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Old 15th November 2013, 09:43   #61
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

RTO pinpoints design flaws as reported by TOI:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/25780206.cms

Diesel tanks, located right behind the front axle and 3metre from the front bumper, are made of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) fitted horizontally. This gets hit first in accidents and bursts, leading to fires

* Low ground clearance, less than 30cm; undercarriage made of plywood and used for keeping luggage which is not checked by private operators

* The company should be looking at the 12-year-old design specifications and seeking answers why and how buses catch fire.

* As fuel tanks catch fire first and consequently the front part of the vehicle is ablaze, it's most difficult to evacuate passengers as the front door is the only main door and it becomes inaccessible

* Even the door lock control is within the driver cabin in the front of the vehicle, emergency exits in the form of windows are as high as 8-9 ft from ground and 50% of fiber used for construction of vehicle produces carbon monoxide in a fire and this penetrates fast through AC ducts and chokes passengers
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Old 15th November 2013, 09:49   #62
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Why did the Authorities not look into all these aspects before allowing the model to go on sale in India?

What were the Transport Officers doing when the Registration Certificate was granted to the bus?

The Govt. should take the complete blame for all these accidents!
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Old 15th November 2013, 10:44   #63
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Volvo or the new breed of Mercedes Benz multi axle buses are all obviously reliable and safe to an extent. End of it all it is still a machine and needs to be maintained and used responsibly.
Maintenance and responsibility is nil when it comes to tour operators who thrive on getting the maximum out of the machine and man (driver) - Recipe for accidents, over and above this, its the large requirement on people travelling day in and day out that forces these tour operators to push to the limit.
Have traveled in these buses to Pondi, Chennai & Velankanni and every single time its been a revelation -
Bangalore to Velankanni
Loading the luggage i ask the 'helper or conductor' (no idea what he is maybe the cleaner also)
me - I need to put the suitcase in the luggage carrier
'helper'- Luggage carrier full keep it in aisle next to your seat
me - :-0 . show me the luggage carrier, bus is not full with people and all have luggage in the aisle
'helper' - luggage carrier full....mumbles something
he then opens the carrier and am stumped, it is full of veggies and sacks of onions all dumped in, and now our smart helper is busy lifting the luggage to stow it with the veggies, am like no ways am going to stow it in there, i had to lug the baggage into the bus cross over all the other luggage and dump it next to my seat sigh!! am like why did i agree with my better half to travel like this.
This is one such instance of safety precautions and measures not being followed, luggage in the aisle when it should be stowed away in the luggage carrier provided for it, well veggies is luggage i guess..gulp!!!
With this kind of attitude by the tour operator who allow the passenger bus to be a goods carrier, what are trucks for then!!
Anyways, I have decided that no more in any of these buses, I go by my bike or the car wherever I go, and I drive :-p at my own pace.

Cheers
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Old 15th November 2013, 11:16   #64
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

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Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
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.
Talk to any taxi driver or regular travelers on Mumbai-Pune sector, they have only one story. Private bus running between these cities are one of the best ways to turn black money into white! In spite of low occupancy on weekdays, more and more buses are put into service!

Volvo buses have been running all over the country for over a decade now. If the operators feel that there is no profit, they should not put more buses into service.
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Old 15th November 2013, 11:23   #65
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

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Originally Posted by starfanrld View Post
Similarly the earlier accident OCT 30 2013 with National Travels Volvo Bus which also had a Political connection. In both cases the Driver was absconding and the owners were not able to get in touch with their own people.

That was not National travels. It was Jabbar travels. It had politico connection only to the extent that it was leased out to Jabbar travels. The driver did not abscond in both cases.

The latest incident has BZ zameer ahmad khan blaming it entirely on a "technical fault". He says Ashok Leylands have taken off into the air after hitting culverts but have not caught fire like the Volvos.

Remains to be seen if National travels fulfils it's 5 Lakh compensation claim.
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Old 15th November 2013, 11:45   #66
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My mistake - 1st Was Jabbar Travels and 2nd Was National Travels and both did have Political connections. It's very convenient to state that 3rd party or 4th Party so NOT my Fault. Was a Political connection nevertheless.

