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Monday, May 17, 2010

SCOOP! New Mercedes Multi-axle caught on test

(click to expand)

Remember Mercedes showcasing their new multi-axle bus at the Auto Expo? (read HERE)
Well, that bus had both the 2nd and 3rd axle with 4 wheels each. However, I managed to chase and capture this different kind of multi-axle Mercedes bus on test recently.

I strongly feel and believe that this one has a dummy 3rd axle with 2 wheels, just like the Volvo B9R has a dummy 2nd axle with 2 wheels. Looks like Mercedes has gone in for some changes in the bus. Hmmmm...

Shall keep you all posted on this...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

TATA Hispano : Can it make a dent?

Remember the new rear engined luxury bus from TATA in collaboration with Hispano. The body is made at ACGL's factory in Goa. Though its priced quite low as compared to the likes of the Volvo buses, we havent really seen many of these on the road.
Lately, things are moving on though with SRS travels among others having taken these buses.
Here are a few images of how SRS's Hispano bus looks like.

KSRTC's Mumbai(Borivali) to Bangalore Volvo bus to skip Pune city

This had to happen and in my opinion is the right move by KSRTC. It has now been decided that the Volvo B7R buses running between Borivali (Mumbai) and Bangalore will not enter Pune city. Instead they will follow NH4 all the way to Katraj, take a right and continue on the highway. This has been done to minimize wastage of time. Earlier these buses used to enter Pune and waste a good hour. There are currently three buses departing from Borivali at 1pm, 3:30pm and 7pm. Passengers boarding from Pune will have to come to Wonder City, Katraj for the pick-up.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

VRL Logistics / Neeta Travels get Isuzu buses

Main image:

VRL Logistics, one of the biggest luxury bus operators in India has recently bought quite a few of the Swaraj Mazda Isuzu buses. These are being operated on various routes like Mumbai-Goa.

Neeta travels has also taken up some Isuzu buses and is running the same on routes like Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai. It should be noted that Neeta has various kinds of luxury buses like the B7R, B9R, Tata-Hispano etc.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

KSRTC's Airavat Volvo route map

Here is a (click to expand) route map of KSRTC's Volvo Airavat service. KSRTC is the biggest (correct me if i am wrong) user of Volvo's B7R (and now B9R) buses in India. As seen in the map, KSRTC is now operating its Volvo service across five different states

(Click to expand)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reader Feedback: Cerita / Isuzu / Volvo B9R

From our reader Deepak (Bangalore)

Dear Bunny

In response to your call in i would like to share my experiences in different types of buses.

Cerita :
Photo for representational purpose only

Kinglong make I travelled in cerita bus between Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam operated by kesinenitravels a leading operator of Andhra Pradesh in April 2008. The bus has a total seats of 45 and divided into 11 rows. The bus interiors are good and the interior body and seats have same upholstery. The seats are placed at a height of 4 inches above the middle pathway or gangway. The front seats do not have any legroom and the last two rows are placed at a height. There is a step of 6 inches for the 10th row and 11th row has two steps of 6 inches each. So the 10th and 11th row will also have less legroom as their leg will be obstructed by the preceeding seats and they cannot stretch their legs below the seat space as in Volvo. This means the seating will be comfortable for only 8 rows. More over it seamed like the engine is occupying more space. Recently they removed one row for this bus to make more legroom for the 8 rows and the seating is reduced to 41 seats.

Pic: Photo for representational purpose

I travelled in ISUZU from Vijayawada to Visakhapatnam by Sree Kaleswari Travels in May 2009. The bus has a total seats of 41 divided into 10 rows. The seats are placed directly on the gangway floor except the last two rows which are placed on steps of 6 inches each as in Cerita. when you push back your seat fully you could see outside the window freely as in Volvo as the seats are on the gangway floor. As the bus is 11.5M long the leg space for 9 rows will be equal to 10 row volvo semi sleeper. So the operator has removed one row but the last two rows have the same problem.

Volvo B9R :
Pic: Photo for representational purpose

I Travelled by volvo multiaxle from Bangalore to Vijayawada The bus has 12 rows with 49 seats all the rows have equal leg spacing including the last row. The engine occupies less space and 13.7 metre space is used for seating. Unloke the other brands the seats are placed at a height of 6 inches from the gangway floor and as you reach the back the seating floor height is gradually increases to about 9 to 10 inches (Gradient and not in steps). So there is uniform spacing between the rows and legroom is maximmum in volvo and also the seats used by them from Harita are the best seating systems then all other brands.

