the opposite direction, is fundamental! the same. IM main feature, which is c importance from many aspects, !Ma i ttoe accommodation of the hood, whe lOwered, at the front end of the body i a specially-shaped recess formed betwee the dashboard proper and a subsidiar division.
Let it be clearly understood that th housing of the hood in this position doe not interfere in any way with the COM fort of the driver or passengers in th front TOW of seats ; in fact, it can be s neatly stowed away that the coach would at first sight, appear to be hoodless. Th hood sticks do not project beyond th body width, far the 'aides are niswept few inches just in front of the door whilst the main body sides are cut awa, at an angle to provide sufficient depth fo the hood sticks, sevela in all, which inci dentally allows a deeper windscreen to b erpployed.
The operation of lowering or raisin1 the hood is carried out by two men, on at either side, and each of theseopera tions can be performed in not more the' five minutes.
The method of lowering is as follows: le turnbuckles holding the twill in sition at the back of the vehicles are leased, the hnod sticks then being retsed and slid along the runner until ey are pushed to the limit of their tvel at, the' forward end, the twill, of urse, being foldec as the operation oceeds. The fore part of the runner, will be seen from one of our illustrams, is free to be dropped with the iod sticks, and when in its final posim the hood is strapped down.
This new method of housing the hood Ls much in its favour, and in the for-' 1rd position it will certainly not to dale to misuse by cyclists and passenu-s, as is the case with a. hood fixed at e rear, whilst when the. hood is down e driver is afforded an uninterrupted ew of the rear whilst reversing. To tr mind, its chief asset, lies in the reoval of weight from the rear and in le, reduction of weight in the body, hich it is possible to effect by dispensg with the supporting ironwork at the :ar.
The new hood, which we inspected, as fitted on a new type of coach body ounted on. a standard 3 ton A.E.C. tassis. The body is a 23 seater, and its lief feature lies in the seating arrangetent, which has been so planned that is door only suffices to gain access to is whole body interior. This door is tasted behind the first row of seats, in hich two passengers are accommodated the left of the driver, being separated :om him by a. step-over seat, which ffortis protection to the petrol tank and 'filch, when lifted, uncovers the fuel
Ring orifice. Four people are accomsedated in the second row, space being rovicled on the near side to enable pasangers to get to the rear seats. The hird row also contains four seats, these sing built in pairs with a gangway in he centre. The fourth and fifth rows as a repetition in design and construeion of the second and third rows, whilst he last row of seats stretches the full 7ielth of the body and seats five people. As the plan view of the seating rrangement at the top of this page bows, *the width of the gangway in ach row of seats is sufficient to enable ready access to be gained to the rear eats.
In the design of the coach every at.ention has been directed to the pronision of details to give the maximum )1 comfort. For instance, the backs of lie seats are not extended down to the loorbnards, but plenty of room is left or passengers to stretch their legs. )ther details which reflect this con,
sideration for passengers Are the. incorporation of rug rails, match-strikers, and well-upholstered and comfortably sprung armchair seats.
No details whatever pretrude beyond the overall width of the body, which.is 7 ft. 84• ins, when the vehicle is:travelling, a hinged • running board, which facilitates easy access from, and entrance to, the body, being folded back when not in use. A hinged step is attached to the inside of the door, and this fits into a well, a few inches below thelevel of,the floorboards' which is used as a step, which levels up the floorboards when the door is closed:
This type of vehicle may eventually be used for regular services, but for the moment it will be reserved for private hire parties. It will not be used for long-distance touring, anditherefOre the provision of extensive luggage-carrying facilities is not needed, although the boot, at the rear should meet all demands likely to be-made in this respect.
So far as dimensions are concerned, the wheelbase of the-machine is 14 It. 2. ins., its overall length being 22 ft. 11i ins., the overhang being 7 ft., and the height when loaded 8 ft. 81 ins.
Prolong the Coaching Season.
New Ideas are Needed to Keep the Industry from the Rut of -the
THAT the articles which have appeared in The Commercial Motor on all-the-year-round coaches have stimulated-much thought is very evident from conversations with northern chars-a-banes owners and there are undoubted indications that they are applying themselves to the problem of developing winter road travel with much assiduity.
Ask any coach owner what he is going to do with his coaches during the winter, and nine out of every ten will reply : Oh, run to football matches, carry concert parties, etc.," which rarely provides more than one day's work a week. No doubt, as in previous years, many vehicles will be converted into% goods lorries but in general. the practice is not, looked upon with favour.
Coach owners have one outstanding fault—they are not sufficiently enthusiastic about their business, and if they were to infuse a little sparkling, vim into the propaganda aspect. of motor coaching there is no reason why the coaching season should not start earlier and finish later. The industry is comparatively new, and theresmust be, vast tracts of unexplored territory awaiting the attention of the venturesomeipro• specter. A short. ime ago a new departure in coach tours was introduced at Bristol in the form of what was described as a " mystery " tour, in which eight big coaches took part. On the windscreen of each vehicle was displayed in bold lettering a notice : " Destination? " An envelope containing sealed orders was secured by red tape, and affixed to the screen were instructions that the document was not, to be extracted until the first milestone on a certain road was reached. Then the mystery was out! The route was indicated., and at a picturesque hotel tea was provided, and for the fare of us. d. each passenger was presented with a packet of chocolates, and picture postcards depicting the points of'interest en route. The outing concluded with a visit to the theatre in the evening.
