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Old 24th September 2008, 15:42   #136
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Originally Posted by kcstheg View Post
Yes, the Garuda Buses do look like they have been in use since 1947 without any repairs. (the insides though, are not all that bad IMO)

I still prefer them because they are the only ones going out of hyderabad, that maintain time.
...and finally the APSRTC has gone for 30 more New Mark III Volvo's as per the driver of the Bus i took from Hyderabad to Bangalore.It was a new one ...at last.As for the old ones its in real bad shape.
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Old 25th September 2008, 00:06   #137
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I think Volvos don't make economic sense. Paying 70 lakhs for the bus and then recovering the cost does not make it viable
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Old 27th September 2008, 12:53   #138
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It makes pure economic sense...
People who had the disposable income to travel by road shied away from the bus when such vehicles were not there.
Come B7R and the scenario changes,
The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : KSRTC, BMTC have emerged as leading State-run transport corporations

"For every Volvo bus in operation, the expectation is that it would help in displacing at least 20 cars and around 40 autorickshaws. At present, such buses are in operation on some long distance routes in the city and orders have been placed for another 50. For the software engineers working on the outskirts of the city, the hi-tech coaches have come as a pleasant change and a large number of them have stopped using private personal transport."

The issue of economics arises when the fleet is not managed properly.
Provide Good Service.
Keep Customers happy.
Have Trained drivers and polite crew.
Charge reasonably for the same.
Success....Monetary and Customer Satisfaction

PS:The B7R belly provides enough space for carrying goods too, which is also a form of revenue.

Add Ad-Revenues, Corporate Tie Ups, the game becomes even more economical.

Furthermore, going for "buses built on common truck/bus platforms" as in the olden days would only help hospitals add more patients thanks to all the pot-hole impact passed directly to the passenger.
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Old 27th September 2008, 20:51   #139
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Default Late model Volvo B7R

Friends, I traveled to Pune by Shivneri as usual, two days ago.

This time around it was a very late model Azad bodied Volvo B7R.

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It had covered just 40,468.5 km.
An end-to-end Dadar-Pune trip is about 145 km, so the bus had done the equivalent of 139 round trips. At 5 round trips a day, it translates to being about 27 days old.

What caught my attention is the modern instrument panel and steering wheel.

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Gone was the ugly white cottage-industry dashboard. In its place was a contoured polyurethane dash with stereo, airconditioning and instruments that no longer looked patched into place.

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Where the instrument cluster should’ve been, was a computer display of sorts and I thought I would take a closer look.
The display was showing screen 1 of 4. It could show Gauges, Time/Distance and Vehicle Messages.

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For the driver’s expressway comfort there was even a cruise-control.
The Carrier Sütrak rooftop airconditioner was outstanding, quiet and effective.
It had a air vent above the last window.

Volvo B7R reviews?-2008azadvolvob7rrearcorner.jpg

On the exterior, there was a little bit of sculpted glass-fibre sheet work and clear formed-polycarbonate tail lights.

Note the cool Carrier Sütrak climate control panel, combination lightswitch with instrument panel dimmer wheel and cruise-control.

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Wonder what the single little red beacon light is for?

