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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

KSRTC Volvo's experience on Pune - Bangalore route bus

Recently we told you about the new 9400 series Volvo B7Rs being purchased by KSRTC (READ IT HERE). Last week, I got a chance to experience one of their new buses.
I had to travel to Davanagere, around 575km from Pune. As i had booked the tickets just a couple of days before my travel, i was unfortunate to get the last row seat on the onward journey. This was on the Mumbai - Bangalore bus that leaves Pune at 5pm.

As seen in the picture, the bus looks a little different from the older B7R. Here is a quick summary of the trip
4:30pm : I reached the pick up point before time but the bus from Mumbai had already reached there
5:15pm : We left the Pune Camp pick-up point
5:45pm : Hit the Pune - Bangalore highway
The bus took a 15min halt at Hotel Natraj, which is around 35km from Pune. We took another 30min break for dinner just a few km before Kolhapur. By around 10pm, we resumed our journey.
Davanagere was around 355km more from here. I though we would take around 5 hours. However, by 2:30am, ie, after around 4.5 hours, the conductor was kind enough to wake me up for getting off.
On the way, i was taking a note of the kilometer markers on the highway, which the bus was continously covering in around 40-41 seconds, translating into a true speed of around 90-91km/h, or around 95-96 on the speedometer. The bus didnt take a fuel stop too, which KSRTC buses usually take at Nipani.

In all, we covered 575km from Pune to Davanagere in around 9hrs 15min including two stops. I paid Rs 850 for the ticket (For the whole Pune - Bangalore section, the ticket however is for Rs 1000)

My return trip was two days later and this time i had a second last row. The bus was an older generation B7R (Mark III) with around 3.5lakh km on the odometer. The suspension felt soggy, and the aircon sound intruded into the cabin a lot. This was a 3pm Bangalore-Mumbai bus and it reached Davangere from Bangalore at 8:10pm (265km in 5hrs 10min). Our dinner stop was at 9:15pm and lasted 30min. Heavy rains lasted around an hour and the driver, even when the roads dried up, was covering the km markers in around 43-44sec, ie, he was keeping around 90km/h on the speedometer. Still, we managed to reach Pune Swargate at sharpy 6am. The return trip of 575km was done in 9hrs 50min.

I feel that if the drivers keep the speeds at around 100-105km/h (which is no big deal for the Volvos), the time can by cut down by around 30min or so. Currently, the Volvos are covering the 830km trip between Bangalore and Pune in around 14 to 14.5 hours.




Anonymous said...

Hey! your forget to mention the interiors and travel comforts between 9400 and the old volvo.

. said...

Well, the ride quality of a new bus is always good. The bus on the return trip was old quite and hence didnt feel good. As it is, i dont think there is a change in the suspension between the Mark III and 9400.
Interiors though were nice : again this could be as the bus was a month or two old

Anonymous said...

Hello admin. I surfed your blog and found it quite interesting. Here is a looonng subject about my trip in a volvo. PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR THE LENGTHY COMMENTS.
Though I am not a regular bus traveller, I usually do trips between chennai & bangalore by brindavan or lalbagh and keep the volvo as last option.Here are the incidents that took place last tuesday at majestic. last week 26.05.09 i was forced to make a sudden return to chennai. Therefore i was left with no option other than bus. I reached majestic by 12 pm. There was a ksrtc volvo ready at 12:30 pm and surprisingly it is nearly 50% reserved -remember it was a working day- .But i quietly ignored that since i didnt had my food from morning and dying of hunger.When i enquired about the next bus they said it was at 2.00 pm.I thought of reserving and when i went to the volvo reservation corners, annoyingly, there was no one in any of the booths.I walked and walked and went till the 1st booth where the mysore volvos roll out. At there first time I saw the mumban airavat wow! the bus was the new 9400.It was really superb than the previous versions It is absolutely full and 2 drivers and conductor had a happy face.I silently went and asked a driver about the reservations. He smilingy said it is unnecessary coz surely said that there will be seats vacant. I trusted his words and went inside the bus stand hotel to have a quick meal-the worst meal in my lifetime-
I came back by 12.40 and again went for another round.the mumban volvo was left and a ordinary bus was taken its place. the conductor was shouting shimoga, honavoro something like that.
The bus was not that bad but it was surely not pretty maintained like airavat.I went back again to the volvo booths to try my luck still there was no one except water bottle packages here and there.
There was continuous buses to mysore but with very poor occupancy. The conductors were screaming till their throats tear but none turned up.I wonder why ksrtc is running these much buses without passengers?
I roamed again and went on to the kempegowda bmtc connection bridge. I took a fresh smoke while watching the buses on either side.I saw numerous red volvo city buses entering the bmtc which means atleast 1 bus for two mins and found all the bus were nearly half packed. It seems the volvo city buses were huge success in bangalore while it was a big failure here in chennai. I have never seen this much amount of passengers in chennai volvo bus and all the buses were covered with ads.
i got down from the bridge and went back to the chennai platform (though,it does not look like platform).And there was standing still was our proud setc ultradeluxe (so called) the worse, worser, worstest bus of all time. The bus was terribly in a bad shape, the shimoga bus itself is better than this. Alas! then came a apsrtc superluxury (again so-called)to give company to our setc (WE DRAVIDIANS RULZ).