Volvo costs around 72 lacs and other brands like TATA Hispano, Ashok leyland IRIZAR, Cerita, Isuzu cost around 55 lacs which have less horsepower and the seating system should be more comfortable for all the rows which will have have a positive impact on the customer and also the maintainance costs and service stations for the operator will have a impact on the market.The engine design should be compact and should not consume the innner seating space. Though may are in the market and may planning to enter like Hino (toyota) the price and seating and service costs and service station availability will decide the existence of market for the players. Many operators prefer to buy Volvo than others which are less priced because of the brand value and the acceptance of the customer. Though ISUZU was acquired by VRL 8 Nos, Seabird Tourist 4 Nos, Varsha Travels 2, Sree Kaleswari 4 Nos in the last two years of its launch from june 2008 there are many takers of Volvo B7R and B9R.

Read all Reader feedback HERE

Reader Feedback: Royal Cruiser Volvo

C) Royal Cruiser

1. Your name: Kanth
2. Route: Siliguri - Kolkata
3. Operator name: Royal Cruiser Travels
4. Bus brand: Volvo B7R
5. Month of travel: May 2009
6. Short experience:

Rating: Bus Interiors: 3.5/5; Bus Exteriors: 4/5; Crew Service Courtesy: 3.5/5; Drive experience: 2.5/5; In-bus Entertainment: 2/5;

From: Siliguri

To: Near Mayapur (some 2 hours before CCU)

Travel Time: Evening 6ish – 5ish morning (next day); Approx 11 hours

You will like: Only that you are riding on a Volvo. Baggage tags given.

You will dislike: The road condition between Siliguri and Calcutta and lack of proper in-bus entertainment.

Overall: I had a very unfortunate travel experience with RC. Booked seats on the first row and the harsh driving and breaking by the driver, I felt the necessity to wear seat belts. Even then it was discomforting considering the rash over taking, hard breaking, steep turns by the driver. He seems to be not trained by/at the Volvo facility. The NH was narrow and the driver’s arrogance only made the displeasure. Otherwise it was a nice experience and I wouldn’t mind traveling by RC again in future.

Tit Bits: Royal Cruiser is considered as a major operator of repute in WB. All drivers are dressed up in uniforms similar to airline pilots.

Disclaimer: My experience on that day could just be coincidental. Considering their reputation I would still recommend their service.

Read more Reader Feedbacks HERE

Reader Feedback: Sree Kaleswari Travels

Sree Kaleswari Travels

Pic from zadeus

1. Your name: Kanth
2. Route: Bangalore - Vijayawada
3. Operator name: Sree Kaleswari Travels (SK)
4. Bus brand: Volvo 9400 6x2
5. Month of travel: November 2009
6. Short experience:

Rating: Bus Interiors: 4.75/5; Bus Exteriors: 4.5/5; Crew Service Courtesy: 4.75/5; Drive experience: 4.5/5; In-bus Entertainment: 4/5;

From: Kalasipalya Bus stand

To: Varadhi Junction, VJA

Travel Time: 1800 hrs – 0600 (next day); 12 hours; Break Time: 30 mins;

You will like: Crew’s punctuality sense, bus inside and outside cleanliness, livery and interiors. Booking experience online.

You will dislike: If you had a wrong choice seat choice, except for your seat you will not dislike anything else.

I later understood the commercial aspect here. When we started in CHN the occupancy was 50 % and by the time I got down in VJA the bus was running with full load. Even when some willing extra passengers volunteered to travel in cabin the driver promptly said no. To make the utmost profit out of every sector that they operate these buses should run with a minimum of 75% occupancy. This was ensured by the company even on a Wednesday.

Overall: Considering this was my first B9R experience and previous pleasant experiences with SK, I was looking forward for an exciting journey and Sree Kaleswari lived upto the excitement and did not disappoint me as before.

Tit Bits: SK recently rented a huge (read huge) space for it’s own bus stand in the heart of VJA (near Benz Circle). It has moved there recently from it’s own Petrol Station cum bus-stand close to this current place. The SK bus-stand has all comforts for the passengers viz., proper waiting area, parking area, ticket booking facility, snacks stall with working refrigerators. We have to note a point here that SK is ISO certified operator.

