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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sharma Volvo B9R : Bangalore to Mumbai route experience

After taking the VRL volvo to Davangere on the 5th (READ HERE), I took the Sharma B9R back to Pune on the 8th November. Again the seat was booked online and though yet again Redbus mentioned boarding time at 8pm, the bus arrived in Davanagere at 9:15pm. I had pre-called the Sharma agent in Davanagere and he had confirmed the time as 9:30pm. Fair enough. But to my dismay, the bus ended up taking a 45min dinner break in Davangere at left only at 10:15pm. But this was just the starting. After crossing Haveri, at the first toll naka, the bus waited for a good 20min for another Sharma Volvo coming from Mumbai side to give that bus a spare tyre. We were already running well behind schedule. After Hubli though, the driver did try making up for the lost time as my GPS showed true speeds to be around 95km/h (100+ on the speedo) with short bursts to 105km/h or so .

The bus' condition was very good - smooth and silent. I was lapping the bus' speed : till the time we stopped for breakfast at Natraj (shivpuri), the bus covered 235km in 174mins : avg speed of 80km/h! Brilliant. However, the breakfast break turned out to be a 45min break. Two KSRTC Volvos which came after us, left before us! I was finally dropped off at Katraj bypass at8pm : thats a journey time of almost 10hrs as compared to 8.5hrs the VRL volvo took 3 days back. This is really not encourgaing and i might just stop using Sharma Volvo from next time onwards.

Click HERE to book tickets on this bus now

VRL Volvo : Mumbai to Bangalore route experience

Date of journey : 5th November 2009
Bus route : Mumbai to Bangalore
My route : Boarding at Pune, dropping at Davanagere.

I took the 7pm Pune VRL bus. I had booked the ticket via and though the site mentioned the pickup point as Laxmi Narayan Theatre, the actual boarding point was Katraj. The bus came 15min late but the worse part was that the bus left at 7:45pm. The reason being that VRL guys were busy loading parcel (courier bags) in the belly of the bus. Unlike other operators like KSRTC / Sharma, VRL is still using the old Volvo B7Rs and not the new 9400 series one. The bus did seem old - lot of suspension and engine noise. I had seat no 2 and used my GPS speedometer (in the phone) to the max. The driver was fast, keeping around 105-110 on the speedo (my GPS showed around 95-98 most of the times).
We had dinner after Satara (45min break) after which it was a nonstop drive to Davanagere. Surprisingly, we reached Davangere bypass at 4:15am - 565km in 8.5 hrs including a dinner break. This has to be one of the fastest Volvo journeys till date for me.

I paid Rs 950 for the journey. Overall good but VRL should pull up its socks with better boarding time and also newer buses.

Click HERE to book tickets on this bus now