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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Manali to Leh Volvo bus service : all details

No, there is no such service between Manali and Leh of Volvo or Mercedes luxury buses! 

It goes without saying that new age luxury buses like Volvo and Mercedes have changed the way we looked at bus travel in India. Infact, in North India, the Volvo B7R bus ply upto the 6500 feet high hill-station of Manali which gets a fair amount of snow between Jan and March and yet, the buses have no issues at all.
However, come summers, and people start searching for the Manali to Leh buses, without even understand the real terrain on this route. A big answer to the question is NO - A Volvo or a Mercedes bus can simply not ply on the Manali - Leh route. Why?
1. The ground clearance is too low for bad section around Rohtang and later at Sarchu / Pang and the various passes. Even with the adjustable suspension, the craters and bad roads are bad enough to stop a Volvo or a Merc bus!
2. The windows are sealed - AMS or acute mountain sickness always hits you pretty bad due to elevation and hence, sealer windows means you cant puke out!
3. Their length : most private and public buses (normal, non-AC) on this route are smaller in length (9 m or less) but the Volvo and Merc ones are 12m in length. You simply cant image the kind of roads (narrow, steep turns, tight corners) on this route. A 12m long bus can simply not make it to Leh from Manali!

Reader Feedback: Neeta Mangalore - Mumbai Volvo multi-axle review

Name: Rudolf
Operator: Neeta
Route: Mangalore to Mumbai

I traveled in a Neeta Volvo multiaxle bus from Mangalore to Mumbai on 28th April 2012. Having traveled earlier by Neeta on the same route, I felt the service is deteriorating. The driver who was driving the first section was very rude and abusive, hurling choicest abuses in Kannada and Tulu language which many could not understand to all those who went to talk to him. There was a Gujarati family with a small kid who were desperately wanting a halt for their baby, but after much cajoling did the driver agree to halt but was mumbling some abusive jargon in Tulu because he had to halt. As usual the bus halted in Ankola for dinner. There I pointed out to the same driver that the destination board displayed was Mangalore and should be Mumbai for which he just said "woh mera kaam nahin hai"! From here the drivers seat was taken over by a bearded UP guy (I know this coz I have spoken with him on several occasions before while travelling in Neeta! He is an expert driver as experienced by me. But he has developed this habit of stopping any and everywhere to passengers wanting to get to Mumbai. In this particular trip, he halted for a group of 7 clumsily dressed men after Hubli-Dharwad who wanted to get to Mumbai and made a deal with them (400bucks each) and got them inside even though there were no vacant seats. These men occupied all available space in the drivers cabin and spread to the gangway. The bus was completely dark with no lights on. As usual the night reading lamps are never on in Neeta buses!! But there were quite a few young girls and families in the bus!! In between the bus halted at a RTO checking station where I (seated in the third row on the left) made a desperate attempt to get down for relieving myself, but could not due to the extra passengers sleeping in the gangway and drivers cabin as they were deep in slumber!!! Then again, this driver took new passengers from Pune at 4AM!!

Overall a very bad experience with Neeta and their goonda type drivers!! I would suggest Neeta only when one is left with no option!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Delhi to Jaipur Volvo : now cheaper @ Rs 600

Till now, the RSRTC or the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation had the monopoly on the Delhi to Jaipur route with both single axle and multi-axle Volvo (and some Mercedes units) buses. They had a good routine run but charged a bomb for this 265km journey. The prices are:
1. Single Axle Volvo :Rs 685
2. Multi axle Volvo B9R : Rs 735. 
3. Multi axle Volvo B9R with LCD screens (individual) : Rs 785
This makes the RSRTC Volvos the most expensive on per km basis in India. However, now, thankfully, they have got stiff competition from one of the strongest bus tour operators in West India - Shrinath jee travels. The company has recently started awesome services on the Delhi - Jaipur and Jaipur - Delhi Volvo route.
The main pointers are
1. Only multi-axle buses - Volvo B9R only
2. Delhi - Jaipur frequency : 6am, 6:30am, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 12:30pm, 2pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm (2 buses), 7pm, 8pm, 8:30pm, 10pm, 11:55pm
3. Delhi - Jaipur Volvo ticket cost: Rs 600
4. Jaipur - Delhi frequency: 7am, 10am, 12:30pm, 4pm, 10pm, 11:55pm.
5. Jaipur - Delhi Volvo ticket: Rs 500 only (now thats Rs 235 cheaper than RSRTC)

For booking these new Volvo buses on the Jaipur - Delhi or Delhi - Jaipur route, use the ticket booking box on the top of this website and get upto Rs 100 cashback

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another KSRTC Volvo fatal accident - at Kunigal

Another Volvo bus accident and this time involves KSRTC. Remember, in the past too, KSRTC has had several major fatal accident. See HERE
The latest one again comes from the Mangalore - Bangalore route where a KSRTC single axle Volvo B7R was involved in a fatal accident last night. It is learnt that the Volvo bus was overtaking a slow moving truck and the high speed direction change led to the driver losing control near Kunigal and rolled over.
In this accident, Dr Rajwin Fernandes, aged 43, passed away. Dr Rajwin was travelling along with his father Roque Fernandes to Bangalore when the Volvo bus in which he was travelling met with an accident near Kunigal and rolled over. Rajwin died on the spot as a result of severe head injuries. The body was taken to Magadi hospital for post mortem. Four others injured have been admitted to the same hospital for treatment. He was an Ophthalmologist and he had a clinic, ' Trinity Eye Centre' at Valencia.