|WEB NEWS 61|
In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief at the archives move and ten years ago.
The last bus from Bretonside
- The imminent closure of Bretonside Bus Station in Plymouth, due to
the redevelopment of the site, has seen the few remaining bus
services still operating from there relocated to Royal Parade with
effect from Sunday 10th January 2016. Bretonside Bus Station was
opened in March 1958 to replace the emergency terminus that had been
created at the top of Union Street after the war.
The last buses to operate from Bretonside were the following Devon Bus services which all left from Stand 5.
49 Target Travel Plymouth City Centre – Heybrook Bay Monday - Saturday
91 CountryBus Plymouth – Ermington – Totnes Friday only
94 Target Travel Plymouth – Noss Mayo Monday - Saturday
875 Tally Ho! Plymouth – Bigbury-on-Sea Friday only
The last bus service operated was the 17.40 service 94 to Noss Mayo on Saturday 9th January 2016.
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Hauliers claim free enterprise is best
- In a review of road haulage in the South West in 1959, Mr W E
Foster, Area Secretary of the Road Haulage Association in Devon and
Cornwall summed up the opinion of its members in an article that
appeared in the Western Morning News dated 25th May. It makes
compelling reading half a century later when it is easy to compare
the changes that have since taken place in the industry. Drawing on
contemporary advertisements we reproduce the account as it was
Do you ever consider, when you hear the milkman call in the early morning, how that bottle of milk arrives on your doorstep with unfailing regularity day in and day out throughout the year? Seven days a week, without a break, from farms all over the country, milk is collected in churns by road vehicles and brought into dairies for bottling and redistribution by the dairymen. Something like a million gallons of milk a day is taken by road to dairies in Devon and Cornwall for processing and subsequent redistribution. I give this figure merely as an example of the growth of road transport over the years and to illustrate its high efficiency today.
Road transport as we know it today really came into its own after World War One, Then many ex-servicemen purchased ex-Government lorries with their gratuities. Many of them fell by the wayside while others succeeded. The 1926 General Strike proved a victory for road transport. With the cessation of railway services it became necessary to keep the nation’s supplies moving by some other means. Some 150 transport committees were set up across the country and services between the main towns were put into operation. Actually many of the service which started at that time were the forerunners of the regular trunk services which operate today. The Road Traffic Act of 1933 provided a stricter regulation of vehicles used on the transport of goods by road. This act provided that all goods vehicles had to be licensed as either A, B or C under the direction of a Licensing Authority in each traffic area throughout the country. Professional hauliers are now able to operate only under a very strict licensing system which makes it difficult for a would-be entrant to the industry. From that time we have had a organised system of haulage by road.
Throughout the 1939-45 war, despite many difficulties, it operated efficiently. Hauliers in the westcountry were responsible for the movement of much of the needs of the armed forces. With the introduction of nationalisation in 1947, every long-distance operator was taken over by the State-controlled British Road Services (BRS). After many years of campaigning by members of the Road Haulage Association, the industry got its freedom again in 1953 when the then government brought in a Bill to denationalise it. This allowed operators to repurchase vehicles from the Government Disposals Board, which carried five-year operating licences. The State-operated service was allowed to keep a number of vehicles, so that by 1959 free enterprise and State-owned services were competing with each other. The result being, of course, that this country has one of the most efficient networks of road services in the world.
From Devon and Cornwall there is a regular network of both long and short distance services, and a feature that has become prominent during the past few years is the redistribution of various goods from several centres across the region. The transport needs of the farming industry in the westcountry are also most important, in particular regard to broccoli and new potatoes. These commodities are cut and dug to as late as 4pm and are on sale in London and other markets the following morning. This can only be done by an efficient and up-to-date transport system.
The westcountry also makes its own contribution to the nation’s export drive and this refers, of course, to the ever-growing industry of china clay. Some 3,500 to 4,000 tons are moved daily by 150 lorries carrying this clay to various ports for export. The demand for this clay is ever increasing and in consequence the automatic need for more transport. Local industry could not be carried on without the assistance of road transport and the work we do could never be done as cheaply under State ownership. We are not afraid of competition. We know our work and our customers, and we offer them a specialised service they could not get except under free enterprise. We shall fight renationalisation tooth and nail, because we are confident that any further upset would completely disorganise transport services in this country. We want to be free to develop our resources without political interference. The haulage industry is still progressing inasmuch as new methods for carrying goods are being developed daily.
In spite of rising costs since 1953 (when the industry was denationalised) the charges made by road haulage have risen only minutely in comparison – no more than 6%. Private enterprise provides an efficient and cheap service. The customer realises that, he trusts us and we respect him. There would be none of that under nationalisation. The increased volume of traffic carried by road and inevitable increase in the size of vehicles, bring forward more than the need for a better and more up-to-date road system. Several major projects are already under way. Progress, however, is not keeping pace of the needs and we continue to press the Minister for adequate road facilities.
As an association dealing solely with road transport we were naturally delighted when authority was given for the Tamar Bridge to be commenced. Not only will this help to speed the traffic and so avoid the ever-increasing delays at the ferry crossings, but we are confident this bridge will open new fields for private industry, will help the unemployment problem and will bring greater prosperity to the westcountry.
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