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Old 15th November 2013, 23:03   #106
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

R.I.P. the departed!

At least this awakens the Indian apathy to road safety.

For those infrequent travels I do to Mumbai by road, for long I have stuck to a reputed private bus operator from Maharashtra, GhatgePatil. I don't pick up the Volvos but prefer their services of Indian makes.

Not that Volvo is dangerours. Afterall their cars are rated the safest in the world. THe problem lies with the mindset of operators. As someone rightly said, there is a competition to let the bus leave late and arrive earlier than competition. The sheer capacity of the Volve buses coupled with reckless operators is the concern.

Had once booked on Neeta Volvo and literally held my breathe when the driver managed close to 500km to Mumbai in five hrs and half including comfort break of alomost 45 min.

From that day, I have never seen the face of Neeta and private Volvo. The last I used was Shivneri by MSRTC. Unfortunately their tickets are approximately a dollar and half more for Kolhapur-Pune, Sangli-Pune Satara - Pune route than private bus operators. Now that makes the majority people think of it as loot and the reckless operators parking buses 100m away find buses full while poor Shivneri waits for passengers.

Let this episode shake the midnsets of travellers as only the travellers can force the safety in road travel by public transport by not availing tainted or ill reputed operators. Government would remain a pachyderm forever and no hopes from that end.
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Old 16th November 2013, 00:50   #107
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by starfanrld View Post
Its amazing that the 2 accidents that occurred in a short period of time were from Private Operators with similar nature of accidents and also are owned by people with political connections. There may also be a family connection between the 2 Operators.
A malayalam daily reports that owners of National and Jabbar are relatives and business associates. It is very well possible that both the buses met with accidents were transporting same materials (whatever it was! one to Hyderabad and other to Mumbai from Bangalore). It could be a mere coincidence also. Every one knows that with just ticket fare collected from passengers, no one can run a profitable bus service using Volvo buses.

Now from the Volvo's part, the buses are very advanced, but it was designed for developed countries. They need to make design changes to make it suitable for Indian roads and the way Indian drivers use them. Definitely fuel tanks need more protection, it cannot burst when the bus hit a culvert. The problem is these kind of design changes will increase the cost of the bus even higher, reduce the fuel efficiency which is already low and also the time to market, which Volvo cannot afford at this point, as Many International brands are waiting on the side lines to grab the market share (which is very limited ~500 per year). You cannot import a successful product from abroad and hope that it will work perfectly in India.

In my opinion, both the parties are at fault, the operator and the manufacturer.

Last edited by teamveevee : 16th November 2013 at 00:53.
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Old 16th November 2013, 01:06   #108
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While Volvo is yet to come out with their report from Mehbubnagar accident, RTO has come up with their report.

The reporting by RTO some what corroborates what happened, people died in their sleep due to carbon monoxide. Last row passengers burnt on their seats without any time to even get away from their seats.

The pictures of other accidents of Volvo a few pages back shows frontal damage, doesn't show any damage as could be due to a culvert, hence no fire on those buses, also there is government vehicle which has been hit in those pics. Which implies accidents can happen to any vehicle, govt or private.

The whole question is of safety in the time of an accident, I remember someone stating in other thread about Volvo drivers quite scared of their safety in the time of an accident as they are sitting low and have hardly any space as compared to other buses/trucks.

Now this bus seems to be dangerous even for last row passengers who may get burnt in a few seconds of an accident. Not only that with the doors locked it becomes even more dangerous for other passengers.

There is a thread by another bhpian on how their Volvo met an accident and they had to spend anxious 15-20 mins in trying to get out of the bus. Good that there was a frontal impact else that story could have been something else.

With so many Volvo catching fire, there should be an evaluation of why the buses are catching fire so quickly ? Why they are blasting like a bomb? What should be done to ensure the doors get open in case of an accident? what can be done to ensure that the bus if gets hit underbody or side due to road conditions it doesn't catch fire.

