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Old 11th January 2012, 23:59   #16
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

Given today's comfortable Volvos and Mercs, i feel a driver can do 500-600 kms at the max. More than this he is strained and less attentive.

Government must somehow "mandate" the driver to rest after 12 hrs of driving. In US i think the big rigs / 18 wheelers are needed to rest for 8 hrs after a maximum driving of 12 hrs or something.
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Old 12th January 2012, 00:28   #17
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

I do not know if this is true, but I was told by a relative of mine (who incidentally is an expert driver himself) that as a driver you should have a very accurate idea about the width and the length of your vehicle and you should also be able to gauge exactly where the front left-hand side of your vehicle is. Then it's about knowing how to gauge the "gap" and position your vehicle accordingly. It's all intuitive. I guess most of what these guys do is sheer gut instinct.

Someone who happens to be residing in/around Kothamangalam in Kerala will be familiar with this tour operator who operates pilgrimage trips to Velankanni from Kothamangalam on Friday evenings. I was told by this above-mentioned relative of mine that there is a chap in his 20s who accompanies the bus (a Prakash-built Leyland A/C) who would hardly be 5 feet tall (with his footwear on). He acts as the cleaner until the bus reaches Walayar, where he gets off the bus and dashes off to the checkpost to complete some formalities. Once he is back, he gets behind the wheel (remember, he is only 5 feet tall). This fellow rolls up some tobacco and packs it within his gums along with some paan paraag (he has a stockpile of paan paraag with him). And then he is all ready. From Walayar he pilots the bus all the way up to Thanjavur, easily doing 100-plus kph en route. He is so accurate at judging the gap that sometimes he can carry out an overtake with just enough space between the bus and the vehicle being overtaken. As he drives, he keeps spitting out the paan-tobacco and keeps on opening fresh packets. He says it is this paan-tobacco mixture which keeps him awake in the night when he is at the wheel.
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Old 12th January 2012, 01:49   #18
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

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Originally Posted by LPT2625 View Post
fellow rolls up some tobacco and packs it within his gums along with some paan paraag (he has a stockpile of paan paraag with him). And then he is all ready. From Walayar he pilots the bus all the way up to Thanjavur, easily doing 100-plus kph en route. He is so accurate at judging the gap that sometimes he can carry out an overtake with just enough space between the bus and the vehicle being overtaken. As he drives, he keeps spitting out the paan-tobacco and keeps on opening fresh packets. He says it is this paan-tobacco mixture which keeps him awake in the night when he is at the wheel.
well doesnt sound too confidence inspiring. Eating pan/tobacco is a individual's choice. but driving like a maniac at 100kmph, isnt going to go well with me atleast. I am sorry, I am personally not a huge fan of such driving.
I have travelled extensively between Bangalore-chennai using many of the operators. One thing I found was, ABT, one of the few decent operators, started off by having two drivers, but off late, in my last few days(around early 2011) i saw they too shifting to single driver mode. But the driver takes a break around 2.30 - 3.30 a.m. Which means, they start at 21.30/2230 drive untill 0330 - 5 hrs/6hrs and with a half an hour or fifteen minutes tea break, continue untill 0530 hrs till they reach their depot in chennai. Safe enough I would say.
The other single driver operator, i found to be quite sensible is the KSRTC(airvats, merc, ambaari and club class guys) not talking about the Rajahamsa/sheetal. I once took the KSRTC to mumbai, from bangalore, they were quite good with two drivers regularly switching (read 5-6hrs) in a total of 15hour journey. I also heard from the conductor(third crew member, and he never drives) that they reach mum at 1500hrs and return at 1730hrs.
Off-late, I get to hear a lot bad things about KPN(even i have had some bad experiences with them). From my personal experience, I see most of the volvo drivers are not fully trained and are aware of features their vehicles have.
Eg.: KSRTC Merc: Moonsoon time, A/C fully on, freezing cold inside, raining outside: Wipers on, but the windshield was quite often getting mist, driver used a towel to clean his portion of windshield(all while driving at 70kmph), and kept waking the conductor up, to clean the other half. Solution: Should have used the windshield demister! A feature available in volvo and merc buses.
My opinion is there are lot of good drivers(driving for so many years without a single incident) but they are skilled drivers in my opinion and not good drivers. A good driver, is one, who obeys the rules, uses the facilities in the vehicle as it is supposed to be used, maintains a decent speed(70-80kmph) and not wrongly drive the machine(slogging, always on highbeam, honking nonstop, overtaking from wrong side) and most important have patience.

