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Saturday, December 22, 2007

VRL Volvo Experiences

Read about the Pune - Bangalore - Pune experience here - CLICK
VRL Volvo

I have travelled on the VRL Volvo quite a few times now
1) Belgaum-Mumbai route
2) Davanagere-Pune route.
3) Bangalore-Mumbai route
4) Pune-Davanagere route

The Belgaum-Mumbai route was done way back in May 2007 and I dont remember much. I was travelling with my better half and luckily we managed to get seat No 1 & 2, which meant we could straighten our legs and sleep comfortably. The booking was done at a VRL outlet in Belgaum, and the guy did it online (as compared to other booking agents using the good old telephone system) All along the journey, one of the VRL employee, got down around 4-5 times at the local VRL offices with a register in his hand. May be VRL keeps a track on the timings of the buses crossing the cities. Good thing! This was a semi-sleeper Volvo, which basically means that there is leg support and the seats recline a lot. Overall, a comfortable journey...

The second time was in July 2007 end for Davanagere to Pune (around 560km) I made a booking on the Bangalore-Mumbai Volvo and the ticket cost me Rs 900! Although the ticket for the entire journey is Rs 1000, they charge 900 for Davanagere-Pune, which is like just 560kms or so! I again got seat No1 and so was happy. But what I didnt appreciate was that I had to wait for like 45mins. The bus was running late. The least the office could do was spend 2 bucks to make a call to me and inform me about the delay. If that wasnt enough, the bus made a dinner stop next to the office. So, actually, I had to wait for a good 1.5 hours at the office. This was a big disappointment. The journey was comfortable after this. We left Davanagere at around 11pm, and reached Pune Swargate by 8:30am.

On 14th August, I took a normal Ashok Leyland 2*2 VRL bus from Davanagere to Bangalore. The distance is around 275kms, and the ticket was for Rs 220 (quite expensive for a non A/C Indian bus). I was unfortunate to get the rear most seat. The road till Chitradurga is quite bad and trust me, I had a nightmare that night. We left Davanagere at 11pm, arrived in Bangalore by 5:15am. There is a HUGE difference in the way a passenger feels in a normal Indian bus as compared to a Volvo. Vibrations, noise, slow speed, comfort etc, everything matters.

I also took a Bangalore - Mumbai VRL Volvo in October first week. 1020kms /18hrs in a bus? Yeah, things are different in a Volvo. The long distance VRL buses (or for that matter Sharma Volvos) are 41 seaters / 10rows (the Mumbai-Pune Neetas are 53seats / 13rows). This means one can really stretch the legs and sleep / seat comfortably. We left Bangalore at around 4:15pm, literally flew to Davanagere. Enroute we had a puncture, so the bus arrived at around 9:45pm, instead of the usual 9:00pm. The 260km distance takes less than 6hrs usually (getting out of bangalore along takes an hour!). After a dinner stop at Davanagere, we left at around 10:30pm, reaching Pune by around 7am, and Vashi (new mumbai) by around 10:30am. Nice journey, very comfortable, next to no vibrations and noise. Volvos rock!

Then on 7th December 2007, I wanted to visit Davanagere from Pune. I booked my ticket just a day in advance and hence couldnt get the front seat. I opted for the second last row, window seat. Trust me, all those who travel on the Mumbai-Pune route by those shitty Neeta/Metro Link buses need to sit in these superb long distance Sharma/VRL/KSRTC volvos to realise how silent they are, even if you sitting way behind.
I paid Rs 800 for the 560km journey. The bus left Pune at 7:45am, and I think I was dropped at the Davangere bypass at around 5:30am. Overall, a nice comfortable trip.

You can also log onto for booking the tickets online

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Metro Link Volvo Experience

The 4th December 2007 experience: Mumbai to Pune

Took a really old Volvo B7R (the first generation, without the front disc brakes one) run by Metro Link from Vashi (new Mumbai) to Pune on the 4th. Got a window seat, second last row. The heat of the engine was too much. Came all the way literally sweating. The ticket was for Rs 180. Was too tired, slept most of the way. The A/c was too loud , later on, while getting down from the bus, i discovered a weird duct on the roof (in the middle of the bus), where i could see some wiring and all, a little fan too - realized it was part of the a/c. The earlier Volvos must be coming this way only.

The MetroLink doesnt take a left from Wakad, but from Chandni Chownk, onto Karwe Road. Overall, not a nice journey. Thumps down for Metro Link too