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Ram
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Old 27th September 2008, 22:40   #140
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Wow... Ram... You have an eye for detail...
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Old 8th October 2008, 16:33   #141
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It's a shame that the emergency exit windows have to be broken with a hammer or similar object in order for people to escape. I wonder if the window is laminated or if glass pieces will be slice passengers as they struggle to escape.
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Old 9th October 2008, 12:32   #142
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Nice and detailed pic's, Ram! The little red beacon light seems to be an add-on done by MSRTC, as i don't recollect seeing it on the KSRTC Airavat's.
Meanwhile, i'd taken a picture during my last trip back to B'lore, though not as detailed as yours, as i shied away taking this snaps in the presence of other passengers
This particular trip ended up being yet another memorable one.
It was about 445am, with the bus having crossed Hilvala, beyond Hassan, and doing good speed. At one stretch, an oncoming vehicle must've been a little towards the right side of the road, and hit our bus despite our driver's best effort to avoid a head-on collision, by swerving to the extreme side of the road. The interesting thing was, the driver couldn't apprehend what exactly hit us, thanks to the good speed of the bus, as well as the glaring lights of the oncoming vehicle. He did recollect the front of it being white in colour and thought it to be another KSTRC bus.
The damage was assessed and found to be the sheet metal torn at 2 places, lots of scraped surface from about the mid portion to the rear section of, a large scratch on the glass possibly the one that houses the emergency exit, broken amber lights and reflectors at the lower portion of the bus, and also the broken rubber beading around the wheel well.
We made a quick turn around back towards Hassan, looking for the culprit vehicle, and after pursuit at about 100kmph for about 13kms with no signs of any bus in front of us, a Tata 2516 C petroleum tanker was spotted going towards M'lore. The driver was overtaking it and planning to ask it's driver about any bus that passed by, when this tanker itself starting pulling over and the driver trying to flee from the cabin. This was our confirmed suspect, as he had a broken rear view mirror, broken driver's door handle, and a riveted strip jetting out from the driver's side. He must've unloaded jet fuel at BIAL and heading back for a refill, which explains the high speeds he was doing too. The driver and another KSRTC staff (who was in the bus) blocked both cabin doors of the tanker, and an argument ensued, mainly on why this guy fled from the scene. All this happened about 10m from the Hilvala Police Station, and off we went there to lodge a complaint (few of us wanted to testify as witness), as the the tanker too happened to be owned by a HPCL contract undertaking from M'lore. Sadly, the police was not taking much interest in this incident, because:
1) The accident happened behind it's jurisdiction. Despite explaining to them that the tanker had to chased back upto this point, as it had fled, made little impact.
2) It was a state holiday that day (29th Sep). They said both vehicles have to be left behind for RTO inspection, and the tanker driver to be subjected to medical examination (drunken driving or so), both of which can happen only on the next working day. Our driver did not see much point with this, as the bus had to be re-routed soon.
Meanwhile, we came to know that our bus driver had won a silver medal only last month, for 10 years of accident-free driving. The current damage would have cost him his gold medal (which i do hope he gets, as he drives quite sedately), had he not caught the escapee vehicle. They spoke with the Depot Manager about this incident, and he was open to either filing a case or monetary settlement by the tanker co. The Manager of the tanker co. was not willing to pay the damage assessed by the driver (Rs. 10,000/-), and then agreed to pay Rs.6,000/-, which he was then told to make a payment in our bus driver's name at M'lore Depot No.1, only after which the tanker's original RC book would be returned to them (our driver was holding on to it until then). We then headed back towards B'lore.
Felt sad about the bus, as it was being diverted to the M'lore-Chennai route from October 1st (atleast the bus would see better roads for another half/leg of its journey then on), and our driver was wondering how soon would they repair it.
Sorry for the long post, but felt that had it not been for a Volvo, the other vehicle would've simply got away.
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Volvo B7R reviews?-image017.jpg  

Volvo B7R reviews?-image022.jpg  


Last edited by dkamath : 9th October 2008 at 12:35.
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:44   #143
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Default Lets take the volvo and Merc head on....

Hey Kamath...thats an amazing amount of detail...cool.
Lets watch out for the new competition the Mercedes Benz bus...body building in Sutlej..the first delivery is already done to Sharma..pune-mumbai i guess.
Sharma transports has been a pioneer in adopting technologu..he was the first with the double wheel ..(follower- single wheel ) rear engnine leyland turbo chassis bus to mumbai...it was too heavy and only did a few slugish trips...then he launched the first double decker....and so on....
lets look out for the Benz..and get some first cut pictures and reviews...
reg,
mike
Ps:
The first customers of the newest coach, a segment in which currently Volvo is the only player, are Sunil and Suresh Sharma of Bangalore-based Sharma Transports, Sunil Savla of Mumbai-based Neeta Tours and Mr Prabhakar Konduskar of Kolhapur based Konduskar Travels. The buses will initially ply on the Mumbai-Bangalore, Mumbai-Pune-Shirdi-Nashik sectors where support and after sales service network has been put in place, Dr Wilfried Aulbur, Managing Director, Mercedes Benz India, said.
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Old 9th October 2008, 15:06   #144
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beautiful bus, i feel.

