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Reports 1951 & 1954

Reports 1951 & 1954 General Managers Report 1951

To the CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF GLASGOW

My Lord Provost, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In presenting this report I have again to draw your attention to the serious difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. Unfor­tunately this is not generally recognized by the travelling public who are too prone to overlook the good conduct, courtesy and sense of discipline of the older employees because of the deficiencies of the raw recruits.

During the last three months the Department carried out an analysis of the traffic resignations, and the following figures are of interest :—

traffic resignations from 24ra march, 1951 to ?th july, 1951.

Length of Service—

Less than 1 year ... ... ... ...514
1 year—3 years ... ... ... ...288
3 years—5 years ... ... ... ... 98
5 years—10 years ... ... ... . 26
10 years—20 years ... ... ... 38
Over 20 years ... ... ... ... ... 34

These figures indicate that the mainstay of the Department are the men and women with over 5 years' service. In particular, they show the large number of employees who only stay a few months in our employment ; and, if these persons are deficient in manners or uncouth in speech, it is an indication of a poor educational background.

Ill-informed members of the public from time to time refer to faulty schedule planning as a source of some of our difficulties : it should be understood, however, that running to a timetable is as important in a bus or tram undertaking as with a railway system and as desirable from the point of view of the travelling public. The Committee should know, however, that any complaint from the employees' Union about insufficient running time is invariably investigated and settled to the mutual satisfaction of the Union and the Department. So far as the buses are concerned, the timetables are also approved by the Licensing Authority before they are put into operation. A driver is never expected to act recklessly in order to make up lost time, nor is he censured if he is unable to keep to his time schedule because of traffic congestion. Traffic congestion, particularly during the dark, wet nights in November, December and January, is a major problem and is becoming progressively worse. The parked motor car along our main streets is the worst offender and is the principal cause of street congestion which is so harassing to the nerves of the public service driver. The Department has taken steps to assist in this matter, such as the removal of trams from the Albert Bridge and the proposed withdrawal of trams from the Victoria Bridge. Bus services, too, are terminated at such places as St. Enoch Square, Carlton Place, Broomielaw and Renfrew Street. We are at present studying the possibility of relieving the congestion on the George V Bridge. All these palliatives, however, cause inconvenience to the travelling public, and it is in the public interest that the question of parked vehicles should be vigorously examined.

The financial position of the Department must be a matter of serious concern to all. We are unable to meet the demands of the public for transport and are still expanding our services, so that the operation of the Department at a loss can only be a question of national or local expediency. The payment of large sums of money as interest on temporary loan cannot be justified, either from a financial or economic point of view.

General Manager.

General Managers Report 1954

To the CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF GLASGOW

my lord provost, ladies and gentlemen,

As forecast in my 1954 Report, further inflation has adversely affected the finances of the Department, so that instead of an anticipated surplus of £221,700 there was a deficit of £74,563. As shown on page 13 of the Report, further increases in wages occurred during the year at an annual cost of £384,890; this included a sum of £54,600 granted locally to drivers and conductors additional to the national awards. The Corporation also granted concession fares to aged persons which are estimated to cost £45,000 per annum.

A significant trend during the year has been the fall in traffic revenue as compared with the previous year—the first reduction since 1940. The drop in traffic revenue was £106,631. During the year the Corporation ceased to operate Routes Nos. 12, 14, 20, 41 and 44, which over a period of 14 ½ weeks represented a loss in revenue of £37,000, so that the drop in revenue due to fewer passengers travelling was £69,631. This trend is general throughout our industry and should receive special attention from the employees when negotiating for any further increases in wages.

Special reference is made on this subject in the 1954 British Transport Commission Report, paragraphs 11 and 12, viz. :—

"11. It was possible during 1954 to develop the policy of introducing greater flexibility into fare fixing. For example, more cheap excursion fares were introduced on the railways, usually available at mid-week and mainly for journeys over 100 miles ; cheap day return facilities were extended, in many cases with the object of encouraging off-peak travel, and an experiment in cheap evening fares was made in London.

12. But on the whole and notwithstanding these inducements, the tendency was for short distance travel to decline, and for short journeys to become still shorter. No doubt there were many influences at work, such as the growth of television, new housing, and increased private motoring in the urban areas. There was also the effect of the strike in October on London Transport bus services which lasted for a week. By contrast, the average receipt per railway journey outside the London Area was slightly higher than in 1953, and the average journey was slightly longer."

The Report also makes reference to Glasgow in paragraph 23 :

"23. The acute problems of passenger transport in Glasgow, to which the Report of the Inglis Committee to the Commission in 1951 had directed attention, were the subject of discussions with the Glasgow Corporation through a Joint Committee on which the Commission is represented. The Commission have taken the view that substantial electrification of certain suburban lines, as sug gested by the Inglis Report, is probably the only satisfactory solution to the City's transport difficulties. The large capital expenditure entailed could not however be undertaken without the collaboration of the Glasgow Corporation in certain important respects." . . ..