Hope Volvo gives some answers to us so that we are sure of the safety of these buses.
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Old 16th November 2013, 08:48   #109
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Despite all these mishaps, i took a multiaxle Volvo from Bangalore to Hyderabad this weekend. I thought some sense would have prevailed in these drivers after the last few incidents - but alas, things stand the way it used to be. There were a lot of checks that are being conducted by cops and RTO officials but the speed of these buses dont seem to have come down. I am not averse to speed - it is the might of these buses at that speed that scares. We left Bangalore at midnight. We were stopped at almost all tolls for checks by RTO officials. In-fact close to Hyderabad, a full fledged team got into all the private buses (couple of KSRTC Volvos crossed us), examined each of the emergency exits, checked the hammers, the number of people sitting and their names and other credentials, the luggage bays etc. However despite all these stoppages, we reached Hyderabad at 7 am. That is 7 hours for a journey of 600 kms with all these stops, we still made it in a fairly quick time. And it was not just our bus, but all the buses that departed Bangalore around the same time reached Hyderabad around the same time. I also realized that in the case of an eventuality, it would be rather tedious for a passenger to pull out the hammer and knock the windows - because, these push back seats virtually locks you down and it takes some effort and time to get the person ahead of you to straighten his seats. I am heading back by a non Volvo sleeper ac bus back to Bangalore tonight and my guess is it is equally dangerous in those too.
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Old 16th November 2013, 09:49   #110
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

You raise an interesting point here. With seats fiully reclined, it is very difficult especially for window seat passengers to get out quickly. The common courtsey of putting your seat back upright even when you get out of the bus during scheduled breaks is most often not obeserved, Then you can guess what will happen in an emergency.
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Old 16th November 2013, 10:55   #111
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

VOLVO drivers don't drive fast, they just fly slow. Here's a video uploaded on youtube that shows a VOLVO driver doing speeds in excess of 120 KMPH. (@1.41 the speedo is visible).

Please note that this video is posted here only to bring to light the fact that most VOLVO bus drivers do such high speeds as a routine.

WARNING: IT IS HIGHLY UNSAFE TO DO SUCH SPEEDS ON A PUBLIC ROAD.



And the comments that follow the video are highly saddening.

Few more videos:




Last edited by Warwithwheels : 16th November 2013 at 11:05.
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Old 16th November 2013, 11:24   #112
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

These people should be banned from driving rest of life. Putting lifes of so many people in danger, even with all these videos, cops are not bothered.
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Old 16th November 2013, 11:30   #113
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

I think the thread title should be changed as it seems to suggest that Volvo buses have a tendency to go up in flames in an accident. There is a lot of Volvo bashing going on which I feel is wrong and unwarranted.

Volvo is an industry standard & a benchmark in safety but it seems like we are jumping the gun and putting all the blame on a manufacturer that has built it's reputation on safety, mind you, it's deserving reputation too. In India we love to see big brands fail. Why does a Tata bus not get the flak to burning but a Volvo does? Also, the safety concern in this country is probably in negative, it's not even zero.

In all probability, it's the road design at fault which means the government goofed up but in India the government is the 'mai baap' and can never be wrong. Why did the bus hit the culvert? That is the first question that needs to be answered. Did the driver doze off resulting in the bus veering off course? Did the driver have to swerve to avoid a freshly erupted pot hole resulting in the accident? Was the culvert at a curve? Was there a vehicle that had broken down marked by twigs and leaves a few meters ahead or before the culvert? What type of cargo was the bus carrying? Was any of the cargo flammable? What did the driver do from 48 hours before the accident till the point of impact? There are so many questions that we we can look at before we start demanding that Volvo change the position of the fuel tank. Between a road, designed & constructed in India, and a bus maker renowned for safety from a country in Europe which one should be the first suspect? Volvo's have been running all over the world, in some countries they may be safely doing 100 kmph, why can't they do that in India? Why is is that the position of the fuel tank has not caused a single accident in any other country? Even Volvo cannot make their products safe for Indian conditions because there is just no concept of safety here. Instead of demanding that Volvo change their design, we should ask our idiotic government to follow the SOP's while building roads.

As for driver fatigue, I feel the Indian system of 'jugaad' that we are so proud of is actually taking us down. Volvo's are easy to drive hence the driver can easily drive 10-12 hours. What about our brilliant roads? Have they changed?

Another important question. Would WE pay a higher price for the ticket if the rule of driver's changing every 6-8 hours is implemented strictly? Between an operator that tells you our prices are higher as 2 driver's go in the bus and they change every 6 hours hence our tickets are costlier & another operator that prices his tickets' lower, which one would we go with? We would call the expensive operator someone that doesn't know how to do business talking proudly about our 'jugaad' culture.

As a start, I am tempted to say we can implement a simple rule that there should be a safety hammer above all seats on buses. I have seen that on buses in Europe, even city buses in Frankfurt had them. These are the hammer's that are used to cut seat belts & break glasses but before the first trip is over half of the hammer's would have disappeared. We are frustrating bunch of people to deal with. Let's accept it.