probably one of the reason why i have travelled in the so many times including my longest trip to bhopal. it was a raj volvo and took me 18 hrs to reach my destination from mumbai to bhopal.

the only glitch is that these tour operators dont maintain them so well.
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Old 11th October 2008, 04:18   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyer View Post
Lets watch out for the new competition the Mercedes Benz bus...body building in Sutlej..the first delivery is already done to Sharma..pune-mumbai i guess.
Sharma transports has been a pioneer in adopting technology..he was the first with the double wheel ..(follower- single wheel ) rear engine leyland turbo chassis bus to mumbai...it was too heavy and only did a few sluggish trips...then he launched the first double decker....and so on....
lets look out for the Benz..and get some first cut pictures and reviews...
reg,
mike
Ps:
The first customers of the newest coach, a segment in which currently Volvo is the only player, are Sunil and Suresh Sharma of Bangalore-based Sharma Transports, Sunil Savla of Mumbai-based Neeta Tours and Mr Prabhakar Konduskar of Kolhapur based Konduskar Travels. The buses will initially ply on the Mumbai-Bangalore, Mumbai-Pune-Shirdi-Nashik sectors where support and after sales service network has been put in place, Dr Wilfried Aulbur, Managing Director, Mercedes Benz India, said.
Volvo has the first-mover advantage.
They have blazed a trail in India, fostering an elevated set of customer expectations. Many of us have stopped traveling by anything less than a Volvo.

Remember the ride in a brand new Volvo B7R.
  • Soft air-suspension.
  • Uniform troublefree airconditioning.
  • Silent ambience inside the passenger cabin, despite 100 km/h driving.
  • Good shoulder room and leg room.
  • Spirited acceleration.
  • Volvo trained drivers.
Now, think "law of diminishing returns".

...in a system with fixed and variable inputs, beyond a point, each additional unit of variable input yields less and less output. Conversely, producing one more unit of output costs more and more in variable inputs. This concept is also known as the law of increasing relative cost, or law of increasing opportunity cost. [Ref. wikipedia]

Will the passenger perceive intercity coach service as more premium
just because it has a Mercedes Benz three-pointed star and not the Volvo slash? Will a Mercedes bus be driven any faster than a Volvo?

Most operators have poor quality untrained staff -- Neeta being the worst.
Cursing uneducated rash drivers that bully other road users.
The Mumbai-Pune service (esp. Neeta) typically runs late because the staff stop and wait at every roadside spot enroute, to fill every seat. Only the state-run Shivneri is always on-time.

With the Mercedes branded buses being more expensive, will the seat be more expensive too? Will the seats be wider, deeper and more comfortable?

If not, is Mercedes any more attractive to the operator than Volvo? More importantly, will brand Mercedes mean any more to the traveller, than Volvo?

A thought -- When we choose a taxicab in Amsterdam, do we pick out a Mercedes over an equally clean, equally maintained and equally speedy Volvo driven by an equally proficient driver?

When we hop aboard an SBS bus in Singapore, does it matter one little bit, to us whether the bus is a Volvo or a Mercedes?
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Old 11th October 2008, 09:43   #146
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Two aspects are surely considered by an average traveller
a.The name of bus/operator while booking a ticket
b.The type of bus- Volvo/leyland/Tata
People surely want to travel with a reliable operator and in a good bus and spured this volvo revolution because the traveller started demanding the volvo tickets more often and were willing to pay for the comfort.
Unless during a festive rush like Xmas or Diwali when people travel by any means to reach there hometowns otherwise seek the best seat and the best bus and operator.
Frequent bussers (Like Flyiers) even ask for the same bus number and look for the same driver and loyalities are so strong unless they meet with a lousy experience which is bound to happen in a country like ours and with most operators not being professionally managed.
I have travelled in europe extensively by bus (in all kinds) and very rarely have the standard problem we have here in India.

So my point was with a new segment creted it will again fuel the race for better service and better busses leading to better roads and more professionalism in the industry.If I had a bus service and had an investment in excess or 5 crores i would ensure to the maimum extent that it is managed as professionally as possible.

