The Case for Road Transport in Rhodesia
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The term “road transport” is very wide and includes not only both passenger and freight traffic, but a very wide range of organisations and an equaly wide range of traffic under both headings. It will however, I think, be your wish that I should confine my remarks on this occasion to dealing in the main with the transport of general goods and with some aspects of the relative position of rail and road carriers. In the first place, perhaps I should remind you of a basic fact which is sometimes overlooked when transport matters are under consideration; namely that Transport is a service to the rest of the economy and is not an end in itself. In order to be able to consider some of today’s problems in their proper perspective, it will perhaps be useful to review briefly the various stages in the development of transport. The earliest vehicle was probably a form of wheelbarrow, closely followed by the cart and wagon. Over the centuries these primitive units were not subject to any material change other than in relation to the carriage of passengers, eventually giving rise to a highly developed system of stage coaches supplemented, in the private sector, by many elegant equipages in the form of barouches, phaetons, post chaises and the like. All this development whether on the passenger or on freight side was however restricted by the motive unit, namely the horse.