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According to M. C. Lavollée— who always
speaks, be it remembered, with the year 1866
before his eyesthe number of lines taken by
the General Omnibus Company of London,
whose pre-eminence above other omnibus
proprietors is incontestable, is sixty-eight.
But he remarks that these lines would not
be considered so many from a French
point of view. When one route is the mere
continuation of another, these, according to
the French routes, constitute but one line;
whereas, it is otherwise here. Nor does the
competition of the other omnibus proprietors
necessarily bring with it increased accommodation
to the people of London, inasmuch as
several vehicles, independent of each other,
frequently take the same route, while some
districts are altogether unprovided. An
observation made on London Bridge on the
23rd of May, 1865, gave a transit of three
thousand nine hundred omnibuses between
the hours of nine A.M. and eleven P.M., that is
to say, about two hundred and seventy-eight
per hour, and more than four per minute.
An observation made on Westminster Bridge
on the 11th of the following June, and
consequently in precisely the same season, gave
a transit, between the corresponding hours, of
five hundred and forty omnibuses, that is to
say, about thirty-eight per hour. These
statistics forcibly illustrate what we have said
above with regard to favoured routes.

In London the omnibuses begin to run
between the hours of seven and eight in the
morning, and some of the latest return home
after midnight. But they are only in full
activity from ten A.M. until between nine and
ten P.M., after which latter hour there are no
omnibuses running, save those bound for the
remote suburbs. These are the statements
made by M. Lavollée. It is bold to question
so careful an observer, but we cannot help
remarking that ten o'clock in the morning seems
rather a late hour for the commencement of
expeditions to the city, and we know how
important these are in promoting omnibus traffic.

In Paris the omnibuses begin to run before
seven A.M., and most of the lines continue till
after midnight. Sunday increases the French
and diminishes the English traffic. This fact
does not touch the question of accommodation,
but is to be attributed to the different
habits of the two countries.

The number of passengers carried by one
vehicle is exactly the same in the two capitals,
viz., twenty-six; but the distribution is
different, inasmuch as there are twelve inside
places in the London, and fourteen in the Parisian
omnibus. Attempts have been made in
Paris to find room for two additional outside
passengers, and this would, of course, increase
the total number to twenty-eight.

The London omnibus, when empty, weighs
only twelve hundred and fifty kilogrammes,
whereas the Parisian vehicle weighs sixteen
hundred and twenty or sixteen hundred and
thirty, the former figure corresponding to the
newer, the latter to the older construction.

(The kilogramme, it may be observed, is equal
to rather less than two pounds and a quarter
avoirdupois). This apparent advantage on the
English side is attributed not only to the
greater number of passengers accommodated
inside the French vehicle, but also to the fact
that nearly two inches more space is allowed for
each person. Additional causes of the weight
of the Paris omnibus are to be found in the
dial, which registers the entrance of each
passenger; four lanterns, against which we can only
set off a small inside lamp; and a casing of
sheet iron, used to lessen the damage caused
by collisions. To the dial which we have just
mentioned, and which in French is called
"cadran," there is nothing analogous in this
country. All who know anything of Paris,
are familiar with it as a matter of course; for
those, not so privileged, the simple statement
will suffice, that it is an apparatus worked by
the mere entrance of the passengers, and that,
as it records the number of travellers by
mechanical means, over which the conductor has
no control, it necessarily makes fraud on his
part a sheer impossibility. We learn from
M. Lavollée that an attempt to introduce this
useful institution by the General Omnibus
Company of London was effectually resisted, not
only by the conductors but also by the public.
The fact is curious. That the conductors
disliked such an application of practical science
to the prevention of petty fraud seems natural
enough; and if one of those useful members
of society were represented on the stage of a
transpontine theatre, slapping his left side, and
declaring that the honour of a poor man was
far superior to machinery, we have not the
slightest doubt that a hearty round of applause
would manifest the satisfaction of the gallery.
But why the public, who are by no means the
necessary allies of the conductor, should be
equally sensitive on the subject, we cannot at
all understand. Is it possible that the sharp
tinkle, which marks the action of the machine,
is found objectionable to fastidious ears?

This odd sympathy between passengers and
conductors seems more difficult to explain, if
we consider that in London the passengers can
easily be defrauded by the conductor, whereas
in Paris the conductor can cheat no one.
The passenger in the French omnibus knows
that however far he goes, he has only to
pay thirty centimes (threepence) if he travels
inside, and twenty (twopence) if he sits on
the roof; but there is no such uniformity in
England, where prices are roughly measured
by distance. The absence of uniformity
favours imposition on travellers in general
and on foreigners in particular, as M. Lavollée
shrewdly observes, his remark being probably
grounded on his own personal experience.
The interior of the London omnibus is indeed
decorated with a certain tin placard, on which
the tariff of prices, as regulated by distance,
is stated in the blackest black and the whitest
white. But how many are the persons, English
or foreign, who can exactly comprehend the