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Extraordinary Traffic: The Judgment.

8th August 1918, Page 1
8th August 1918
Page 1
Page 2
Page 1, 8th August 1918 — Extraordinary Traffic: The Judgment.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

ON the case on which Mr. Justice Eve gave judgment a week ago yesterday rests much more than the mere question as to who shall pay the few hundreds of poimds which have been spent on the roads in Weston-super-Mare. The future of our, industry and its . complete development are affected. The ease presents. a typical example of the ever-recurring dispute between roadmaker and road user, as to whether the former's :handiwork should completely serve the widest requirements of -the latter. Put in that way, both sides can but agree to the inevitable answer, and we come, therefore, quickly to the question: Who shall bear the cost? To this the reply is not so obvious or undebatable, but we submit that in any event the charge cannot fairly be laid to the account of the individual user.

The present, we hope, is but the first stage of what will eventually prove a conclusive battle for a, prin Ciple, the issue being a satisfactory solution of the problem named. A .hint to that effect was: given us by Mr. E. S. Shrapriell-Sinith, C.B.E., in the course of the interview which we publish on page 520, when he stated that there "might be an appeal on points of law." Clearly the first skirmish has been lost, as, although the damages awarded were small in com parison with those asked, on thequestion of principle the verdict undoubtedly went in favour of the plain tiffs, who failed to Obtain the major portion of the damages claimed merely owing to the length of the periad during which that damage was incurred ; a, claim is only allowed covering a period of twelve months previous to the legal action.

The matter is clearly tpo important and far-reaching in its effectstobe thus abandoned, as it leaves open the way for municipal and similar local authori ties to make a claim upon any and every individual user who revises his transport methods in favour of the commercial motor as against the horse. A continuation of such circumstances is unthinkable. It would be entirely and strongly alien to the best interests of the country.

Our fuller comment is necessarily withheld pending a decision as to an appeal. We hope to be able to deal with the matter at greater length in an early issue.

The Future of the "Trackless Trolley." % WIIEN WE COME to the time for re-organizing and renovating the public services of our • towns, we shall, when comparing the merits of the bus and the tram, be required to reconsider also the possibilities of the trackless trolley system. Naturally enough, little -has been heard of develop 'tient in this direction of late, but the principle of the trackless trolley car had won a certain number of advocates at the outbreak of the war. The position which it occupies is, in a sense, midway between the bus and the tram. It possesses some of the disadvantages of each, as well as some of the advantages. As regards mobility, it has the advantage over, the tram inasmuch as it can be steered On to any part og the road. It can, therefore, thread its way better through thick traffic. It cannot, however, claim the same degree of mobility as the omnibus, since it must always keep within range of its overhead wires, and, therefore, cannot make free use of the whole of a very wide , road, and .canno-t be temporarily n diverted frot one road to another while road repairs are in progress. It is on the wide road that the fixed tramway system is least objectionable, and, therefore, upon the narrow road that' the trackless trolley is most likely to be advocated in place of it. Obviously, then, it is a distinct disadvantage if, when that narrow road cones to be repaired, there is no possibility of temporarily rearranging the route so as to avoid what anust necessarily be a c-ongeAed narrow strip of useable highway.

There is another way in which the trackless trolley lacks the mobility of the omnibus. While it can pass and be passed by other forms of traffic, it must retain a constant position in relation to the other -vehicles of its own system. If three or four trackless -trolley routes were to converge near the centre, the cars would have to traverse the whole of the central &stria in the order in which they reached it. They would thus share the disadvantage of the tram, inasmuch as all short-distance passengers would endeavour to use the front ear because it must necessarily stay in front. This serves to bring about an unequal distributiOn of Patronage. The front car is delayed by people frequently getting on and off, and the others are delayed for no other reason than because of the presence of the front car. This trouble does not arise in the case of a bus system, because, if the vehicle for the moment in front attracts more than its share of business, others almost immediately pass it. Consequently, passengers tend to distribute themselves fairly evenly over a line of waiting vehicles.

As regards operating costs, the trackless trolley system misses one of the great advantages of the tramway system, whieh is, of course, that rails offer less tractive resistance than roa,d surfaces and subject the vehicle mechanism to less vibration. From the point of view of appearance, the trackless trolley system is almost, if not quite, as offensive asan overhead tramway system. . It certainly constitutes a permanent disfigurement, which is not the case with the bus. As regards speed, the inferior mobility of the trackless trolley system handicaps it as against the omnibus, while the higher traotive resistance handicaps it as against the tram. Where the extension ,ef services into country districts is contemplated, the disadvantages of the tracklees trolley, as against ethal omnibus, are obvious ; while another allied point in favour of the bus is its ability to be used on Sundays and other holidays for extended country trips. Altogether, taking every consideration into account, we do not anticipate that the trackless trolley system will be at all widely adopted in this country. Where no system at present exists, the bus will almost always be given preference, and where a tramway system exists and is to be perpetuated, the tendency will continue to be to extend the whole system rather than to make changes from one vehiclemto another necessary by extending the overhead gear but not the rails. If a complete extension is not justified, then the motorbus offers the more fleifihle means of gradually enlarging -to meet the needs of a growing district.

The Technical Side. .

THERE IS A THEORY beloved of a certain saheb' of novelist to the effect that the only man worth listening to is the man who seldom says anything at all, but who works on the principle that "silence is golden." On the other hand, there is an old story of the parrot which, whenever it was remarked that he was a poor talker, always said, " I think the more," andsthereby gained a. great reputation for wisdom, which turned out to he hollow when later acquaintance revealed the fact that it was his only sentence.

These comments on human nature are merely introductory to the suggestion that there are men in our midst who, although they speak fairly frequently, seldom fail to talk to good purpose. One of these is Mr. T. C. Pullinger. We notice that at the dinner giferr to Mr. Manville by the British Motor Manufac

turers, Mr. Pullinger emphasized the importance of the technical side of the industry. It is rather our habit nowadays to divide the whole community into two sections, employers and employed, and to use the latter word to signify only the manual worker. We are apt to forget that between these two stands the technical man upon whom both are 'dependent, the • one for his profits and the other for his continued and safe employment. We are only lust beginning to reach some general realization of the fact that the technical man is worthy of his hire, He puts into the industry brains that may be even more valuable than capital. He enables the industry to produce something so sound and efficient that it commands a market, as a eonsequence of which the capitalist gets his dividends and the worker his wages. Too often it is imagined that the technical man's only reward should be pride in his achievement. No doubt this means more to him than pecuniary return, but, at the same time, the latter is perhaps the best way in which to acknowledge that we recognize the former. Technical and 'scientific men are net all devoid of laiisiness,aptitude and aspirations. The more practical class *of technical man wants some practical return for his brains, and it is the more practical class that we mainly want in the motor industry. It follows, then, that if we want him, we must be prepared to pay him, and to recognize his existence when organizing the general control of the industry. In all the talk about the government of the industry by joint councils of employers and employed, we wonder if it. is ever realized that the technical man and, for that matter, the commercial manager and the salesman, ought to come into the scheme somewhere or other. These are not employers, and we doubt whether the employees would accept them to serve among their representatives. What then is their position I Is the technical man to be the only section of the industry denied any voice in the government of the industry,. despite the fact that the whole structure is dependent upon the work of his brains?

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