Everyone from top to bottom is at fault. We the people, the government, the engineer's that take money to approve shoddy work, contractor's that cut corner's, our culture of 'jugaad' & total disdain for safety, our culture of saving few bucks if it means compromise on safety, the list is endless. But we are never at fault. It's Volvo!

Last edited by amit : 16th November 2013 at 11:34.
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Old 16th November 2013, 14:10   #114
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Quote:

Another important question. Would WE pay a higher price for the ticket if the rule of driver's changing every 6-8 hours is implemented strictly? Between an operator that tells you our prices are higher as 2 driver's go in the bus and they change every 6 hours hence our tickets are costlier & another operator that prices his tickets' lower, which one would we go with? We would call the expensive operator someone that doesn't know how to do business talking proudly about our 'jugaad' culture.
That's a good point you raised amit.....if, for example, a person wants to travel from Mumbai to Goa, and upon checking Volvo rates, finds out that Paulo is charging 850 for the trip, whereas Neeta gets the job done in 700 bucks, the person will almost probably go with Neeta ( provided the timings of both operators are suitable for him). No one really stops to check how many drivers will be onboard at the time of booking tickets. If booking tickets online, this kind of info isn't even available. That said, I've gone frequently on long distance Volvo trips ( Mumbai to goa, mumbai to shirdi, delhi to manali, mumbai to mangalore) on different operator's Volvos like Neeta, VRL, Konduskar, Paulo etc and not a single bus was driven by one driver. They always have 2 drivers onboard, and one seat on the front row of the seats is almost always marked as 'driver's seat', complete with a mattress for the resting driver to sleep.

Also, some points I've noticed on this thread:

1) Buses leaving late and arriving on time is a competition

Sure, every passenger wants the bus to arrive on time. However, it is not the drivers who are to blame for buses leaving late. Given my residential location, I always board Volvos at source. And at source, every volvo, from every operator is ALWAYS dot on time. But as the bus progresses through the city, passengers are never on time. The bus needs to wait for these passengers to arrive and hence gets late. If one sits in front and listens to the phone conversations of the driver/co-driver, one would realise how stressful it is to call up every late passenger, inform him or her that the bus is waiting for them, at times even give directions to the passenger to the boarding point. All these factors are what actually delay a bus.

On one trip, a passenger actually called up the driver and said that he would not be able to board the bus as he had some work that day, and said he would come the next day. The driver said its not posible because his reservation is for today. There was a 10 minute fight about this. Obviously if you have a reservation for today, you cannot board the bus the next day. Such fools don't make the driver's task any easier.

2) People trash operators for filling up the bus beyond capacity. Neeta in particular has a horrible reputation of flat refusing to leave until the bus is fully sold out. However, the operator has no knowledge of this. Drivers and cleaners standing at the door and shouting out the destination of the bus hoping to attract more passengers is done to make a quick buck which goes entirely into the driver's pockets. The company probably has no record of these passengers at all.

In a nutshell, keeping some things in check is beyond the capacity of a company. People should understand and co-operate
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Old 16th November 2013, 18:49   #115
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Guys - those who missed - Excerpt from today's Hindu on the global Volvo safety team coming down to investigate the two thermal incidents -

Quote:

Global automobile major Volvo Bus Corporation has flown in a team of international safety experts to address public anxiety following two recent accidents involving its luxury buses, which burst into flames near Mahabubnagar in Andhra Pradesh and near Haveri in Karnataka.

Akash Passey, senior vice-president and a member of the multinational’s executive management team, told The Hindu that Volvo was the first to introduce the bus chassis concept 12 years ago, at a time when bus bodies in the country were built on chasses meant for trucks.

Issues over exits in bus

He admitted that the recent accidents had raised “issues about exits” in the Volvo buses. “We have four emergency exits, instead of two prescribed by the law in India.” He claimed that 10 of the 12 windows in a multi-axle Volvo bus were “breakable either with a hammer or a solid object with reasonable force.”

Referring to the speculation that the fire in the accidents could have been caused by the nature and structure of the fuel tank, Mr. Passey said, “A fuel tank in a bus or in a commercial vehicle does not explode.”

Could the doors of the buses have jammed after the accident, making it difficult for passengers to exit? “If the electrical system is still functioning,” Mr. Passey said, “the doors would be operable, and if there is no electricity the pneumatic mechanism turns free, which enables the doors to be pushed open. There is no such thing as a central locking system in these buses.”

