Tramcars and Cattle Trucks.
THE people of Auckland are a long-suffering lot. This fact is known, if not from pole to pole, at least from the North Cape ■ to the Bluff. The majority of casual strangers who sojourn within our , gates are apt to comment — f requenti ly with quite rude remarks — upon [ Aucklanders' indifference to their i own interests and apathy upon mat--1 ters that vitally affect them. Wraths ful tourists rush to their inkpots » and, with caustic pens, flood the pub- . lie press with inky criticism on the j apathy of Auckland. And even . the most patriotic Aucklander would > find it difficult to give a satisfactory . reply to such criticism. For there can be no doubt that both criticism and comment are based on a solid foundation of unquestionable facts.
, Last week there were races at Elf lerslie, and, in spite of the moral , frothings of the anti-gambling fad- , dists, a very large number of Aucki landers and visitors were wicked - enough to patronise the sport. The - majority were patriotic enough to 3 patronise the trains that a progres--1 sive Government had plaoed at their - disposal. Unfortunately, in this 3 instance, as in many others, patriot- - ism didn't pay, because, while $ there were undoubtedly two or 3 three of the regulation carriages - available, most of the accommoda--3 tion consisted, as usual, of cattle i trucks, which, while doubtless suit--1 able enough for the conveyance pf 1 the uncritical cow and the uncom- - plaining calf, hardly fulfil all the 3 requirements of the average travel- - ling human being. The carriage - accommodation was sacred to the b ladies — as ma.ny as could crowd . therein — while the mere ■ man fc valiantly stormed the cattle trucks - and tried to look pleasant, while the s ladies who couldn t find room in the i . carriages were also constrained to travel in the trucks.
The Newmarket tunnel is notr a particularly salubrious or odourlessspat even when one travels through it in a carriage with all the windows closed. Its atmosphere isreminiscent of Whakarewarewa and Freeman's Bay foreshore combined. But when the unfortunate traveller' is jolting along in a springless and open cattle truck, with the thermometer at anything between 90 and: 100, the horrors of the tunnel areincreased a hundredfold. Cabinet Ministers and visitors of alleged distinction are provided with special and luxurious carriages ; but the general public, who pay through thenose to maintain the railways are herded into cattle trucks. And the public, being long-suffering to the verge of idiocy, never — or hardly ever — say a word. * • •
Of course, there is a Tery simpleexplanation of the cattle truck policy of the Government. Evi- ,- dently, it is pandering to thewishes of the anti-gambling faddists, and is seeking to lessen the popularity of the racecourse by providing, totally inadequate means of conveyance. This is magnificent, but it is not business, nor is it diplomatic on the part of the Government. Even cattle truckers have votes, and arealways prepared to use them when necessary ; and they are not likely to look with any degree of approval upon a Government that tireabs them like cattle. We were told, some months ago, that when the Main Trunk was completed, extra carriages would be sent up from Wellington when required. Apparently, the Government doesn t think they are required on race days. Everything points to tke truth of our contention that the Government, by this original method, istrying to abolish gambling. It is hardly likely that the ruße will b» successful. * • •
Another matter to which Aucklanders, if they were not so apathetic, might well turn their attention is the condition of the tramcars. Even in these days of strenuoushustle, cleanliness is not an altogether undesirable factor, and it can hardly be contended that the tramcars are by any means as olean as they might be. The wifidows are bo obscured by a general accumulation of grime as to suggest the supposition that' the Tramway Company is adopting an economical method of frosting them. But why frost them, anyway ? People have a peculiar preference for windows that are transparent and not opaque. They also have an equally peculiar preference for cars that are clean. If the manager of the Tramway Company is wise, he will attend t» this matter without delay. Even the apathy of Aucklanders has a limit.
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TRANSITORY TROUBLES., Observer, Volume XXIX, Issue 17, 9 January 1909
TRANSITORY TROUBLES. Observer, Volume XXIX, Issue 17, 9 January 1909
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