The Drivers in both cases ran away and were NOT reachable for a while - that is absconding. Caught and prosecuted later is a different matter.

Now as far as the MLA Zameer Ahmed who is also the Owner claiming Ashok Leyland's taking off ...these are NOT Fighters or Transport Planes to take Off. Only he knows what he's talking about when he compares Ashok Leyland's vs Volvo's safety records.

Fact is Volvo's have been operating in Karnataka since around 10 Odd years around 10+ years of Operations in Karnataka alone. KSRTC introduced this 1st in India

Claims are made unfortunately , but Follow Though is a Different matter altogether.

Its NO revelation that these private tour operators are BUT fronts for the Local MLA / MP or Local Businessman who is OUT to make a Quick Buck, who no doubt flouts the Law since they think they are above the law because of Politcial Patronage.

Unfortunately there will be a hue and cry with Investigations made, Announcements will be made of compensation by Operator or Govt, the Family Life has to GO ON for affected families and some More Indians will die for NO Fault of Theirs.

the fault is clearly with Politicians / Greedy Businessmen & Other Officials who are out to make a Quick Buck at Aam Aadhmi's Expense.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 15th November 2013 at 14:31. Reason: Merging back-to-back posts. Plz use the Edit button if posting within 30 mins of previous post. Thanks.
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Old 15th November 2013, 12:01   #67
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Some of the statements in TOI interviewing the bus operators are hilarious. One of them says, we've had Ashok Leyland buses crash up, hurtled in the air and never has there been such a catastrophy. This is obviously targeted at Volvo. All these operators do not understand why their businesses are so successful today. Volvo are the one's who introduced the highest order of comfort, passenger and driver safety.
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Old 15th November 2013, 12:46   #68
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Like I mentioned earlier, I'd prefer a thorough investigation before drawing any conclusions, but if it does come down to taking someone's word for it, it's Volvo (with a long-standing global reputation in safe automotive technology) against shady travel operators known for flouting all possible norms to make a fast buck.

No prizes for guessing who gets my vote.


About the vehicle's design and the fuel tank being located 3 meters from the front end, one also needs to account for the fact that the buses are rear-engined and the fuel tank needs to be isolated from the engine bay too. Moreover, if there really were issues with the design, why weren't they sorted out during homologation? Why aren't the authorities being held responsible for approving a faulty design in the first place (if that is so)?

Not going into specifics, but I'd leave any redesign ideas (if required) to the manufacturer with actual design expertise rather than an idiot operator claiming they've had other buses flipping and crashing but never burning up. Really? Is that some kind of badge of honor?
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Old 15th November 2013, 13:31   #69
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Yesterday I head the one of the most hilarious or rather baseless statements by vatious people and I quote them

1. MLA and partner of National Travels says
Quote:
This is a new model of bus, and recently even Jabbar Travels had a similar incident. I think the Volvo bus has a techical fault in it.
This is not the only bus owned by them. Trying to put the blame on the bus in order to save themselves is equivalent to killing their business. Rather he could have olayed safe by stating that he had not yet got concrete information as to why this happened.

2. A government official, as quoted by television channel Suvarna News
Quote:
Karnataka government considering ban on Volvo buses
Seriously?

3.
Quote:
Normal buses should topple or fall onto its side if they hit a median. They shouldn't sit there and catch fire
The second part ks correct, ie they shouldnt catch fire. But first part is duly noted.
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Old 15th November 2013, 13:37   #70
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
Yesterday I head the one of the most hilarious or rather baseless statements by vatious people and I quote them

1. MLA and partner of National Travels says


This is not the only bus owned by them. Trying to put the blame on the bus in order to save themselves is equivalent to killing their business. Rather he could have olayed safe by stating that he had not yet got concrete information as to why this happened.

2. A government official, as quoted by television channel Suvarna News


Seriously?

3.

The second part ks correct, ie they shouldnt catch fire. But first part is duly noted.
It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. I've stopped travelling long-distance by bus because I'm uncomfortable entrusting my well-being to operators with such a cavalier attitude to passenger safety.

