The magnitude of the business of the American Railway Express Co. requires that careful consideration be given to the details necessary for economical operation. The equipment comprises 12,755 vehicles, of which approximately one-third are motor-driven and have a carrying capacity of more than one-half the total. On July 1, 1918, when all the express companies were merged into one organization, it was found that the motor-vehicle equipment included 59 different makes and 131 different models. Among the 377 trucks built by one company were 21 different models. Diversity of equipment, of course, complicates the maintenance problem and adds to the cost. Additional expense is incurred frequently by purchasing and experimenting with parts offered by makers of accessories such as carbureters, spark-plugs, wheels and the like. Careful inspection, adequate lubrication and the adoption of “stitch-in-time” methods will save needless expense.
Exclusive of drivers' wages, depreciation, interest and insurance, the operating costs are shown to be distributed according to the following percentages: Gasoline, 30.00; cylinder oil, 2.25; tire costs, 2.50; painting, 1.30; body repairs, 4.75; chassis repairs, 35.20; and garage expenses, 24.00 per cent. In the eight largest cities of the Country, 6254 calls for assistance were received at the garages during the year; of these, spark-plug troubles comprised 5.9 per cent; ignition system, 9.1; carbureter, 8.6; gasoline lines clogged, 7.6; broken fans or fan-belts, 9.3; and steering-gears, clutches, transmissions, drive chains and tires about 3 per cent each. In the same cities, the calls for garage service by 722 electric trucks were less than two per truck per year. Exhausted batteries caused 19.1 per cent of the trouble; controllers, 12.1; steering-gear, 6.2; brakes, 5.0; drive chains, 11.6; field or armature burned out, 4.8; and springs, 1.3 per cent.