“But if there is a high-impact accident, the doors can get deformed, which can cause them to get jammed.”

Mr. Passey admitted that the recent “high-impact accidents” had caused people “to lose a little bit of the trust” they had for the company. He attributed the erosion of trust to “circumstances” beyond the control of the company. “This is why we are also eagerly waiting for the comprehensive investigation into the accidents,” he said.
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Old 16th November 2013, 18:56   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit View Post
I think the thread title should be changed as it seems to suggest that Volvo buses have a tendency to go up in flames in an accident. There is a lot of Volvo bashing going on which I feel is wrong and unwarranted. Volvo is an industry standard & a benchmark in safety but it seems like we are jumping the gun and putting all the blame on a manufacturer that has built it's reputation on safety, mind you, it's deserving reputation too. ? Even Volvo cannot make their products safe for Indian conditions because there is just no concept of safety here. Instead of demanding that Volvo change their design, we should ask our idiotic government to follow the SOP's while building roads. As for driver fatigue, I feel the Indian system of 'jugaad' that we are so proud of is actually taking us down. Volvo's are easy to drive hence the driver can easily drive 10-12 hours. What about our brilliant roads? Have they changed? Another important question. Would WE pay a higher price for the ticket if the rule of driver's changing every 6-8 hours is implemented strictly? Between an operator that tells you our prices are higher as 2 driver's go in the bus and they change every 6 hours hence our tickets are costlier & another operator that prices his tickets' lower, which one would we go with? We would call the expensive operator someone that doesn't know how to do business talking proudly about our 'jugaad' !

I absolutely agree with you.
Volvo built its reputation on safety.
They cannot be blamed for the after market modifications which are done on account of the travel operator's greed and avarice!
They also cannot be held responsible for stupid things like the driver and co driver carrying live fuel and gas!
About time that all modes of travel in India had some solid safety norms enforced!
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Old 16th November 2013, 19:06   #117
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Since there is a lot of Volvo discussion going on, I thought I'll share this new Ad from Volvo about their 'Precision Steering'. Already has 13 Million views on youtube

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Old 16th November 2013, 21:11   #118
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

First of all, a bus hitting divider - its the fault of the driver. Why that happens - overspeeding, driver fatigue - anybody's guess, but its driver's fault.

Then, a bus catching fire after hitting divider - a design fault. As somebody rightly pointed out, there are so many cars getting hit, rolled over, but never catch fire. Why would a Volvo? It does not matter whether Volvo has a great safety record in some country. Fact is, when hit on to a divider, it catches fire which it should not. Where is all those crash test?

After market modifications? Think about it. Operator installed additional seat. Yes, it may block the exit, but the bus catching fire because of that? Please, the bus did not catch fire because of an extra seat or some curtains installed. Bus operators would not play with the core design and here it seems the problem is the fuel tank exploding and bus catching fire, which is obviously not due to any modification.

Last edited by sumannandy : 16th November 2013 at 21:14.
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Old 16th November 2013, 21:46   #119
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Volvos are the best. Their steering is very precise. They have so much info on the Dash. Lets say something that doesnt even matter to a lot of us, like say, service brakes. I have seen that light on almost everytime I am on a volo. I always take the seat right behind the driver. I never sleep.

Volvos are the best. Volvos want their stuff taken care off. not happening. volvo on retread tyres?

I dont do VOLVO. i do the non AC air suspension chair car. and I am wide awake most times talking to the driver.

it would take atleast a hundred years for us to even match what singapore was 10 years back.
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Old 17th November 2013, 09:05   #120
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Default re: Nov '13: Another Volvo Bus catches fire. 7 dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
VOLVO drivers don't drive fast, they just fly slow. Here's a video uploaded on youtube that shows a VOLVO driver doing speeds in excess of 120 KMPH. (@1.41 the speedo is visible).

Please note that this video is posted here only to bring to light the fact that most VOLVO bus drivers do such high speeds as a routine.

WARNING: IT IS HIGHLY UNSAFE TO DO SUCH SPEEDS ON A PUBLIC ROAD.


And the comments that follow the video are highly saddening.

F
This is proof of what I said. BULLYING. Listen to the horn! Why such horns are allowed on Volvos, while even on sedans the air horns are caught by the cops? And the way the Volvo is bullying the Sumo, is typical all over the country. So sad to see.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 18th November 2013 at 18:14. Reason: Removed embedded video from quoted post for benefit of mobile users.
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