Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/63

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Steam Omnibuses

vehicle traversed, and in trying to pass over this obstruction the steam carriage was disabled.

Other towns in England and Scotland hastened to follow the example of Gloucester, and in a few months the number of steam carriages in Great Britain was reduced considerably. Then Parliament passed a sheaf of local Turnpike Bills, imposing exceedingly heavy tolls upon steam carriages, with the result that soon all such vehicles had ceased to run in the provinces.

But no such thing as strewing the roads with loose stones was ever adopted in London, and Hancock's omnibuses had as fair a trail as any reasonable being could desire. The "Automaton," the best steam omnibus ever built, was, unmistakably a failure, although Hancock, by publishing some statistics of its first five months at work, gave people the impression that it was a great success. In the 712 journeys which it made it carried 12,761 passengers — not a remarkable number, considering that it ran under favourable circumstances. That is to say, that when it was found that the interest in the "Automaton" was waning on one route, it was put immediately to another. The majority of journeys