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Old 15th November 2013, 15:11   #76
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Come on folks, there is a limit to fool-proofing any machine. The costs have to be kept in mind as well and that too in a price sensitive market like ours.
When I begin to think why such accidents had to happen now after a decade of Volvo's entry into India, my instinct can only think of a conspiracy hatched by some competitor to malign Volvo and eat into its sales ! Given the fact that Volvo has a market share of > 85% and there are many new entrants like Benz, Scania et al who have invested heavily and failed miserably to capture this segment, this possibility cannot be ruled out entirely. There have been cases of MNCs bribing government officials to push their products, why cant there be a case of some MNC pulling down its competitor in cahoots with some corrupt government officials and influential people ?

While the Hyderabad incident could most probably be an accident, this one here seems to have been replicated in the exact manner which is too much of a coincidence for me to digest.
The fact that the operator is a politician makes is convenient to pull of such a horror, if planned, because of the clout and influence in government agencies as well as the accessibility to media to tarnish Volvo's reputation which can be very well seen in the MLA's statements -
Quote:
"Ours was a new bus but got burnt within minutes. That it turned into ashes after colliding with a culvert clearly indicates there's some problem with the buses. Ashok Leyland buses have collided and hurtled into the air but the scale the tragedy has never been like this."
Hoping that the truth comes out ASAP and Volvo has to do the root cause analysis, report its findings and take corrective actions whatever required.
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Old 15th November 2013, 15:43   #77
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shinuak View Post
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.
Completely agree that customers need to be reassured about safety, but by a thorough investigation and putting blame where it actually lies (whichever party it turns out to be), and then fixing those issues. Customers also need to look at the complete picture instead of getting swayed by fear-mongering by vested interests. Right now it looks like everyone involved is a bit too keen to blame the manufacturer and absolve the operator(s) of any wrongdoing, but the travelling public needs to realize that a thorough investigation is in their best interests, because their safety is on the line ultimately. If the issues plaguing road transport in our country are not resolved, such accidents will continue to happen, Volvo or no Volvo. A dead passenger is a dead passenger, bus manufacturer notwithstanding.
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Old 15th November 2013, 15:50   #78
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Most Volvos start at least an hour later than scheduled. And they try to make up for time by the speeding on the road. This, to me, is the first and foremost reason for an accident. Except for the government run KSRTC in bangalore, I am yet to see another bus operator starting the journey on time (in bangalore).

No:2, Volvo drivers, who may have been used to driving other low-end buses before, find the volvo effortless to do high speeds and maneuver around. Many also have the 'Moronic Pride' in doing high speeds on the road and how they are considered a 'veteran' if they can drive for 20 hrs non stop.

Need of the hour is a speed limiter on these buses. And it should come from the factory, not a retro fit. Since the journey happens in Air conditioned comfort, passenger won't (shouldn't) complain if their journey takes a bit longer. The drivers need sufficient rest before and after every drive.

One of the comments in this thread pointed out that passengers should complain if the driver is speeding. Better said than done, this. I took a volvo from Pondicherry to bangalore and the bus was traveling through the tiruvannamalai high way (which is nothing but a few thousand pot holes/craters for 120 kms. Its easily THE worst road you can find in India). The driver was doing 120 KMPH on that single lane road in the middle of the night. After a couple of close shaves, i couldn't sit quiet and I went and politely asked him to slow down. I did expect the driver to snub me (which he did) but what i did not expect was a few passengers also joined him. I heard stuff like 'we all need to go to work today' 'when do you want to reach bangalore' etc. I learnt It is futile to even try reasoning with these morons.

Strict enforcement of speed limiters and canceling the license of violators will sure go a long way. If there are tactical issues with inter city/state buses where each location is governed by a different police station. The highway patrol guys should probably take over the enforcement. That should do the trick.

Last edited by veyron_head : 15th November 2013 at 15:56. Reason: typos, added a couple of sentences
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Old 15th November 2013, 16:16   #79
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

All said and done, Indian highways are still not fit for driving buses >100 kmph at any time of day or night. So, why not fit speed limiters on all Volvo buses, for 100 kmph, so the drivers do not drive them like 'airplane on runway'. I traveled in a Volvo only once and decided to take train instead or drive down. Most of Volvo drivers bully their way through traffic with sea-liner like blaring multiple horns. Even they chase cars and SUVs through towns and village roads, it is atrocious.
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Old 15th November 2013, 16:52   #80
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by veyron_head View Post
Most Volvos start at least an hour later than scheduled. And they try to make up for time by the speeding on the road.
My observations exactly.

