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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

Which System is the Most Simple?

Which System is the Most Simple?

Another claim that I made for the Stage System is that it is much more simple, and would be more easily understood by the public than the present system. This the officers denied, and asserted that the existing system is far simpler and more easy to understand. As a specimen of what they said, I quote from Mr. C. Hudson's (the present submanager) evidence:—

376. Hon. Mr. Richardson (to Mr. Hudson): Is there sufficient information given in this scheme to enable you to form an opinion as to how the proposals with regard to passengers would work out in practice?—With regard to passengers, I think it would be necessary to make a rate-book for every station. We cannot ask the ticket-clerks to count up the number of stages to arrive at the fare: it would be necessary to give them a rate- page 14 book stating the rate from their station to every station they were allowed to book to.

377. Would that be a great simplification of the present system?—; it would not be so simple.

378. Hon. Major Atkinson: But the passengers would under-stand it more easily—would they not?—I do not think so, because we publish a mileage fare, and they have only got to refer to the time-table for the number of miles to calculate the fare to any station they wish to go to. Then, in addition, we post up in our stations a clear table, giving the passenger, parcels, and other rates to each point from that station. There would be no difference so far as the public is concerned.

379. Mr. Maxwell: How long do you suppose it would be before the rate-books could be got in order?—I do not think, on serious consideration, you could start in less than a year.

380. And a very large outlay would have to be incurred all over the system?—Yes, undoubtedly.

See also Questions and Answers 475-479, and four following, which for some reason have not been numbered.

Mr. W. M. Hannay also gave the following evidence to the same effect.

574. Mr. Macandrew (to Mr. Hannay): Assuming that the charges under Mr. Vaile's system were regulated to yield as much revenue, would you consider the system preferable?—No; I do not see any kind of advantage in it.

575. Would it not be simpler?—No; of course Mr. Vaile himself has said that he has not gone into details; but there is nothing I can see in the general plan to make it simpler.

576. I understand, then, that not only would there be no advantage from the change, but you are of opinion that there would be a decrease of revenue?—That would, of course, entirely depend upon what the rates were; but I think there would be a decrease of revenue.

608. Hon. Mr. Richardson (to Mr. Hannay): Comparing this Stage System with the present mileage system, which do you think would be more easily understood by the general public)—I do not think the Stage System would be any more intelligible. As a matter of fact, passenger fares are now posted up outside every booking-office, and the passenger has only to refer to it.

609. Mr. Grant stated that it would be absolutely necessary to have rate-books at every station?—That is so. Each station would require to be supplied, because the rates from every station would be different.

610. Mr. Macandrew: Would not the rates have to be posted up under the Stage System?—Yes, to be intelligible to the public.

611. Hon. Mr. Richardson: Then, under the present system, one scale of rates answers the purpose all over, and in the other case a special list would be required for each station.

page 15

When giving this evidence, Mr. Hannay forgot that he had already made the following awkward admission:—

541. Mr. Maxwell (to Mr. Hannay): Is not the English system made more extensive by more varied traffic?—Yes, that is so; and when I commenced in New Zealand our tariff was a very simple one—very nearly as simple as Mr. Vaile's—but additions were forced upon us from time to time. The demands of the public, and different kinds of traffic springing up, necessitated the making of regulations to guide our staff.

Mr. Hannay's statement that the stage rates from every station would be different, is absolutely untrue. They are the same from every station, as the distance-table given will prove. In this instance, also, time has brought its revenge.

In August, 1888, a number of capitalists joined me * in making an offer to the Government to lease the Auckland section of railways for the purpose of trying the Stage System. We offered to give substantial security that we would maintain the lines and rolling-stock to the satisfaction of the Government, and under the supervision of their own officers; to give an increase of revenue to the Government, a decrease of charges to the public, and after the first year to hand back the lines on receiving a six-months' notice to do so. The Government refused our offer, but the Minister sent us a letter, evidently written by Mr. J. P. Maxwell, in which he requested us to send in a complete tariff of all our charges, also our working regulations, and to make these "accord" with the existing railway working.

Fancy the absurdity! If I would do this, then our proposals should have the "fullest consideration."

To enable us to carry out this very modest request, they sent us a copy of their tariff, their by-laws, and a distance-table.

