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Old 14th November 2013, 12:19   #31
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Default Re: Another VOLVO Bus catches fire! Are inter state luxury bus rides not safe any lon

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Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
Thanks for sharing the article, one line in particular caught my attention -

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And in a few weeks, this tragedy would disappear from the collective public memory and no one travelling in a Volvo bus would remember that 45 innocent lives were lost in a tragedy that just should not have occurred. But then, in a nation of 1.2 billion, what are 45 lives?
I agree that Volvo should check why this bus and the Hyderabad bus went up in flames in a matter of minutes since they are company which worldwide is known for safety features in their products.

However even if we assume that their vehicles are build with inflammable (Volvo claims their wiring is fire retardant) materials, doesn't the cargo hold have a huge amount of materials on a regular run (clothes, medicines, two- wheeler's, cooking stove used by bus crew) which burns even faster than wires.

Volvo was supposed to send an expert team from Sweden after the Hyderabad bus met with accident to understand why the bus went up in flames. Link . Do remember there is no legal binding for them to do that. Also, their findings may not hold much good in ongoing official investigation also. A similar accident with any Indian bus manufacturer and I am sure they would not have bothered for an analysis.

If Volvo team finds any issues in their part I feel they should do a recall on all vehicles effected. However even if they publicly acknowledge about a safety hazard there is no way they will be held accountable for the same. Do remember that the fire did not start by itself due to any design limitation, but after an accident. Cause of accident can be due to anything from irresponsible driving, bad road design or as in case of Hyderabad accident driver had dozed off .

My point is Volvo is a company which claims to manufacture world class vehicles and we are now not sure if the claim is correct. However they are working in a market which does not value its safety principles, neither does its competitors.

Also, most importantly Volvo has not violated any government guidelines in design of their buses.

My view on why most of the accidents which are in limelight is involving Volvo's are since other buses will not be travelling at that speed, carrying that much cargo. Also, AC buses are tougher to get out from due to closed windows.

In 2001 a non AC bus in KL overturned on its side after a high speed overtaking maneuver went wrong and caught fire killing 40 people. What caused the death was lack of proper emergency exits. Back windshield of the bus was covered with a metal mesh on outside to increase the aesthetics meaning only exits was through front windshield or to climb over open windows which now was pointed skywards. Some 30 people managed to do that, rest were not as lucky. http://www.hindu.com/2001/03/12/stories/0412211k.htm .

Presence of easily accessible emergency exit window would have helped in many of the passengers escaping from both the accidents mentioned above.

Remember the saying 'Chain is only as strong as its weakest link' , I guess this hold true for vehicles also. No matter how safe your vehicle is, there are a lot of other factors also - bad roads, other vehicles which are driven by some drunk nut coming in opposite side of the median, cattle running across road, over-speeding and for a public vehicle - sleepy driver. I am not saying vehicles should not be safe, but when we talk about safety it should be a mix of all these.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 14th November 2013 at 12:29.
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Old 14th November 2013, 12:45   #32
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Default Re: Another VOLVO Bus catches fire! Are inter state luxury bus rides not safe any lon

Some more details:

The accident happened 330 Kms short of Bengaluru. And the bus started @6:30 PM from Bombay, the accident happened @2:30 in the morning. This tells that the bus did 670 kms in 8 Hours which points to a average speed of 83 Kmph! For a bus that's insane.
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Old 14th November 2013, 12:54   #33
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Default Re: Another VOLVO Bus catches fire! Are inter state luxury bus rides not safe any lon

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Originally Posted by mercedised View Post
Some more details:

The accident happened 330 Kms short of Bengaluru. And the bus started @6:30 PM from Bombay, the accident happened @2:30 in the morning. This tells that the bus did 670 kms in 8 Hours which points to a average speed of 83 Kmph! For a bus that's insane.
Can you please recheck the facts and confirm? I think the bus was bound to Mumbai from Bangalore.
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Old 14th November 2013, 13:39   #34
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Default Re: Another VOLVO Bus catches fire! Are inter state luxury bus rides not safe any lon

I think we are unnecessarily bashing Volvo here.

Private Operators hardly stick to recommendations from manufacturers. I have always maintained that in an unregulated sector, private operators running Volvos is dangerous, because the owners are purely working for profits . I regularly travel in HRTC ( Himachal ) Volvos. The drivers stick to 80 kph upper limits. All the Volvo drivers are trained in Bangalore and then only allowed to drive these buses. While Private operators too train their drivers, it's anybody's guess that the actual person driving the bus is the same or not.

Compare that to a travel I did in a private Volvo (Bhoot Nath travels ). It was poorly maintained with people travelling sitting on floor.