The Private operators should take ideas from KSRTC which has the longest Track record of operating Volvo's in the country and follow this for everybody concerned.

As someone famously said "With Great Power comes Great Responsibility".
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Old 15th November 2013, 17:11   #81
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

I agree to the point that the reason such accidents happen on indian roads is because of the way these buses are driven and maintained by the operatiors!

i have this interesting experience about volvo travel. I and 2 of my friends took a volvo bus from pavit travels to Bidar to attend a friends wedding some 3 years back.

I dozed off and the bus continued towards tumkur. After crossing the nelamangala toll booth, all of sudden i hear a big sound of the glass breaking. Funnily the movie being played inside the bus was 2012 and all hell had broken lose in the movie and i thought the sound of glass getting smashed was from the movie

When i woke up i saw that the front wind shield of the bus is broken in to pieces as some stone flew from another truck. Instead of calling for a replacement bus, the drivers cleaned the glass from the cabin and drove the bus all the way to Bidar which is a good 700+ KM from bangalore!

as the bus was driven at a speed of about 60-70 KMPH due to the air pressure, the front 2 passenger windows too started to come off! during a tea break on the way we asked the driver why didn't they take the bus back to bangalore to get it repaired and we were told that after reaching bidar, they would go to hyderabad and replace the wind shield and the windows!

If the operator cared even a bit for passenger safety that bus would not have moved a KM towards its destination.

Compare that to another incident couple of years back. I worked late in office and was on my way home in the night. I used to stay on hesarghatta road off tumkur road. as i haven't had dinner i stopped at mcdonalds after gorguntepalya. while i was ordering there, one of my college mate appeared to have dinner there. He stays in koppal and was heading back that night. Since the KSRTC bus he was traveling in broke down and a replacement bus was asked by the crew, he had time to grab something to eat!

30 mins later a another volvo came and picked all the passenger and reached its destination 30 min late than its schedule arrival time!
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Old 15th November 2013, 17:31   #82
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ant_vas View Post
I agree to the point that the reason such accidents happen on indian roads is because of the way these buses are driven and maintained by the operatiors!
This is another proof why it is better to Travel by KSRTC rather than the private Bus Operators who are just money grubbers.

Am Proud of KSRTC and their Services.

Another proof where the Govt Run facility is better than Private Run Facility.

Last edited by aah78 : 15th November 2013 at 18:52. Reason: Please limit smileys to 2/post. Thanks!
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Old 15th November 2013, 17:37   #83
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guna View Post
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
Bakwas and Idiotic investigations. From the below pictures, why did not the bus catch fire. There is more to the diesel tank catching story. Illegal Luggage in the Luggage compartment (Read Combustible Material), Over Speeding, Driver dozing off. Instead of probing all angles, it is unfair to point finger to Volvo.

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Image Courtsey: The HINDU

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Old 15th November 2013, 17:54   #84
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Todays Times of India has this graphical description of the accident. Going by the incident, few questions need to be probed:

1) Where is the diesel tank located in volvo's? 3 mtrs behind the front bumper or in the rear of the bus?
2) if the bus hit the divider on the left how come the fire on the buses backside was seen by the driver on his rear view mirror?
3) if the driver indeed alert the passengers, how were 7 people burnt alive including the second driver and an infant?
4) Why did the driver run way as per reports after the accident?

Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!-volvo.jpg
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Old 15th November 2013, 18:07   #85
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

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Originally Posted by ant_vas View Post
Todays Times of India has this graphical description of the accident.
Times of India is worse than a tabloid, aptly called TOI-let paper or Slimes of India. So, ignore and educate other to ignore it.
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Old 15th November 2013, 18:09   #86
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

The diesel tank can't be in the rear of the bus as the engine is there.