For instance when Raj came with its service it was looked up as being more professional.But is it difficult to sustain the operation standards for a long time due to several constrains including lack of training and education among the people involved at the ground level.Moreover only players in this business for a long time risk additional investment in rolling stocks and considered a high risk business (High Stress) always.Also the RTO rules must also change and allow them to run as public carriers insted of contract carrriages..although I may not understand this funda and the legalities involved.We must bring necessary changes to modernise surface transport in our country.
Governments come and go and so do large infrastructure projects that have hindered the fundemental growth this sector..see the state of the Golden quadrilateral or other large surface transport projects now..they are in utter despair and neglect because of our dirty politics.
North of India still seems years behind from such advancement since train is still considered a safe transportation and travel by bus is quite unpredictable.Also pricing factors are evident and people do not want to risk their lives and property on the road.Except for a few private operators in Delhi i have not seen many Volvos and state government buses and the Tourism development buses.
Lets welcome newer buses and trucks like Benz,Scania,Man and Tatra and dicipline our highways for a safer journey.
Its nice to see the AMW and Volvos on the roads which surely reduce driver fatigue comparing them to the orthodx trucks we have been hanging for the last 50 years.Again for the simple reason of economy(Low purchase cost,easy to overload,low running cost=low transport cost).
Atleast 70% ( not sure of the satatistics)of the truckers are additcted to opium and also a host of diseases and occupational hazards.
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Old 12th October 2008, 09:42   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyer View Post
Two aspects are surely considered by an average traveller
a.The name of bus/operator while booking a ticket
b.The type of bus- Volvo/leyland/Tata
It is Volvo or non-Volvo.
The average traveller does not know the difference between Leyland and Tata.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyer View Post
People surely want to travel with a reliable operator and in a good bus and spured this volvo revolution because the traveller started demanding the volvo tickets more often and were willing to pay for the comfort.
A bus in India used to be, a passenger box built by carpenters on a truck chassis. The cost was Rs. 9 to 20 lakh a piece.

Then a small handful of operators started the Volvo experiment.
These operators rebuilt travelers' expectations, with buses costing over Rs. 60 lakh a piece. It was the operator and not the travellers who spurred the Volvo revolution !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyer View Post
Frequent bussers (Like Flyiers) even ask for the same bus number and look for the same driver and loyalities are so strong ...
Really Miyer? Passenger loyalties? and for a bus number and driver?


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Atleast 70% ( not sure of the satatistics)of the truckers are additcted to opium...
Seriously? How would you know?
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Old 12th October 2008, 09:55   #148
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Originally Posted by dkamath View Post

Meanwhile, we came to know that our bus driver had won a silver medal only last month, for 10 years of accident-free driving. The current damage would have cost him his gold medal (which i do hope he gets, as he drives quite sedately), had he not caught the escapee vehicle.
According to a report in The Hindu today, KSRTC comes quite heavily on drivers that run into accidents. It is not just a question of medals and thus it is no wonder the driver of your vehicle took extra pains to track down the culprit.

Full story at the following URL:
The Hindu : Front Page : State transport drivers feel the squeeze

Wind..
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Old 12th October 2008, 18:24   #149
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Wind, thanks for the link. That was a fascinating insight into KSRTC's management style and a total surprise to me considering that this is a old, state owned giant.

Wonder if this is translating into better driving style on the road.

Miyer, I agree...Mercedes being the world's largest busmaker will only change things for better because Volvo has been ruling the market without competetion.
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Old 12th October 2008, 19:01   #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Wonder if this is translating into better driving style on the road.
We know that the state Volvos seem to be more carefully driven. When a small incident happens, the driver takes it seriously and puts in efforts to book the offender.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Miyer, I agree...Mercedes being the world's largest busmaker will only change things for better because Volvo has been ruling the market without competition.
The open questions are:
With the appearance of a Mercedes branded competitor to Volvo,
  1. will things get cheaper or costlier for India?
  2. will Volvo's quality come under pressure to improve? what improvement do you seek?
  3. do we really know Mercedes to be the slightest bit superior or inferior to Volvo?
  4. In what measurable way (other than hype)?
  5. is this supposed superiority proportionate to its price (ref: law of diminishing returns -- post #145 -- Will 0.1% more for 15% more price make any sense?
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