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Guys,
It took one battery fire on the dreamliner to ground the entire jet worldwide. While there is no independent investigation of all these bus fires. Clearly Indian mango man lives are irrelevant for the Government. The ball is in the government's court - not just Volvo. I am feeling disgusted as an Indian citizen with the government's inaction. If only we in India could haul all operators and manufacturers to court for class action lawsuits for all such deaths, things would sort themselves out in a few years.
Perfectly put in. Usually its business time for Police & law enforcement agencies after Sunset and a certain Mahatma Gandhi on a paper with 500 written on it is the way forward for these fly by night private bus operators.

Last edited by GTO : 14th November 2013 at 14:40. Reason: Typos
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Old 14th November 2013, 15:08   #35
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

That's a very sad news to hear of loss of so many lives again, which includes a child too. My heart goes out to victims families.

What I don't understand is people blaming driver and giving clean chit to Volvo.

Come on, with such good highways, buses are expected to run at 100 kmph, whats the speed of similar volvo buses in Europe?

Such accidents can happen in Europe too due to high speeds, bus hitting culvert, but most shocking is the inability of the bus to withstand such a shock and explode, giving little time for people to escape.

Indian railways too had flammable materials inside coach, following some incidents they are now working on replacing with fire retardant materials which will give people enough time to escape; alas its government and they will take time.

How many times do you hear of a car/SUV getting hit on a culvert and catching fire. Have seen plenty of accidents of cars, SUVs, but such catching fire is really unheard of due to an accident.

There is no doubt that with single driver controlled exits and tough glass these buses are becoming a death trap, fortunately several people jumped out by breaking windows in this case, but the issue is the bus is so prone to fire that we would better travel through some other medium (which one, is another question)

Volvo should better let us know whats the issue? Government would be sleeping. We can avoid such death traps however.
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Old 14th November 2013, 16:33   #36
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Having travelled on the Bengaluru - Hyderabad strech on these buses extensively all I can say is, it is not about a Volvo or any other brand but the way these drivers drive.

Once I took a seat right at the front while travelling from Hyd to Bang and believe me I was praying that God let today not be the last day my family has seen me . There were those general police barriers put near a village on NH44 - cars were slowing down but not these guys, he passed those barriers twisting the whole bus at least with a 40-50 on the speedo.
Sometimes, the drivers used to let the conductor drive after leaving the city.

I have used Volvo/Mercedes (and one more) as option and story was the same but since the majority is Volvo's so the probability is quite high of it being involved in an accident.

I was just lucky !! The only thing that could be done is tighten up these guys.

Moreover, less maintenance = more profit - that is the funda these guys follow. I really don't think it has something to do with Volvo, they make one of the finest commercial vehicles as I know of.

Last edited by Fiest@DuraTec : 14th November 2013 at 16:40.
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Old 14th November 2013, 16:45   #37
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Default Re: Another VOLVO Bus catches fire! Are inter state luxury bus rides not safe any lon

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Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
Can you please recheck the facts and confirm? I think the bus was bound to Mumbai from Bangalore.
Exactly my thoughts. The news reports mention it the bus was traveling the other way (Mumbai bound) and considering most of the Volvos for Pune and Mumbai leave Bangalore anywhere between 9-10pm, it is safe to say that they would reach the place of accident (Bankapura) which is 330 kms from City center in the next 5 hours (2-3am).

Doing 670 Kms from Mumbai all the way to this Point along with Dinner break (which these folks take after Pune) is very much impossible in 8 hours.
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Old 14th November 2013, 16:56   #38
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Default Re: Another VOLVO Bus catches fire! Are inter state luxury bus rides not safe any lon

Other than KaSRTC, i find buses of Conti travels(Coimbatore based) always driven at conservative speeds.

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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
How many of them go up in flames, giving a mass cremation to the passengers?
Gansan Sir, this can happen to any bus with sealed windows. Remember the KPN(Leyland) AC sleeper Chennai-Pollachi bus that caught fire: 22 dead, 2 escaped.

Non-AC buses don't have such powerful engines, they max out at 90-100 kmph, and it is very stressful to maintain such speeds in them.
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Old 14th November 2013, 17:00   #39
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

I beg to differ.
Volvo india is very pro active about safety.
For every bus they sell, they train and certify 3 drivers. This includes simulators.
Also a team from Volvo was at the incident site within hours to investigate in the previous incident.
Anyone who has driven a Volvo bus can attest to the safety systems. It has more tech than a passenger car.
The operators are the ones to be blamed. They lease the buses and let untrained drivers drive.
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Old 14th November 2013, 17:09   #40
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Originally Posted by Fiest@DuraTec View Post
but since the majority is Volvo's so the probability is quite high of it being involved in an accident. I was just lucky !! I really don't think it has something to do with Volvo, they make one of the finest commercial vehicles as I know of.
Drivers are responsible for accident but Volvo is definitely responsible for the vehicle to catch fire like this. Had there been no fire or retarded fire the occupants would have rushed out of the bus and be alive today.

