Classes of service already provided by the street-car and the passenger automobile influence the expectations of the motorbus passenger regarding the quality of transportation service afforded by the motorbus. If an operator persuades people to ride in his motorbuses, it will be because they offer safety, economy, convenience and comfort to a greater degree than that offered by competitive transportation media. Since the public has demonstrated that, under favorable conditions, it will patronize the motorbus to an extent that yields a profit to the operators, the future success of this means of transportation lies wholly within the control of the motorbus builders and those who operate it. Of the factors that determine the degree of success attained, motorbus-body design bulks very large. Discussion of the subject is presented from the viewpoint of the passenger, as the motorbus approaches him, as he enters it and as he judges the quality of transportation it affords.
The author enumerates the distinctive features of buses designed for city, for inter-city and for country service and comments upon them, presenting illustrations of these types of bus. Steam and electric motive power are discussed and the chassis components for bus service are considered in some detail. The general types of bus body are treated, together with the influences of climatic conditions and local preferences. Comfort and convenience factors are discussed at some length and the problems of heating, lighting and ventilation are given constructive attention. Fare-collection devices and methods are commented upon, and the State and local legal regulations are referred to in connection with their effect upon bus operation. Illustrations are included and a table showing condensed specifications for city buses is presented.
The dimensions of automobile-body seats receive consideration with regard to the features that are conducive to comfort. A diagram is presented upon which the dimensions treated are indicated, and a tabulation of seat dimensions of 12 representative cars is included. Comments are made upon the factors influencing seat dimensions, as well as recommendations regarding the different desirable dimensions. The considerations are inclusive of cushion height, depth and slope, leg-room and head-room, upholstery shape and softness of trimming, foot-rest and other control-element locations, factors influencing entrance and egress provisions, seat widths and advisable front and rear-compartment heights. The author recommends the standardization of a range of locations for the different control elements.
Two serious problems confront the automotive industry in connection with the present fuel shortage, the securing of a much higher degree of fuel economy with existing equipment and the matter of future designs. These problems are of nearly equal importance. Because its fuel bill constitutes the second greatest item of expense for the Fifth Avenue Coach Co., operating in New York City, it is constantly experimenting with devices of various kinds to improve fuel economy. Of the different devices that it has tested, the thermostatic temperature-control for the carbureter appears to afford greatest possibilities of saving, and the author presents the results of tests of this device in actual service on motor vehicles.
Progress toward a single standard type of car is not being made. Many different styles will continue to be needed to satisfy requirements of taste, ability, power and speed. Open cars, the backbone of production in the early days, are less in demand. Enclosed cars are already to be had in practically every grade. While there is a trend toward lighter weight the demand for increased luxury and greater safety makes it seemingly impossible to reduce weight in either equipment or body. Just what the result of this conflict of ideas is to be is not easy to predict. The author foresees considerable improvement in design and workmanship, a gain in economy of fuel, greater use of oil in lubricating chassis parts besides the engine, increased durability and fewer objectionable noises.