I had never seen a distance-table before, but was very glad to get hold of this one, for I saw at a glance that it placed me in a position to prove the untruthfulness of the evidence given by Messrs. Hannay and Hudson. To show that I am fully justified in saying this, I have only to refer to the accompanying photograves of the distance-table referred to, the distance-table under the Stage System, and the diagrams of the Auckland, Napier, Wellington, New Plymouth, and Humnui-Bluff sections of railway.

A distance-table, I may explain, is a table which enables the officials to calculate the distance from any station to any other station on the section of railway to which the table page 16
Railway Distance Table-Auckland Section. 1897.

Railway Distance Table-Auckland Section. 1897.

page break
Stage Stations. And for following Intermediate Stations. 1 Helensville ... Ohirangi—Paeroa—Woodhill—Rewiti—Waimauku ... ... ... 2 Waimauku ... Kumeu—Taupaki ... ... ... 3 Taupaki ... Waitakerei—Swan son—Henderson ... 4 Henderson ... Waikomiti—New Lynn—Avondale—Mount Albert ... ... ... 5 Mt. Albert ... Morningside—Kingsland—Mount Eden—Auckland ... ... ... ... 6 Auckland ... Newmarket—Remuera—Green lane—Ellerslie—Penrose ... ... ... ... 7 Penrose ... Te Papapa—Onehunga—Westfield—Otahuhu—Papatoitoi—Ma nurewa ... ... 8 Manurewa Papakura—Hunua—Drury ... ... 9 Drury ... Runciman—Paerata—Pukekohe ... ... 10 Pukekohe ... Buckland—Tuakau—Whangarata—Pokeno—Mercer—Whangamarino—Wairangi—Rangiriri—Ohinewai—Huntly—Taupiri—Ngaruawahia—Pukete—Te Rapa—Frankton ... ... ... 11 Frank ton Junc. Rukuhia—Ohaupo—Lake Road—Ngaroto—Te Awamutu—Te Puhi—Kawa—Kiokio Otorohanga—Hangatiki—Te Kumi—Te Kuiti ... ... ... ... 12 Te Kuiti ... As above ... ... ... ... 13 Te Aroha ... Hamilton, E.&.—Ruakura Junc.—Eureka—Motumaho—Morrinsville—Murray—Tatua—Waitoa—Waihou—Te Aroha ... 14 Oxford ... Hamilton, E. & W.—Ruakura Junc.—Eureka—Motumaoho—Morrinsville—Kiwitahi—Walton—Waharoa—Matamata—Manga-whara—Okoroire—Oxford ... ... 15 Cambridge ... Hamilton, E. & W.—Ruakura Junc.—New-stead-—Tamahere—Fencourt—Cambridge 16 Lichfield ... Helensville NOTE.—In reading this Table for intermediate stations, when going from NORTH TO SOUTH, read from the STAGE STATIONS in the second column. When going from SOUTH TO NORTH read from the STAGE STATIONS in Italics in the third column. Remember the fare is to be calculated for each Stage Station you pass AND FOR THE STATION YOU ARRIVE AT. The figures used in this Table are of the same size and character as those used in the Distance Table, of which I give a photo-grave. 1 Waimauku Taupaki 2 1 Henderson 3 2 1 Mount Albert 4 3 2 1 Auckland 5 4 3 2 1 6 5 4 3 2 1 Penrose Manurewa 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Drury 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Pukekohe 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Frankton Junc. Te Kuiti 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 Te Aroha 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 1 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 1 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 3 2 TABLE OF PASSENGER FARES For the whole of the Auckland Section of Railways. All Goods Rates would be calculated in the same manner. No. of Stages. First-Class Fare. Second-Class Fare. 1 -/6 -/4 2 1/- -/8 3 1/6 1/- 4 2/- ¼ 5 2/6 1/8 6 3/- 2/- 7 3/6 2/4 8 4/- 2/8 9 4/6 3/- 10 5/- ¾ 11 5/6 3/8 12 6/- 4/- Oxford Cambridge Lichfield 1 1 2

Stage System Distance Table

applied to the Auckland Section as it was in September, 1887.

page 17

Note in explanation of Diagram of Stage System.—This is a, photo-engraving of A large-scale diagram, on which, the proposed fares were printed in red, unci the present fares in black. It will, however, bo understood by remembering that the stage fares are in every instance the lowest prices.