It's definitely an issue of the bus as those people lost their lives. If the bus had hit the culvert at speed of 50 kmph and then caught fire, would the people here still blame the driver?

Accidents do happen, but the question is on safety, and Volvo bus is coming out like a fireball in accidents.

There is an issue with the bus, it's not supposed to be a canon ball which explodes on an accident giving occupants hardly any time or chances to escape.

Last edited by tanwaramit : 14th November 2013 at 17:14.
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Old 14th November 2013, 17:44   #41
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

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Originally Posted by tanwaramit View Post
Drivers are responsible for accident but Volvo is definitely responsible for the vehicle to catch fire like this. Had there been no fire or retarded fire the occupants would have rushed out of the bus and be alive today.
I am technically not so strong about the mechanics of a machine being just a stupid software engineer but as I see in India, we push a horse to its limit without feeding/caring for it and when it dies we start blaming the one who sold it to us. I think the best person to answer this would be a Volvo techinician or better a third party.

You go out into the market and you can find atleast 7 out of 10 buses which would not have been serviced regularly, infact for the last several months. In my understanding when a vehicle is going to run for such a long distance, so frequently, it gotta be taken care of very precisely.

I would again iterate, the business man here follow the formula of " less maintenance = more profit " !! I am saying all this because I have seen how these guys treat these machines, very closely and I felt that posed danger. Local mechanics work on these machines along with the electricals who I am sure would not be aware of 70% of this machine. With mis-managed electrical wiring - unconcealed etc would surely pose a danger.
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Old 14th November 2013, 18:10   #42
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

I was reading an article about flash point of diesel sold in India. Its seems it has been set too low due our refinery process. Is this the reason for fires?

Why is it so acute in Buses? Not heard of many trucks or passenger cars catching fire on impact. And also not sure if discussed before, I have heard Volvo does not construct the body. They offer as Chassis only. Bodies are customized by operators. Is this true?

Last edited by mail4ajo : 14th November 2013 at 18:12.
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Old 14th November 2013, 19:02   #43
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

As has been said before, I don't think Volvo is entirely to blame either. There are always multiple parts to safety which everyone must be made to realise.

Active safety : These are components in the ECU that monitor potential hazards like low oil, or engine issues, door lock sensor, also featured in this are technologies like lane departure warning, radar/IR sensors and adaptible suspension.

Passive safety : These kick in when the vehicle senses danger due to human error, and not something checked at certain intervals. ABS, EBD, airbags, emergency brake assist are part of this technology. All of these being present in all Volvo's cars. I'm unsure of whether their buses globally too have some/all of these features but i'm pretty sure in India the govt. would be negotiating so hard as to force Volvo to skip on certain components, either on the active/passive safety front or on the external build.

Human safety : This is the most critical of them all. Every machine has its limitations, and knowing them and maintaining the machines and driving according to its limitations is what should be done first. The proof is indeed against most owners of Volvo buses, be it for public transport or private interstate. Again I'm not sure if there is infact a mechanical fault/structural defect in Volvo buses, but from what I've seen - leakages from the front portion of buses, unrepaired dent in panels which guard the engine, scraped/dented underbody, heavy whirr of a defective wheelbearing (huge risk) and uneven tyre pressure, and I can't help but think that the vehicle has been ignored cruelly, then blamed for its craftsmanship.

A few things have to be done first : driver training, putting speed governing units and sensitising the mechanics/owners to take better care of their investment. If Volvo thinks they made a mistake somewhere, they should look into it but for now I can't hold them against it yet.
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Old 14th November 2013, 19:11   #44
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

A news channel does a check on safety in Volvo buses



Here are few pic from "The Hindu"

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Old 14th November 2013, 19:17   #45
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Slow View Post
...The speeds that these buses are capable of doing at the hands of an amateur driver is what causes these accidents...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ak916 View Post
...Was the driver an expert? ...I can imagine If the driver was an amateur or if the bus had poor tyres and brakes, what it would mean to the passengers...
Last time I spoke to a Volvo driver, these guys have to have some years of experience to be a trainee in Volvo. Also these drivers go thru a rigorous training before they are certified. I don't think these drivers are amateurs. I have always seen the Volvo drivers to be mostly middle aged, atleast 30+.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ak916 View Post
...It has everything to do with cheap labour, trying to make time (and money) by going fast and poor maintenance.
Frankly whatever Volvos I have seen are maintained well. It could be that these guys carry unnecessary stuffs on board which lead to fire accidents.

Also when I was talking to some regular bus travellers, they said that these bus services are mostly non-profitable as they can fill up the seats ONLY during weekends / holiday seasons - one of the primary reasons they charge a bomb now a days during holiday season. The way these buses recover their investment is by carrying illegal stuffs, is what I was told. Seeing these buses usually free on weekdays, I don't have many reasons to doubt this claim. One Saturday when I was travelling to my native from Chennai, the 45 seater had hardly 9 people on-board.
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