Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/62

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Omnibuses and Cabs

grief. Their chief offence was said to be covering the roads with loose stones some inches deep, a proceeding well calculated to injure the steam omnibuses. Unfortunately for the steam omnibus people's story, there is no explanation given of how it was that their rivals were permitted to interfere with the public roads. But how the rumour arose is easily explained. The inventors of steam carriages had proclaimed loudly that their vehicles would not wear out the road as quickly as ordinary carriages, for they had wide tyres and, of course, no horses' hoofs. But, before long, the local authorities came to the conclusion that the reverse was the case—that the steam carriages damaged the roads much more quickly than horse-drawn ones did—and grew anxious to put a stop to the increase of such vehicles. Gloucester had shown them in 1831 how that could be done. A steam carriage ran between Gloucester and Cheltenham twice a day for three months, but when the local authorities discovered that it was cutting up the roads, they came to the conclusion that strong measures would have to be adopted to put an end to the nuisance. So they strewed with loose stones nearly two feet deep the road which the horseless