Auckland Section Railways stage fares

Vaile's Stage System

This Diagram not only shows the direction and length of every journey that can be taken on the Auckland lines, but also all the fares that can be charged. The Time-table could easily be published on the opposite page. To give the same information on the present system takes nine (9) pages of Bradshaw.

page 18

Note in explanation of Diagram of Stage System.—This is a photo engraving of a large-scale diagram, on which the proposed fares were printed in red, and the present fares in black. It will, however, be understood by remembering that the stage fares are in every instance the lowest prices.

New Plymouth and Wellington, Napier and Wellington

Vaile's Stage System

page 19

Note in explanation of Diagram of Stage System.—This is a photo engraving of a large-scale diagram, on which the proposed fares were printed in red, and the present fares in black. It will, however, be understood by remembering that the stage fares are in every instance the lowest prices.

Vaile's system for South Island

Note.—This Diagram was laid down in 1885. Since then the movement of population will no doubt have necessitated an alteration in the stages. It will, however, serve to show the system.

page 20

refers. The one of which I give a copy relates to the Auckland section, and the stations on it on the 12th Sepember, 1887.

It contains 105 columns, comprising between them 22,930 figures, and rendering necessary the calculation of 11,025 different fares for each class of passengers. That is to say, taking first and second class single, and first and second return, 44,000 different tickets for only 236 miles of railway.

The distance-table under the Stage System, for the same section and stations, as will be seen, contains only fifteen (15) columns, comprising between them but 132 figures, and with only 144 possible charges to calculate, and if the use of distance tickets is discontinued, and stage tickets only used—which is what I should prefer—then there would be only two (2) different tickets for each class in use on the whole of the New Zealand lines. Yet Messrs. Hannay and Hudson deliberately gave evidence that the Stage System was the most complicated of the two.

I compiled this stage distance and fare table in one evening. All that would be required in actual working would be a printed copy or copies of it for each station; these could easily be sup plied in a day, and yet Mr. Hudson was not ashamed to give evidence that, "on serious consideration," he did not think this information could be supplied in less than a year. Wonderful "expert" evidence, truly! It is not possible for me to believe that he thought he was telling the truth. But perhaps I ought to be charitable, and remember that he might require to be "seriously considering," while a more intelligent man would do the work a dozen times over.

In reply to a leading question from Mr. Maxwell, he also stated that preparing these stage-rate tables would "undoubedly" incur a "very large outlay all over the system."

As there can be no doubt that the present sub-manager of our railways has largely influenced them since his appointment, I shall only be performing a public duty if I again direct attention to some further proofs he has given of his utter inability to deal with them intelligently.

In Parliamentary Paper I.-9, 1886, at question and answer No. 422, the following occurs:—Question by Mr. Maxwell to Mr. Hudson: Do you think that-these fares (Vaile's) would have the effect of largely encouraging the settlement of the country?—Answer: The view I take of that is, that if a man goes to settle in the country he makes one journey to the place he proposes to live at, and then the railway has done with him—that is, as far as long distances are concerned. Cheap fares would lead people to live in the suburbs and travel to and from their daily work in town; but I do not think that long-distance cheap fares will ever induce the settlement of the country, because the general expenses of moving about are so large that the difference in fares would not lead to more travelling, time always being the principal object with 'business men.'

page 21

Question No. 453: You assume that? (Mr. Hudson had been contending that the proposed reductions would not lead to increased traffic.)—I do, because I think the principal number of single short-distance fares issued are to people who travel to the ports to go away by sea. These people do not require return tickets. Therefore I take that as the basis of my calculation. Mr. Vaile's average ticket is 5d., ours is 7½d., for the same distance. I do not think that in New Zealand that difference would have any appreciable effect.

May I ask why they issue return tickets at a reduction of 25 per cent., if a reduction of 33? per cent, would not, increase the traffic?

What a muddle!

Is it any wonder that we suffer when a man like this controls our railways. He calls himself a "railway expert," and he tells us that when a settler has made his first journey to his farm that then the railway has practically "done with him," that a reduction of a third in passenger fares will not increase the traffic, and, most marvellous of all, he tells us that he takes as the basis of his calculation of what work can be done on a railway, his belief that the principal number of single short-distance fares are issued to those who go away by sea. Surely such a wonderfully firm "basis" as this was never heard of before. Experts! Oh, dear!

It was Mr. Hudson, not Mr. Grant, who made this statement.

* These were all well known as men of considerable, and most of them of large capital, and we were prepared to go into the matter thoroughly.

The correspondence with the Government in reference to this matter was published in the "New Zealand Herald," of the 11th February, 1889. It is also published among the Parliamentary Papers.