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Old 28th March 2010, 22:26   #1
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Arrow How Volvo changed the way we look at buses and bus travel

Thanks to Volvo's entry into India, the following "universal truths" have been established about bus travel:

1) A bus can rival, if not outclass, a luxury car in NVH as well as top speed and comfort level.
2) A bus is not something that is built on a truck chassis. A bus is a bus and a truck is a truck.
3) It is possible to mount the bus engine at the rear without roasting alive passengers seated at the rear.
4) Travelling in the rear seats is more comfortable than travelling in the front seats.
5) A bus is not a mix and match of an engine, a chassis and a body. You can get fully built buses just like you get fully built cars, SUVs, vans, etc.
6) Most importantly, every bus must be air conditioned for it to be a bus. An A/C is therefore a necessity and not a luxury or a fancy item. Also, an air-conditioned bus is not a bus which has a window A/C placed at the rear that sometimes works and sometimes does not.
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Old 29th March 2010, 09:07   #2
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Well, on sat morning, I had to go to Leela PLace and Domlur on some work. It was hot so I could not be bothered to be stuck in the usual jams. Drove to the club, left car there and took the Volvo to Leela, took another one to Domlur. Finished my work and then took another back home..

Never felt the heat. Add to that the volvo somehow manages to bust through the queues especially at the turn off to Trinity Circle
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Old 29th March 2010, 09:21   #3
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Yes its really changed the way we used to travel, although one thing still remains the same.

The Leg Space.. Its really a pain in "Truck buses" as well as in "Volvo Buses".

Couple of years back I had been to Guruvayur for Dharsan, For the return Journey to Bangalore I have took a K(erala).S.R.T.C from Trichur Bus stand around 8.p.m. I reserved my ticket on an Air Bus, which was in Blue and White colour and I was amazed at the leg room which that bus offered. It was the most comfortable long journey i ever had in a BUS.

Last edited by wildon : 29th March 2010 at 09:24.
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Old 29th March 2010, 11:58   #4
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Even I appreciate the great technology provided by Volvo and the efficient service provided by BMTC.

If the bus stops were slightly closer to my residence, I would have preferred to use the AC Volvo for commuting to office.

I still use the BMTC Volvo bus service once in a while. It works out cheaper than commuting on your 4-wheeler, plus you get a break from driving in the maddening traffic. The AC is very powerful and the suspensions are really good.

Even for inter city travel, the KSTDC (and other private operator) volvos are always a preferred option.

Rohan
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Old 29th March 2010, 12:27   #5
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I'm sharing my 2 cents of my experience (love) with Volvo busses.
Nov 2009, I'd to travel from Chennai to Trivandrum (TVM) to see my wife who was away at my in-laws home awaiting for delivery of our daughter. The occassion was for our wedding anniversary; as usual, I'd option to drive, which my wife strictly refused or take the train for which the railway politely refused (no tickets).

Determined to leave at any cost, I picked up the option to leave from Chennai at 15:00 by non-A/C bus operated by SRM to reach TVM by next day morning 6:00, which was the option to reach earliest. Fortunately, that bus was cancelled & luck favoured me to travel by Volvo at 18:00. That was one of the wonderful drive & I couldn't believe when I woke up at Tirunelveli at 4:00 (I was assuming it to be Madurai or I must be dreaming) & when this guy dropped me at Karamana junction at 07:15, I was more than thrilled.

I'd 3 trips after that & all 3 of them were through SRM & once I got dropped at the same junction by 6:15 AM. I also booked tickets for my friends who also appreciated the time & experience of travelling by Volvo. I'm looking forward for another trip with my Wifey & children in Volvo & Volvo only. The way they overtake the Tata & AL busses require more than pair of eyes to enjoy.

Just to give you a glimpse
Train time
1. Departs Chennai 20:00, reaches TVM 11:55 next day (16 hours)
2. Departs Chennai 19:15, reaches TVM 11:25 next day (16+ hours)
3. Volvo departs Chennai 18:00, reaches TVM 07:30 next day (13:30 hours)

Trust me, no more trains, no more car to TVM
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Old 29th March 2010, 12:29   #6
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Certainly they have changed the perspective a lot. However I am jealous of you people as you have a choice in your daily commute. You can change once in a while to Volvo & enjoy , here in Gurgaon - Delhi, all we have is Haryana Roadways / DTC. Though a few low floor buses( Tata Marcopolo) have been introduced but they are just few & could not be compared to Volvo

Last edited by SamtheLeo : 29th March 2010 at 12:32.
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Old 29th March 2010, 19:07   #7
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The bigger deal to me is, how on earth did Volvo convince bus operators, during the early days, to pay multiple times the price of competitors? This extends not only to buses but even trucks. I mean, that same truck operator could buy a Tata at 1/2 or 1/3rd the price. Obviously Volvo sold them on the value component (and not necessarily price), still its a case study in the making. I mean, these are the kind of operators who would think twice before ordering a premium cup of tea at 8 bucks, instead of the "regular kadak" at 4 bucks.

Volvo deserves credit for raising the bar in India, when it comes to trucks & buses.