Reg. point 3, they're probably happy with buses toppling over because they can be repaired and put back into service. A gutted bus is a write-off.

They seem least concerned whether a passenger dies by fire or smashing his head in a toppled bus.


PS: Mods, please merge this with my previous post, if required. 'audioholic' posted after I submitted my post, hence couldn't multi-quote.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 15th November 2013 at 13:41.
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Old 15th November 2013, 13:47   #71
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

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Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
First up, the RTO deserves credit for such a quick investigation and report. Rare in our country to see such dedicated bureaucracy.
You just can't be so naive in giving credits to the RTO.

I suspect that, it is nothing but a face saving act by the bus operators to salvage their reputation. They would have used their political connections to get the RTO officers to the accident spot instantly and give the operators a clean chit.

If the RTO officers are so intelligent to decipher so much of technical issues from a torched bus, why did they grant the license to ply on the road in the first place? They should have done all this postmortem exercise long back!!

Last edited by Warwithwheels : 15th November 2013 at 13:48.
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Old 15th November 2013, 13:52   #72
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

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Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
You just can't be so naive in giving credits to the RTO.

I suspect that, it is nothing but a face saving act by the bus operators to salvage their reputation. They would have used their political connections to get the RTO officers to the accident spot instantly and give the operators a clean chit.

If the RTO officers are so intelligent to decipher so much of technical issues from a torched bus, why did they grant the license to ply on the road in the first place? They should have done all this postmortem exercise long back!!
That comment of mine was firmly tongue-in-cheek. I should've added a sarcasm alert.

I found it highly suspicious that the authorities were so quick to dismiss operator error. Like you say, just how they managed to deduce such conclusions from a totally gutted bus without a forensic examination is beyond my understanding. Either we're looking at pure investigative genius, or they think we're just plain idiots who'll buy whatever explanation they care to put forward.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 15th November 2013 at 13:56.
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Old 15th November 2013, 14:26   #73
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

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Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
Another manufacturer is just waiting to get in and take over Volvo's reigns...
Like I'd mentioned, I can see the "sweeping under the carpet" effort start off on war footing. Muddle up the water - blame someone quickly to take the heat off. In this case Volvo.
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Old 15th November 2013, 14:44   #74
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Though overspeeding, drowsy and sometimes intoxicated drivers might be the primary cause for the accident to occur, it still does not explain the fires.
In the Mahabubnagar bus tragedy, forensic reports claimed that upon impact, carbon monoxide made its way through the AC vents and killed the passengers even before the bus was engulfed in fire.
Afaik, the AC unit and the roto-moulded plastic fuel tank is located close to each other.
Though Volvo is reputed for automotive safety, there might be some minor design flaws like the positioning of these units which might have lead to these major fire tragedies.

There were also reports that the emergency exits could not be opened and reports that the victims broke the window panes with their heads was shocking! This might be due to lack of proper training or guidance to the drivers and passengers before the journey. They can brief the passengers about emergency exits and fire extinguishers as they do in commercial passenger airplanes just before the journey.
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Old 15th November 2013, 14:54   #75
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

This is certainly bad news with the same kind of tragedy repeating. I think they should start playing a video or rather have an attender explain about the safety exits and ways to use it before the start of the journey (Like the one in plane). RTO need to bring in some legislation to get that done and ensure that required safety / Escape equipments are kept inside the bus.
But my point is that whatever be the root cause like over speeding, or driver dozing off, the immediate cause for fire in both cases have been mentioned as fuel tank catching fire. Isn't that something which can be system controlled ? If so then it becomes a safety failure which Volvo needs to look into, people's lives and their reputation of being the safest automobiles is under cloud here. The other probable causes may be, as someone mentioned, carrying inflammable contraband goods in the luggage compartment. In the Hyderabad blasts, there were rumors that the bus was carrying Deepavali crackers or so. Don't know how true this is, but defintely something which the investigators need to find out and let the public know. At the moment, the fact is that bus travellers are definitely not feeling safe being inside a Volvo, whatever the reason be.
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