It is fair to remark that the problems of passenger transport mentioned are not peculiar to Glasgow and, indeed, London, with a great network of electrified railways, is probably more acutely affected by road traffic congestion than any other city. Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of the 1954 London Transport Report confirm this development :"

4. While 1954, therefore, saw many significant develop ments, the year was marked by increasing difficulties in the operation of the road services. Staff shortages became acute in certain important grades, and there were some labour difficulties. There was severe competition from private cars and other vehicles for road space. With plans already announced for a vast extension of motor vehicle manufacturing capacity, this competition is likely to become still more intense, and the operation of the public road services will become increasingly difficult. A solution must be found to this problem in the interests of the whole community, for the bus, which is much the most efficient user of road space for city transport, is in effect not being allowed to do its job. In fairness to its users, it should be allowed to do its job properly and effectively as a public service vehicle. In many parts of London it cannot do so to-day. ,

5. As a consequence partly of the frustration of the bus and partly of the increasing supply of private vehicles, the number of passengers carried on the road services again declined in 1954, while wage rates again rose. The competition for traffic, like the competition for road space, is likely to become more intense every year, and the bus will have to compete keenly with the private car in respect of speed, comfort, and price of the journey.

6. London Transport, like urban passenger transport every­where, has thus entered a critical period. A thoroughly efficient and effective system of public transport in London is as essential to the life of the community as it ever was. Great exertion, resource, and ingenuity are demanded of management and staff alike if the problems of our time are to be met successfully." It is, therefore, over-optimistic of the British Transport Commission to suggest that the only satisfactory solution to our City's transport difficulties is the electrification of certain suburban lines.Glasgow should have the advantage of being municipally controlled so that the various committees considering traffic congestion should be influenced to see that everything possible is accomplished in order that the public transport system may operate smoothly and efficiently.I would commend to those interested in this subject a study of the paper prepared by Mr. Nielsen, the General Manager of the Copenhagen Transport Department, for the 1955 International Congress at Naples ; in particular, the reference to the No Parking ban existing in Phila­delphia is of special interest.A graph showing the decline in passenger traffic as compared with the registration of new motor cars is shown on page 24. For comparison purposes a similar graph taken from the 1953-54 Annual Report of Sydney, Australia, is reproduced.Various economies have been effected during the year and, like other transport undertakings, the Department's Chemist and Engineers have collaborated with manufacturers to achieve the maximum efficiency in operation.The main economy in any transport undertaking is accomplished by a constant review of the services, and the yardstick for this is the revenue per mile for each route, which is examined weekly so that necessary adjustments can be made.The staffing position is often the main reason for not improving service frequency, but, if staff were available, the effect on the finances of the Department of improving the services is illustrated from the following example :—

service 42 barlanark.

Prior to 20th February, 1955. Costs 29-70d. -

Weekly Mileage 6,378 ; Frequency 10 minutes.

Average Revenue 29-Od. per mile.

Weekly Loss 70d. per mile = £18.

From 20th February, 1955. Costs now 29-82d.

Weekly Mileage 8,250 ; Frequency 8 minutes.

Average Revenue 27-Od. per mile.

Weekly loss 2 82d. per mile £97.

Therefore Improved frequency has resulted in increasing loss on this service by £79 per week =£4,108 per year.

Good progress has been made in the past year in the application of the Incentive Bonus Scheme to Larkfield Bus Works and Coplawhill Car Works and the Bus Works are 100 per cent, applied. In Coplawhill Car Works the only two sections which have not agreed to participation in the Incentive Bonus Scheme are the bodymakers and the painters who are working on the old established contract bonus scheme. The Engineering Section at Coplawhill, who were previously in receipt of 25 per cent, or 33J per cent, dependent upon the section, have come into the new scheme and satisfactory results are being obtained by the Department and increased earnings received by the employees.

The trial application has been completed at Possilpark Tram Depot and at Larkfield Garage and again results appear to substantiate the original forecast made by the Consultants which formed the basis of their appointment by the Corporation. Initial stages in the applica­tion to additional depots and garages have now been taken and progress should be much better in the new financial year, given active co­operation by the representatives of the workmen concerned.

At the Underground Section good progress has been made towards the full application at these workshops, although work was only started in April and the entire staff will be operating on bonus within the next few weeks.

The most significant feature of the application of this incentive scheme has been that, although full employment and the attraction of outside industry is still operative in the Glasgow area, the drift of tradesmen and all classes who are likely to be affected by the incentive scheme, has reached a complete halt. In general, the morale of the workshop and depot staffs is higher than existed under previous working conditions.

E. R. L. FITZPAYNE,
General Manager.

46 Bath Street,
Glasgow, C.2
5th September, 1955.