Last edited by AlphaKilo : 12th January 2012 at 01:50.
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Old 12th January 2012, 03:38   #19
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

This thread reminds me of one of my expereinces when i was a studying near Shirdi.

There were no tickets available for Neeta, ST and i only managed to find a seat in the driver cabin of a Neeta BUS.

It was very exciting to see the way they drove at night.

It was quite scary since i was at front, there was a ST ASAID which was being driven spiritedly and both the drivers were hell bent on overtaking each other that night, that was a intresting battle and it stopped after reaching nasik.

After Nasik it was total slam bang style driving on NH-3 till mumbai.
And however bad it might be , but its Gutkha and the oncoming glare which keeps them driving.
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Old 12th January 2012, 06:53   #20
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Default Judgement & anticipation

Quote:
Originally Posted by LPT2625 View Post
I do not know if this is true, but I was told by a relative of mine (who incidentally is an expert driver himself) that as a driver you should have a very accurate idea about the width and the length of your vehicle and you should also be able to gauge exactly where the front left-hand side of your vehicle is. Then it's about knowing how to gauge the "gap" and position your vehicle accordingly. It's all intuitive. I guess most of what these guys do is sheer gut instinct.
Driving is about that:

1. Judgement.
You should know your vehicle, what you can do safely & what you cannot

2. Anticipation.
Knowing / sizing up what the other driver will do.

You drive based on your anticipation & judgement. You need to know what your vehicle can do. And then do it confidently.

These drivers also rely on the other driver's driving. An un-said, un-stated understanding that each will be consistent in the way they are driving, in the moves they are making. That's why they keep driving like that. For you & me - we are a third party. They do this day-in & Day-out, and know each other's driving - It's about the approach, not a personal relationship.

The ghutka / tobacco use is wide-spread. That part is personal.
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Old 12th January 2012, 07:21   #21
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by LPT2625 View Post
Someone who happens to be residing in/around Kothamangalam in Kerala will be familiar with this tour operator who operates pilgrimage trips to Velankanni from Kothamangalam on Friday evenings. I was told by this above-mentioned relative of mine that there is a chap in his 20s who accompanies the bus (a Prakash-built Leyland A/C) who would hardly be 5 feet tall (with his footwear on). He acts as the cleaner until the bus reaches Walayar, where he gets off the bus and dashes off to the checkpost to complete some formalities. Once he is back, he gets behind the wheel (remember, he is only 5 feet tall). This fellow rolls up some tobacco and packs it within his gums along with some paan paraag (he has a stockpile of paan paraag with him). And then he is all ready. From Walayar he pilots the bus all the way up to Thanjavur, easily doing 100-plus kph en route. He is so accurate at judging the gap that sometimes he can carry out an overtake with just enough space between the bus and the vehicle being overtaken. As he drives, he keeps spitting out the paan-tobacco and keeps on opening fresh packets. He says it is this paan-tobacco mixture which keeps him awake in the night when he is at the wheel.
Have seen this on some buses plying on Bangalore Goa route.

I know couple of drivers on Bangalore-Goa route. One of them(Volvo driver) is of my dads age and the road tales they have to share are sometimes thrilling. Its an amazing experience sitting in cleaners seat and enjoy the mighty Volvo tackling the ghats.

There are also some morons driving these buses, specially Non volvos very rashly.
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Old 12th January 2012, 10:03   #22
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

While there are bad drivers among bus drivers as well, just like how their are bad drivers among all categories of drivers.

One cannot blame them alone for being rash or doing dangerous overtakes. Take the case of private buses plying between destinations on regular duty, they try to spend as much time as possible in each stop so that they maximize their revenues.

Though more collection means more incentive for them the owners also apply more pressure on them for increased collections.

