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The phase of the subject which I bring to your attention is the fact that Mr. Graham, Mr. Seeley and Mr. Stewart at Youngstown, Ohio, and Mr. Mullett and his associates at Milwaukee, have visualized for you an opportunity in transportation which many of you have not heretofore appreciated, because it is the outgrowth of the tremendous use of pleasure cars on the part of the public. In cities in Ohio and other states, there is an unheard-of congestion. If you or I drive from our home to the center of most large cities, we must spend ten to fifteen minutes to find a parking place.
Mr. Seeley has instituted a service at Youngstown paralleling his double-track service between Youngstown and Warren, fifteen miles away. If I am correct, they have spent approximately $75,000 within the past eighteen months to partially double-track this service. Am I correct, Mr. Stewart?
J. B. STEWART, JR.:- Most of it is single track —
ZENAS W. CARTER:- There is double track, but largely single track between these two towns. The cost of this trip is 22.5 cents per ticket, and 30 cents for the cash fare. Sixty days ago they put into service three and later six of a type of de luxe motor coach with a 45-cent fare, and on which, since it has gone into use they are getting an average of 73 per cent load factor.
Last Friday and Saturday their receipts — [am I giving aw ny secrets, Mr. Stewart? I was not asked to keep this confidential]— I think I may say to you men that their receipts were over $500 for Friday and Saturday each day, and on Saturday — something which an electric railway man can hardly interpret, they ran 100 per cent load factor from almost the first bus in the morning to the last bus at night, and they have averaged 73 per cent load factor over the operation for sixty days.
If only Youngstown had the opportunity to advertise offering such service to the community, you might say that the conditions were abnormal, but, gentlemen, Mr. Mullett is using on the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company five of the same type of de luxe motor coaches, between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac and I think he will say that their experience is similar.
Just one more word to visualize this opportunity to you, and I will give way to others. This is the point. In this case these gentlemen have found passengers who are willing to pay the greater fare on the higher grade of service. This has been appreciated by many who would not ride on the ordinary electric car.
It has given them an opportunity to have local passenger service of the class which they are willing to pay for, and which is very comfortable, speedy and satisfactory.
In my opinion, one year from this time there will be in operation in the United States, one thousand, as a minimum, of this type of motor coach in service.
And now prepare for a bomb shell.
The United States Bus Transportation Company has been incorporated in the State of New York, and a notice of that has
a been published. The incorporators are men who have not been in the transportation game, either as bus operators, electric traction men, or steam railroad operators think of that they are amusement men, a theatrical group. Why? What got them into the transportation business ? Passengers for their theatres, which to them represented dollars and cents, required better service. That caused them to investigate this service and decide that buses might deliver their patrons at their doors. This led some of them to decide to inaugurate a bus service in several large cities.
If I want to go to the theatre, I can go in a taxicab. I can go in a taxicab, possibly, and you also, but, gentlemen, some of our public demand, as I said at the Central Electric Railway meeting, and have come to feel that they have the right to expect to "ride on rubber," when they travel locally. That means they must, for some service in mass transportation have motor vehicles with pneumatic tires beneath them. Gentlemen, “riding on rubber” is only figurative. I mean they demand more ease, luxury and comfort in transportation.
Look at what the passenger automobile builders are doing. You buy their stock and rather wonder if you will not lose your money, and you wake up in a few days and your profits will buy a house. Why? They are psychologists; they are students; they are advertisers. They cater to luxury transportation.
Gentlemen, this is your opportunity. You are logically the local transportation agency. These are suggestions to you. I took courage to steal this time from you, but I am saying this to you because this company, which is to make installations of motor buses principally for serving the public with local luxury service were granted, last Friday, a franchise to operate buses in the city of St. Louis. I thank you, gentlemen.
PRESIDENT TODD :- Is there any further discussion of this report on trackless transportation ?
W. H. MCGRATH :-I was unfortunate today and did not hear the paper presented or the remarks of the first speaker in full, but it seems to me that there is one phase of the trackless transportation business that has been omitted in considering the matter of the financial results on the electric railways themselves.
