Bangalore: With Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) planning to introduce nearly 925 buses in the city, it will be interesting to see how many existing buses the authorities will discard and which ones they will opt for, considering the fact that there are a variety of buses plying in the city now. Out of the 925 buses, 400 will be built in the BMTC workshop and the remaining will be manufactured in the workshop of the agencies.
The said target will be achieved only by next March or April. “Body building and other procedures involved take quite a long time, hence, we will take some time in achieving the said target,” says Managing Director of BMTC KR Srinivasa. However, majority of buses will be ordinary BMTC buses, and not more than 175 buses will be high-end.
Introduced in year 2008, Marco Polo buses was touted as one of the best services introduced by BMTC and it came with the same facilities as Volvo but at a lower cost. The buses built by Tatas in collaboration with Marcopolo of Brazil has luxury features of international standards and is priced between Rs 35 and 40 lakh, while a Volvo bus costs nearly Rs 75 lakh.
“Maintenance of Volvos is done by the company itself under the contract, which is an expensive affair,’’ a BMTC official said. However, Srinivasa adds, “We did not get the expected positive response from the commuters and hence, we are not bring ing in more Marco Polo buses.”
“Marcopolo cost only 20-30 per cent less than the Volvo but lacks refinements which are ‘basic’ at that cost. Not only the engines are way too noisy but also the bus struggles to start and passengers in the bus can hear the loud engine noise. The AC does not work efficiently. There are reports of passengers sweating inside the bus. The automatic doors have issues and transmission problems too,” says Dheeraj, a regular commuter.
As far as metro feeders are concerned, we might not see much of it at least now. “Metro feeders have been introduced as a pilot project and in a limited stretch, hence, they have not been fully exploited. We see that metro feeders are used only during holidays. As of now, we are not planning to buy more of metro feeders.”
In the year 2010, BMTC decided to run Mercdes Benz buses in Bangalore city for three months on a trial basis. However, if you go by what Srinivasa says, we might not witness more of Mercdes Benz buses plying in the city. He says, “It is difficult to know the performance of a bus with just two buses. We need at least 20-25 buses to run for 4-5 months in order to access their performance. However, if at all, we are ready to take the risk and spend so much of money, then the technical department will have to into the longevity of its features. But, BMTC Corona buses that were introduced last year have been receiving overwhelming response and we might see more of these buses running on the city roads. ‘The Corona, which costs Rs 25 lakh less than a Volvo and provides the same services as a Volvo comes at a cheaper price.”
The only bus that has been constant in its performance and response is Volvo. Hence, in the coming days, we might see more of Volvos and Coronas rolling out in the city.