Same is the case with truck drivers and long distance bus drivers, the companies try to reduce cost by opting for longer single driver routes etc.

Just like how people who work on night shift BPO's have adjusted their routine to the timings, the bus drivers also have adjusted their routines to night time driving.

I have seen SRM Volvo drivers prepare their drinking water mixed with Glucose before they leave for the journey, so they might not have their Redbulls' etc but they do know how to organize themselves in terms of staying awake enough while driving.
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Old 12th January 2012, 11:20   #23
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

Few years back i happened to travel in the driver cabin of a private operator from salem to bangalore at night. It was some festive time and did not get seats in any other bus. But i enjoyed it chatting with the driver and cleaner not sleeping for a minute till i reached bangalore.

The driver is in 60's and his cool driving and overtaking absolutely reveals his experience and his knowledge on his machine. he did good speed too. But one thing that bothered me was he smoked around 10 cigarettes in that 4 hours of journey. he even told me that without cigarettes he cant manage the night driving. But for living he somehow has to do it even at this age. He was actually driving from tiruppur and i boarded in salem, not sure home many cigarettes he smoked from Tiruppur to Salem. He is a lone driver and i had seen him many times in the same route and operator as a lone driver.

But now i am not seeing him with that operartor for some time. Hope he retired. It really needs at some point.

I had also seen a lone driver from Bangalore to Kodaikanal and the same driver returning back with just 4 hours of rest in between. But not all the time, this route mostly has 2 drivers.
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Old 3rd February 2012, 23:42   #24
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

A few days back, I traveled from Pune to Bangalore in PNQ-MYSORE1505 KSRTC Airawat Club Class.
Both the drivers were fantastic in handling the powerful beauty. That day I sat besides them chatting about their life on the roads and felt a rush of gratitude towards them. These guys are away from the family for half of the month, they rarely are with there family even in festive seasons.
That day the bus never went over 85 kmph, there was no sudden braking and no night time honking. We just glided to Bangalore and that too in 14 hrs. All I can say that I could sleep with peace of mind that day.
kudos to them.
Cheers!
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Old 4th February 2012, 23:52   #25
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Given today's comfortable Volvos and Mercs, i feel a driver can do 500-600 kms at the max. More than this he is strained and less attentive.

Government must somehow "mandate" the driver to rest after 12 hrs of driving. In US i think the big rigs / 18 wheelers are needed to rest for 8 hrs after a maximum driving of 12 hrs or something.
There are similar laws in UK also, they use some sort of a smart card, captured reading of when the driver started the bus, and how long he has been driving.
Once we went to Paris by bus, due to heavy traffic it took almost 8 hrs to reach there. We had to cancel the night drive around paris, as the driver refused to drive since he already completed 8 hrs. He has to take few hours break before he can start driving.
I am not sure making any similar laws in india will help, we are already struggling to enforce the current laws in India
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Old 5th February 2012, 10:52   #26
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

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Originally Posted by LPT2625 View Post
..... Then it's about knowing how to gauge the "gap" and position your vehicle accordingly. It's all intuitive. I guess most of what these guys do is sheer gut instinct.

....... As he drives, he keeps spitting out the paan-tobacco and keeps on opening fresh packets. He says it is this paan-tobacco mixture which keeps him awake in the night when he is at the wheel.
Heavy vehicles, in my driving experience are always inviting to drive, in the context of front end visibility, LH corner visibility and, yes in fact manageable during high speeds as comparable to many of the best selling passenger cars.
Its hard but true.

A two sided mirror - even the smaller ones, and a properly lit headlamps are much sufficient to launch the vehicle.

Coming to your opinion regarding shorter drivers, actually they also have a better road visibility and it doesn't really require driver to be taller to drive a CV- this is opposite to driving a Indica as even a tallest driver will have a blind spot in the LH corner.

A proper( even with a moderate experience) driver can park a heavy vehicle behind other vehicle in less than a feet. Similarly the LH corner is also highly visible and will be ease to manage a turn.