Anonymous said...

chennai trip contd.
I think the apsrtc and tnstc where in a tough competition to prove who has the worst bus. It was 1:30 now and there was passengers slowly getting crowded there under the smooth bangalore sunshine. I now very much worried could i get a seat since many of them had a reserved A4 ticket. And there was private travel agents surrounding the passengers and pulling them for a 3 pm sharma vaalvo But none turned up. i was in a sloping mood to try the sharma vaalvo but waited for the ksrtc. At 1.40 the ksrtc volvo slowly scrolled down from its depot. The bus was a little old one with black shades behind headlight and with a lady conductor. When the bus reached its point she quickly collected the tickets from the passengers and asked for the id proof. I was lucky and got a window seat .. sorry sharma! .. but near the last row. The bus left sharply at 02.05 and reached electronic city by 03.40 The bus had a fantastic speed despite bad traffic till hosur.
From da last i could see the driver was wearing the seat belt. the bus stopped in a hotel at 4.15 for a short break. When i came outside the hotel to watch the road i saw a kpn volvo rushing towards chennai. I stunned to see the bus was in a high speed with musical horns and its engine lid swinging in the air. It was truly fast that it left my sight in seconds.
We started again and reached krishnagiri at 05.15 By the way inside the bus TRULY it is 100% occupied i mean even the last middle seat also was occupied. As usual we got KF 500ml waterbottles, facefresh tissues and more importantly puneet rajkumar movie. when the movie started many passengers dead sorry slept.
We reached vellore by 06.30 pm and it was raining outside and when we moved down from the vellore flyover the kpn volvo which i mentioned earlier started joining us from vellore city. I pushed my seat front and got ready to watch the show. The kpn was behind us with probably 5 metres distance but our driver was in no mood to allow him in front and the fact is there were loong car trailers (hyundai drive your way ) in the right lane travelling in their full speed of 40kmph and on the left were the new heroes in town the TATA ACE's etc. which made both the bus drivers to piss off (bcoz at one point both the buses gave up pressing da horn).till walajah tollgate both da buses were together and each took a seperate passway. The kpn driver slided his window and had a smiling chat with our driver.

to be contd..

Anonymous said...

chennai trip contd..
our bus started first and the kpn volvo driver was having a argument with the tollgate soldiers. The bus was cruising at 100 kmph which i could realize easily and the thing amazed me is the zero engine noise (despite the age of the bus and the last b4 seat) when the bus was at high speed except the a/c hum (temp 25 degrees seen in the dashboard)from the bus rooftop. we reached sriperambadur by 08.20pm and the GREATER CHENNAI CITY TRAFFIC started. the bus took the maduravoyil route (city bypass) which is also filled with traffic and finally reached CMBT stand by 09.45 pm.
And so the points are:-
1) There is no stress or tiredness in a volvo bus whether you or in the front seat or at last.
2. Of Many services only the ksrtc volvo is punctual in timings, maintenance and passenger comfort.
3. I forget to mention that nowadays the ksrtc volvo drivers are told to use the seatbelt which i found in an oncoming airavat driver is also wearing the seatbelt
4. There are no permit problems in tollgates or at state borders in ksrtc while it is quite common in private volvos were they casually shift passengers from one bus to another which i experienced in rathimeena volvo che-tvm.
5. The staffs were polite and friendly while the pvt volvos uses rogues as drivers and cleaners usually sitting in the front and doing filthy languages chat.
6. The bus fare is too high in pvt. on the other hand airavat ticket is affordable.
7. Also the airavats do a point to point service. (the kpn travels stops at all places i.e hosur, krishnagiri, vellore etc. It makes us think whether the parcels are in a passenger bus or the passengers are in a parcel van).
Overall ksrtc 5/5 Private operators 2/5 (as per my opinion)

Anonymous said...

for all the folks who want to know why the KSRTC has slowed a bit in the past 2 months or so ,i was told by the driver when i travelled from pune to blore that after the two fatal accidents (infosys one and the other where a huge log went inside the bus) ,ksrtc has put speed jammers at 90kpmh :(