On the coast, we have found that in addition to putting our own money in the stage bus business, where we have invested in the last year something like a half million dollars, we are also interested in the development of the stage bus in connection with our interurban railroads, because in our opinion the greatest benefit, with regard to financial results, come from co-operation with the existing lines where they serve as feeders.
I am not sure there is any mention of any such co-operative development in this data. I have not read it, as unfortunately I was late. There is a feeling, particularly in those States where the buses are operating under a certificate of necessity law, that the buses are given undue advantage. Many of our people feel that way. We have many paved roads in the State of Washington, and we have offered to several stage lines facilities and conveniences free of charge, such as ticket selling, joint advertising, and many facilities that independent stage operators, with a small capital, cannot afford to develop by themselves. They use our depots; they bring in passengers to our trunk interurban lines. The net result of this, after
six months' experience, has been that on some of our trunk lines the net earnings have increased 40 per cent. Some of the bus lines are operated by our company, in perhaps a majority of the cases, but in many cases we prefer to have someone else put up the money and take the profit. We would prefer to co-operate with them in the service which they render in making connections with our trunk interurban lines from sections which cannot be served at the present time by the interurbans themselves.
The result has been that there has been considerable profit to the interurban companies, considerable profit to the stage companies, and a marked improvement in the transportation service to the public.
The point I want to bring out is this — the electric railways, city and interurban, can go into this bus business themselves. In some situations, where the physical layout and the laws of the State are favorable, undoubtedly they can improve the service to the public by co-operating with existing bus transportation companies.
PRESIDENT TODD :- Is there any further discussion?
H. B. FLOWERS :- I realize that the time is getting short, but I would like to ask Mr. Carter of the White Company a question. What are the terms of the franchise to the movingpicture people who are to operate the buses in the city of St. Louis? Can you explain who they are? Is there to be competition with existing street car service, or is it to give service only in places where transportation does not exist ?
ZENAS W. CARTER :- I think that it will be largely NONcompetitive, although partly competitive. The franchise, as I understand, grants a ten-cent fare; includes transportation on the new bridge, which will be exclusively motor business, and on Washington street and some other streets. I am not entirely familiar with Washington Street, but I think there is an electric service on that street. Some of their service will, I understand, parallel the electric cars.
H. B. FLOWERS :- Mr. Carter, you were not serious, were you, when you stated that the justification for these buses was because the people could not be properly handled on the street cars going to and from the theatres ?
ZENAS W. CARTER :— Certainly not a need. Of course, most of the people can get to the points of destination by other means, but what these people desired to do was to provide a service by which they could take their patrons direct to the theatres and thus make a pleasanter ride for their patrons, and in that way probably secure a larger attendance.
We heard rumors about this installation, and spent a number of days trying to get in contact with these people who were to install the system, and we finally appealed to the McGraw-Hill Company to tell us just what was proposed, and I hope that my competitors will not feel that the McGraw-Hill Company was playing favorites, but they actually did finally get us the information that we were seeking.
FRANK R. COATES:- I ask Mr. Carter whether or not he knows if the conditions of the franchise, the burdens in the franchise, are similar to those imposed upon electric railway lines?
ZENAS CARTER:- I am not familiar with the terms of the franchise. I merely have a wire saying that the franchise, which was advertised by them for two or three weeks after they had made their application for it, has been granted. do know, however, that the plans of the company involve a considerable amount of equipment.
H. B. FLOWERS :- Mr. Seeley's operation running in Maryland, under the tax imposed upon vehicles in that State, would cost $30,960, assuming that he only makes 20 round trips per day. We pay $2,520 per bus per year for the double deck buses we operate in Baltimore.
PRESIDENT TODD :- Is there any further discussion? If not, we will take up the report on Uniform Motor Vehicle Law, by C. D. Cass, General Manager, Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northern Railway Company, Waterloo, Iowa, Chairman.