But a location of 3 metres behind the front bumper places it about 10.5 feet away from the front, which will be somewhere in the centre of the bus, may be slightly forward. How long is the bus, anyway?
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Old 15th November 2013, 18:13   #87
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guna View Post
RTO pinpoints design flaws as reported by TOI:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/25780206.cms
First up, the RTO deserves credit for such a quick investigation and report. Rare in our country to see such dedicated bureaucracy. [sarcasm alert]

Quote:
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
Wasn't this particular accident a case of a sideways hit on a bridge causing loss of control and ultimately hitting a median? From the pictures and the report, it doesn't seem like a head-on collision. Moreover, all buses & trucks in India have their fuel tanks in the same spot, close to the front axle on the right or left flank (in most cases unprotected too, esp. in trucks). By this logic, all accidents should lead to fires. Why is it an issue only with Volvo buses?

Quote:
* Low ground clearance, less than 30cm; undercarriage made of plywood and used for keeping luggage which is not checked by private operators
300mm is low, agreed, for the moonscapes we're forced to drive on. The RTO would do better to blame the NHAI (or whoever built/maintains the road) for making roads where 300mm clearance isn't enough. Forget buses, it's a miracle if a regular Joe comes back from a highway trip without damaging his car's undercarriage. Shameful.

Private operators slacking on vigilance is not the manufacturer's fault.

Quote:
* The company should be looking at the 12-year-old design specifications and seeking answers why and how buses catch fire.
Agreed. The company should investigate (which they've assured to do). If there are concerns with the design being faulty or outdated, the authorities should ensure it's corrected by the manufacturer and re-homologated. Blaming the manufacturer post-facto isn't going to help the unfortunate victims.

Quote:
* 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
The cabin is designed on the buyer's specification. All KSRTC volvos have a full-sized emergency exit door on the right-rear of the bus, in addition to hammers attached to breakable windows. If the front exit is the only way out in a particular bus, it's the buyer's fault for specifying it that way, and the authorities' fault for approving it.

Quote:
* 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
All of this (including construction material), if design faults, should've been pointed out before approving the buses to ply on our roads. Blaming the manufacturer NOW for supplying buses as specified by the buyer and approved by the authorities gets us nowhere.

PS: Re-posting this as original post deleted by mods due to incorrect quoting.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 15th November 2013 at 18:19.
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Old 15th November 2013, 18:15   #88
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

The Volvo bus catching fire is getting alarmingly frequent to believe that all of a sudden the Volvo's have become combustible and are bursting into flames on the first opportunity. Come on folks, this is the 4th Volvo fire, I have heard in 3 weeks. It started with The Mehabubnagar incident, then there was a Volvo that caught fire on Tumkur Road, it was a KSRTC, there were no causalities, there was another Volvo of KSRTC where smoke emanated and people were evacuated and now there is this incident. To me this certainly does not sound normal and my thoughts are it could be
a) Some kind of Conspiracy
b) Some kind of insurance fraud unfolding
c) Could do with the cargo carried in these buses- there is no mention of these in any of the reports
d) This could be resulting from lack of maintenance of these buses. While these buses are hi-tech, they also need regular and meticulous maintenance, and most of these buses someone said are over 4-5 years old which means many of these would have clocked upwards of 300K kms

Volvo's are known for safety and comfort, and became popular with the travelling public, and garnered the market inspite of being anywhere between 4-6 times more expensive than "Luxury coaches" built by body builders. Suddenly one fine day they turn into virtual tinder boxes!! too hard to believe, there is more to these fires than what we read and what is being reported...

Last edited by gops2009 : 15th November 2013 at 18:17.
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Old 15th November 2013, 18:23   #89
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sa_kiran View Post
Times of India is worse than a tabloid, aptly called TOI-let paper or Slimes of India. So, ignore and educate other to ignore it.
but TOI has degenerated horribly over the last few years. As a 2-decade+ subscriber, I'm appalled at the downward spiral its quality has taken. There was a time when TOI was the benchmark in journalism, not anymore.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 15th November 2013 at 18:28.
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Old 15th November 2013, 19:09   #90
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjun Reddy View Post
Volvos are considered extremely safe vehicles be it their cars or commercial vehicles.
The fires seem to have a pattern now. The bus hits divider-fuel tank ruptures leading to a fire. If it is a design failure on Volvos part,I guess they need to put their hand up and rethink on the placement if the fuel tank.
I think time is ripe for these companies or regulators to gun for stuff like self sealing tanks, fuel baffles (foam based) or may be even split tanks to preclude such catastrophic results of fuel tank rupture. as it appears from the narratives of the survivors there was an 'explosion'. probably that's the clue which can be worked on.
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