Monday, 13 April 2015

Tram Scandal

Luton open-topped tram No.7, c.1910-1920 [Z1306/75/18/22]

Tuesday 13th April 1915: The standard of Luton’s tram service has been criticized at a meeting of Luton Town Council. Necessary repairs to the track have not been made, and the Tramway Lessees’ district manager is to be summoned by the chairman of the Council and the Borough Engineer to impress on him the need to carry out the repairs as soon as possible. He has told the Borough Engineer that due to a shortage of men he would only be able to improve the London Road to Wardown service is the Dunstable Road service was reduced. One of the Aldermen has suggested that “we should be better with a dozen smart girls as conductors on the tramcars”. Another town councillor believed the problem was not scarcity of men but the low wages being paid. A conductor was earning only 4d an hour, and a driver only 5d. When any labourer could earn 5½d it was not likely that the tram company would be able to find men prepared to take jobs. Councillor Impey believed that “there are plenty of middle-aged men who, if paid decently, would be glad to take a job like that on.”

Councillor Bone condemned the service between Wardown and London Road as “most abominable” and wanted to know how many of the dozen tram cars purchased by the Council at a cost of £500 each were running. He suspected that four or five of them must be standing in the depot all day doing nothing. Alderman Staddon stated that the trams had become a public scandal, into which there should be a full investigation.

Source: Luton News, 15th April 1915

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