Read all Reader Feedbacks HERE

Reader Feedback: Kaveri Kamakshi Travels

From our reader Kanth (Chennai)

Hi Bunny Punia,

First congrats on your blog gaining wide popularity (noticed that RedBus featured TravelbyVolvo survey recently). I came across a post asking for feedback on Volvo operators that I have traveled recently. Came across your blog through Google and been following for few months.

Here’s my two-cents and hope it will add some colour to your blog. Also, I would be interested in learning a bit more about you.

A bit about myself:

I am Kanth living in Chennai basically from Andhra. As part of my job and lifestyle I make routine trips across and outside India. Pertaining to TravelByVolvo, I make regular trips between Chennai-Vijayawada and occasionally between CHN-BLR, BLR-VJA. I make sure that I travel by the best operators and buses. I share the same passion as you, Cars, Buses and travel. Here’s my experience so far and will post my upcoming Volvo experience (CHN-BLR).

A) Kaveri Kamakshi Travels
1. Your name: Kanth
2. Route: Chennai - Vijayawada
3. Operator name: Kaveri Kamakshi
4. Bus brand: Volvo 9400 6x2
5. Month of travel: March 2010
6. Short experience:

Rating: Bus Interiors: 5/5; Bus Exteriors: 5/5; Crew Service Courtesy: 4/5; Drive experience: 4/5; In-bus Entertainment: 4/5;

From: Chennai Koyambedu Private Operators Bus Stand

To: Ring Circle, NH 5, Vijayawada

Travel Time: 1730 – 0115 (next day); Approx 7.5 hrs; Break Time: Dinner 30 mins after Nellore;

You will like: Crew’s punctuality sense, bus inside and outside cleanliness, livery, interiors, a huge Sony LCD TV to show a movie in the front. The other screen (in the middle of the bus) was a normal China built Carbon over head video set. Booking experience online.

You will dislike: Enters every city on the way (Nellore, Ongole and Guntur) between CHN-VJA for boarding passengers. This is rather a disliking point as this being a CHN-VSKP service, consumes atleast 1-1.5 hrs extra for entering cities on the way.

I later understood the commercial aspect here. When we started in CHN the occupancy was 50 % and by the time I got down in VJA the bus was running with full load. Even when some willing extra passengers volunteered to travel in cabin the driver promptly said no. To make the utmost profit out of every sector that they operate these buses should run with a minimum of 75% occupancy. This was ensured by the company even on a Wednesday.

Overall: I have been longing to try out their service ever since I came to know that Kaveri Kamakshi launched operations. I personally liked the body work, livery, interiors of the bus not to mention the pretty female seated behind my seat. Overall a satisfactory and pleasant experience.

Tit bits: Sree Kaleswari Travels recently cut down it’s CHN-VJA services from 3 to 2 making room for Kaveri Kamakshi Travels. I sense a route sharing agreement between operators for better profits. SK also stopped it’s CHN-HYD service to make room for Dhanunjaya Travels. Either they must be sister concerns or operators must be following Airline’s foot steps to share sectors. CHN-VJA-VSKP is served only by SK, KK and Kesineni travels now.

Read more Reader feedbacks HERE

Reader feedback: KPN Volvo

From our reader Sridhar

1. Your name : Sridhar
2. Route : Bangalore - Chennai - Bangalore
3. Operator name : KPN Travels
4. Bus brand : B9R & Veera AC
5. Month of travel : May 2010
6. Short experience : Bangalore to Chennai was a B9R multi-axle bus. The ride was very comfortable. It was 2+2 seater and the fare was 620/- Bus Left Bangalore around 2.15 PM and was in Chennai by 8.15 PM. In between there were 2 stops one for 20 mins and other for 5 mins. It was a pleasant ride.

Return I booked for a 2+1 semi-sleeper Volvo KPN bus from Chennai to Bangalore. Bus was supposed to start at 10.45 PM. I opted for T-Nagar boarding point. When I reached the T-nagar boarding point at 10:15 PM I was told the bus broke down and I have to take a different bus from CCCBT. There was a mini bus that dropped us at CCCBT. When I reached the terminus the bus was almost full and I got a different seat and not the one I booked. Though it was semi-sleeper bus, it was not a Volvo bus. It was Ashok Leyland Veera AC bus. I paid more for this bus but ended up travelling in a non-volvo. Bus left Chennai at 11.15 PM and was in Bangalore by 6.15 PM. Ride was not very comfortable as compared to my onward trip which was in a B9R.

These private travels cheat people in the name of Volvo buses.

Read all reader feedback HERE