This coaching novelty afforded mueb, interest to coaehtowners in the north, whose view is that, whilst at popular holiday resorts like Southport, Blackpool, etc., the idea lent itself excel kaitly to •adaptation and possibly improvement, it was hardly suitable for tours from the industrial towns.
Of course, eanbarking upon a venture of this description raises the point : " Where apes the motor coach owner's business end?" Not so very long ago it was an unthought-of thing for coach proprietors to own their own hotels, and we know one firm who, in order to keep their premises alive during the winter, intend to inaugurate week-end :dances, and already have in mind a motorists' house party for Christmas. One ventures to think that the mere business of running coaches will only be one aspect of the coaching industry, and that, within the near. future,.owners will find it to their advantage ta be not only vehicle owners and caterers, but entertainers as well. Let ne not lose sight of the fact, that, .up to now, many people have travelled by road because of the novelty of it, in just the same way that many of the early railway trains, crude as they were, appealed to the susceptibilities of a -curious public in their thisst for something "fresh." . Interest in motor coaching must be sustained—how, is a. question for the owners to decide, but let them not lose sight of this : that the motor coach combines both utilitarian and pleasuregiving functions, and in this respect has an advantage over the railways, which are utilitarian pure and simple. From the point of view of the traffic receipts this has not been such a good season as last for coach owners general:y, and in some towns competitive prices have ruled throughout. At certain of them it has been impossible to maintain a compatability of interest amongstpreprietors, and only a few days ago we heard the principal of a big local concern declaze that for months now they had been -up against the -opposition of small concerns, and the remarkable fact was that, as the latter went, out. of the business, others came in to take their-place-s, conveying passengers at rates which were quite out of the questien when it came to a matter of administration and operation costs. " Piracy " was the term used to describe this method of doing business, and so it was. One example will suffice to exemplify the meaning. For an 80 mile tour a quotation of 10s. 6d. had been given. A small concern stepped. in and carried out-the contract for 4s. 8d. How
can ally firm Nvhich quotes on the basis of running charges compete in cases like this?
In the ordinary course of events the coaching season will soon be over, but this ,ye.Ar efforts will probably be made to prolong it until the end of October at least, and to snake coach travelling attractive to the world and his wife, we hear talk of reduced back-season fares.
Passenger Vehicles in North Wales.
Services 'Between the Mountainous Districts, the Isle Of Anglesey, and the
IN THE Bangor and Carnarvon dis
tricts of North Wales there has been quite a substantial revival of mototorrmibus and coaching activity this .season, and at the present time about a dozen motorbus services are being maintained, amongst the. principal of which tire:— (1) Carnarvon anti Rhostryfan; (2) Llandwrog and Carnarvon; (3) Carnarvon and Nantlle; (4) Carnarvon and Trevor; (5) Carnarvon and Llanberis; (6) Carnarvon and Beddgelert (7) Ebenezer and Bangor; (8) Clwtybont and Carnarvon; (9) Anglesey Ferry (between the Island of Anglesey and 'Carnarvon); (10) Carnarvon and Pwllheli; (11) Carnarvon
and Ebenezer; and (12) Waenfawr a Carnarvon.
Most of the vehicles are of the small type, and during the surnrair season a kept fully employed conveying visitc Loading up for an afternoon run stand in Bangor.
Southwold Town Council has given permission to Mr. Menhy to start a motor coach from the market place, pro vided he does not stand there for snor( than a quarter of an hour before start rag.
The Great Central Railway have instituted a petrol electric coach service between Macclesfield and Bollington at prices which will compete seriously with the ordinary motorbus company's charges. The coach is to run continuously backwards and forwards on market days, and the service premises to he a great .success. between their holiday centres and tl beauty spots within reach. From Ca narvon there is always a good flow c passenger traffic to Llanberis, which the centre by (swans of which Snowdo is reached.
The Menai Bridge, which connects tE Isle of Anglesey with the mainland, a very busy route, and daily there a constant succession of vehicles movin
backwards and forwards. Motorbus( meet the passengers at the railwa station and carry them to their destin( tions along the main motor route: Most of these vehicles, we observe( have accommodation for the storage c luggage in a top rack.
Motor coach traffic from the City c Bangor itself is comparatively smat and, owing to the narrow width of th main streets, there appears to be orl. one public stand—that shown in one c our illustrations on this page.
The Carnarvon Council has just cis cided to grant additional licences fo motor vehicles in order to cope with th volume of traffic. Lately there has bees much overcrowding with the existim motor omnibuses, and, although the cot poration has regulations prescribing tit_ limits of passenger accommodation, the: apparently are not, rigidly enforced. Fron some public quarters the demand . being made that an inspector of moth traffic should be appointed, and especialt■ as the council derives R good revemn from the buses and tolls.