Last edited by GTO : 31st March 2010 at 17:51. Reason: Adding point
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Old 29th March 2010, 19:19   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The bigger deal to me is, how on earth did Volvo convince bus operators, during the early days, to pay multiple times the price of competitors? This extends not only to buses but even trucks. I mean, that same truck operator could buy a Tata at 1/2 or 1/3rd the price. Obviously Volvo sold them on the value component (and not necessarily price), still its a case study in the making.

Volvo deserves credit for raising the bar in India, when it comes to trucks & buses.
You have raised a good point in this thread, but has this turned out to be a lucrative business for the operators in-spite of charging a premium for travel using the Volvo for shorter/longer distance.

I have heard that these buses are pretty heavy on maintenance.
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Old 29th March 2010, 20:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Bean View Post
I have heard that these buses are pretty heavy on maintenance.
Its very very expensive if the transporter is not careful with how they handle the bus and also if they don't follow scheduled maintenance. Wonder who follows it. I see some AP based operator that parks their bus on the the ring road stretch between Krishnarajapuram and the 2nd White Field turn off. Its in such a sorry state that I wonder how it is even running.

I don't quite understand the mind set of other manufacturers. Its been over 8 years we have had Volvos & not one has managed to build/develop a bus platform that is as good or even close to the Volvo. Lets keep Mercedes Benz aside & I also believe that their buses are not as good as a Volvo.
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Old 29th March 2010, 22:39   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The bigger deal to me is, how on earth did Volvo convince bus operators, during the early days, to pay multiple times the price of competitors?
I totally agree with GTO on this..Many new entrants tried (Izuzu, Ford etc in the 80ths) and none of them survived.
1) To some extent the credit should go to Karnataka Government (KarRTC and BMTC). I believe it was part of the initial agreement to purchase certain number of Volvo buses( before setting up the plant in Karnataka). KaRTC started use Volvos in intercity routes much before other RTC and private bus operators. I dont think a single City transport system would have purchased Volvos unless BMTC opted for the same.
2) Commitment by the parent. I am not sure whether Volvo is profitable yet. From the number of buses they sell per year (500-750), it may not be profitable. But the parent company is willing to pump money for so many years with out much return on investment, not many corporates will provide such support for such a long time.
3) Timing...Another major factor is they came at the right time, while the highway system was getting overhauled. They started this new luxury segment, and never tried to compromise on quality and features instead of trying to reduce the features and price to grab the market share.

Now whether Volvo is a success, whether its bussiness model is right or not is debatable. Volvo invested in Eicher is from the realization that, they wont be able to survive in India just by producing the high quality buses alone. They need another source but with out compromising the "Volvo" brand. But defenitely the customers and passengers benefitted. Domenstic Indian manaufactures quality and features improved a lot during the last few years due to the Volvo effect. Now they have some thing to bench mark against.
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Old 29th March 2010, 23:48   #11
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Default Different Point of view

Well since the topic is ON i would like to share a different point of view and experience with volvos.
I think buying a couple of volvos by state government is pretty easy fix but maintaining them upto standards they deserve is not possible.volvos stays at same workshops where other normal tata buses stay at got. garage in night. They get same treatment and same servicing as other buses get.
And my experience was horrifying.I was going to delhi from chandigarh . l2 years back in month of jan/feb when nights are cold and day's a bit hot . We departed at 6 o clock in the morning . It took a halt at panipat for drinks and stuff . Then sun rised by that time and heat started kicking IN . And bus driver made a mistake starting the Aircon.Imagine what happened? Volvo at a speed of 90 on a highway and the big front windshield broke into pieces and those pieces came right IN flying in the bus and i was at the front seat. And driver somehow managed to stop the bus with his eyes closed. Then driver told me that mirror was installed by the workshop guys yesterday only (ofcourse a duplicate aftermarket one which cannot takes on sudden changing hot and cold temperatures.
Then i looked at his dashboard there were too switches just like we have light switches in our home. I could see it right there that original buttons have been broken and replaced by these ugly electrical switches.
So at the end of the day my review is if its working its more than good but the way its maintained i am a little worried.
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Old 30th March 2010, 00:11   #12
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Anyone knows whats VOLVO's market share in India ? Am sure it wouldn't be really high for a fact that the pricing is at a complete different level.

I would put my money on a VOLVO(for travel) than a MARCOPOLO or any of these sleeper coaches(AL and TATA) considering the fact that some of these buses still run on the primitive design and technology.
The last time I took a MARCOPOLO I swore not to ride in one again.
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Old 30th March 2010, 00:12   #13
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mumbai pune volvo bus trips are amazing. i had once made a mum-pune round trip just to enjoy the expressway and the volvo buses.. the maharashtra state volvo buses have nice legroom, but the ones run by neeta in mumbai have more seats so less legroom..
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Old 30th March 2010, 00:34   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Car-e-ok View Post
l2 years back in month of jan/feb when nights are cold and day's a bit hot . We departed at 6 o clock in the morning . It took a halt at panipat for drinks and stuff . Then sun rised by that time and heat started kicking IN.
Did you mean 12 or 2 years?
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Old 30th March 2010, 00:45   #15
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KSRTC gave Volvo the break they wanted but thereafter its the Indian customer that was instrumental in fuelling the growth of the company.

They fell in love with this smooth. luxurious and powerful machine and demanded only Volvo buses from operators and were willing to pay more.
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