What takes time is, to manage a lengthier vehicle as opposed to a normal vehicle - here I am not speaking about Tractor trailer but with the rigid vehicles category - In buses 12M /13.7M Vs normal 10M/11M buses.
Thats the reason in many cases, the rear portion, near last window you are likely to see a lengthier scratch.

Here manage to be read in two aspects:
-Managing the length of the vehicle during normal overtaking and cornering inside city and traffic condition
-Managing the length of the vehicle during a U turn.

Even after several years of driving there are many drivers(Including STU and Private) who are allergic towards driving lengthier vehicles. (Plz don't quote examples from KaSRTC and from Pvt drivers, as their population is still minuscule compared to the other side)

The next big part is driving the Tractor Trailers. Here the beautiful part of driving is not managing the length of the vehicle(as they have come long way in driving) but reversing the mammoth as its always a tricky job in reversing a trailer. Many of you will not believe it and you can try it with a normal agri tractor and its small trailer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BulZire View Post
...
I had also seen a lone driver from Bangalore to Kodaikanal and the same driver returning back with just 4 hours of rest in between. But not all the time, this route mostly has 2 drivers.
Which operator you are speaking about?
I am not aware of such timing - returning back in 4 hours.
normally from Hosur it takes ~ 10 hours - you can add another 2 hours from Blore.

Last edited by Ashley2 : 5th February 2012 at 10:54.
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Old 5th February 2012, 11:41   #27
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

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... you can try it with a normal agri tractor and its small trailer.
it's a pain to reverse a tractor-trailer. A rigid truck of the same length must be so easy to reverse, compared to the trailer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
returning back in 4 hours.
normally from Hosur it takes ~ 10 hours - you can add another 2 hours from Blore.
What he meant was, the bus, after reaching Bangalore will start its return trip to Kodai within 4 hours. The time available to the driver to take rest is ~4hrs, not the running time.
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Old 5th February 2012, 13:32   #28
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

Oh man, slightly OT, but this reminded me of the days when I used to work in a call-center. Even though the cab-drivers there are running short distances compared to the inter-state drivers, they drive without proper rest. Its a big call-center(Sutherland) and there were multiple shifts ending with only an hour or two hours gaps between them. The cabs would be just back from a 'drop' trip when the guys from the next shift will be ready for the next 'drop' trip. This happens throughout the day and the drivers sleep for one or two hours that they get between each of these trips. Till its their day off, they literally spend most of the week in the campus.

I still remember one trip where the driver was constantly shaking his head in every 2 or 3 minutes. I was the only person in the cab and I asked him to take rest and took over the wheel from him (even though it was not allowed). He told me he hadn't slept properly in the last 2 or 3 days and he went back to the office only after getting some more sleep after parking the car near my house. During the 10 months I was there, there was also cases of 2 or 3 minor accidents that happened because the cab-drivers falling asleep. I think thats how it is with most of the big call-centers where they have the transport operations outsourced to external travel agencies.
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Old 5th February 2012, 15:47   #29
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

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What he meant was, the bus, after reaching Bangalore will start its return trip to Kodai within 4 hours. The time available to the driver to take rest is ~4hrs, not the running time.
I understood that!
I meant, as the travel time itself is only 12 hrs max, driver will have atleast 8 hrs to rest.
There are two services from BLR-Kodaikanal provided by KPN and Parveen.
I think both are routed throu Palani only.
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Old 5th February 2012, 16:21   #30
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Default Re: Interstate Night Service Drivers

I used to always travel by long-distance buses during my childhood days 3 decades+ ago, but have not done much of bus travelling nowadays. My observations are as a motorist on the highway at night.

Undoubtedly, most of the bus drivers are extremely skilled - and may have their own compulsions for driving fast - but along with SUV taxis, these buses are the most dangerous vehicles on Indian highways. They do not dim lights. They overtake rashly. They drive at excessive speeds. They do not respect lane discipline. I pity trucks on 2-laned roads who are forced to do emergency braking as these bus monsters overtake at will directly on the path of the oncoming trucks. In recent times, I have seen only VRL buses drivers behaving responsibly on the highways. It is never an issue of driver training, it is always individual drivers who relish the speeds at which their monsters can be driven.
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