Delays at Docks.
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Several of our Liverpool readers amongst the ranks of cartage and forwarding agents and tearn-owners have been corresponding with us, during the past few weeks, in regard to our expressed view that Liverpool mester-carters had some tacit arrangement under which the opportunities for use of motor wagons were kept clown in Liverpool. We must point out that our latest references to this subject were in the issues of THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR for the 5th March (under the title of "Signs of Wavering Amongst Liverpool Cartowners") and the 12th idem (footnote to a letter from Messrs. John West and Son, of Chapel Chambers North, Liverpool). We are now prepared to agiee that the adverse influences, against which we protested, were in part due to the conjoint influences of the Liverpool Carters Union and of the Liverpool Master Porters Association.
_ Practices in respect of taking turn, and wait-. mg turn, drawing away from a warehouse or ether loading berth after obtaining the load for the wagon and being refused the load for the trailer attached to that wagon, and other adverse factors, have all done harm, since the earliest regular work with motors at the Liverpool docks, dat ing brick to the year 1901. This cannot be denied. The writer was amongst those who suffered, as owners of motor wagons, in the years 1e01490:i. We had such matters. in mind when we wrote .on the 5th March concerning " Signs of Wavering," but we had then received early advices concerning a likely change of attitude on the part of the Liverpool Master Porters Association.
The correctness of our information was proved by the publication in " The Liverpool journal of Cornineroe " on the 11th idem of a notice to the earet that this Association had agreed, "for the purpose of the removal of inward cargo from the quays, that a motor and trailer are to be treated in future as one vehicle, aml that there will be no regulation applied as to weight, No long as the motor and trailer can take the. lead." Our contemporary then proceeded to acknowledge that " arguments frequently arose as to whether a motor and trailer should be regarded as two vehicles, and in many eases they were so treated. This meant considerable delay, owing to the fact that the motor wagon, after receiving its load, had to wait in order that the trailer might take its turn for loading." We quite agree with this statement, because it is one of the serious difficulties with which we were concerned. We know, however, that no Liverpool eartowner will have the temerity to come forward and contradict the fact that it was the influence of his trade which allowed his archaic regulation to hold good at the docks until last month. It is not always necessary for the opposition of horse owners to be expressed or put into force directly by themselves.
We trust that further "signs of wavering" will be nuiekly translated into "reasonable preference for tlici bieh-sneed unit," and that, so far as may prove possible, Liverpool will give a lead to other ports in the matter of assigning special berths to motors, in order to eliminate the uncommercial effects of terminal delays. A couple of hours delay for a motor wagon, due to "waiting turn," may easily upset a carrier's programme for the next 24 hours, whereas such delay, in respect of a local horso-drawn wagon, can at most cause a loss of a few shillings.
Discomfort in L.C.C. Tramcars.
The discomforts due to overcrowding in L.C.C. tramcars, under the permissive strap-hanging regulations, are now likely to be more of an ineonvenience to passengers than heretofore. This prospect is encouraged by an extraordinary and unforeseen construction_ of the by-taw under which certain numbers of " inside" passengers are allowed to stand. We report the hearing of a summons against, an L.O.C. tramcar conductor, before Mr. de Grey, on Thursday of last week, at the Lambeth Court, elsewhere in this issue (page 132). We cannot withhold the comment that the L C C. has again shown itself to he suspect of extraordinary dliplicity, in that it allowed the contention to be put forward, by way of defence, that the word "inside " was intended to include passengers on the top deck, as well Ns those " inside " the car in the ordinary acceptance of the term. Such a, contention, unhappily successful from the standpoint of the comfort of the traveller, will lead one to look with more suspicion than usual on any fresh L.C.C. proposals. Not only have the police been deceived, but other parties in higher office. That is now clearly realized.
We have hitherto regarded the character of the L.C.C. evidence before the House of Commons COMmittee, in respect of trailer-tramcar practice in Paris, as the limit of indiscretion. The latest suggestion, officially put forward on behalf of its tramcar administration, that "inside " passengers also mean "outside " Passengers—for that is the effect of the pleading which we report, -must now be accorded pride of place in the scheme of exploitation which we believe will recoil upon the heads of its authors, whoever they really are. Had the by-law been drafted to prevent use of either platform by passengers. it would have referred to the platforms. As a matter of fact, as those who were concerned in the case might have read, such use of the platforms is forbidden by another distinct and older by-law (No. 13). L.C.C. tramcar officials are hard pushed, we know, to make both ends meet, but the conduct of this case in our view is almost a public scandal.
The decision of Mr. de Grey can hardly be left nuchallenged, but proprietors of motorbuses will rio doubt he unperturbed by the latest example ofLOU. short-sightedness. which allowed the case to be defended as it was. Overcrowding and .diseomfort are becoming more arid more frequent in L.C.C. vehicles, and the travelling public will gradually tend to transfer to the cleaner and more-attractive motorbus. A new -advertisement for the L.G.O.C. might now well he : " Travel by bus for comfort."