On roads of Bangalore now air-conditioned Volvo buses are plying, introduced by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) on 17th Jan 2006 - a first in the country. Three Euro-III buses are officially on the roads now, traversing three different routes in the city. But this is just the beginning. MD of BMTC Upendra Tripathi announced that 25 buses would be introduced by March-end and 25 more by July-end. Despite transportation and traffic woes increasing by the day, Bangalore is the first city to have Volvo buses as part of public transport. Passengers would have to wait for three more days though to get onto the buses at Kempegowda bus stand. The BMTC is waiting for legal clearances.

These buses would operate with conductors, like the present buses. But should the BMTC decide to introduce non-stop buses, Volvos would be conductor-free. Pleasantly coloured with spic 'n' span interiors, low-floor, disabled-friendly, senior citizen-friendly, cushioned seats, disc brakes that ensure passengers are not jerked forward, electronic system that provides vehicle data to drivers, these are just some of the features a Volvo offers presently.Sleek, red coaches, fully air-conditioned and compliant with Euro-III environment norms, other special features include kneeling mechanism for the benefit of the aged and the physically challenged; wide, pneumatically operated doors to enable easy boarding and disembarking of passengers. All for a price though. Like an autorickshaw, the minimum fare on a Volvo bus is Rs 10.

The fares were justified by the BMTC saying each bus costs Rs 74 lakh out of which Rs 18 lakh is paid as tax.Costing close to Rs 62 lakh each, each of the Volvo buses have a seating capacity of about 40 passengers. At the minimum fare of Rs 10 (calculated at 2 kms), the fare between KG Bus Station and Electronic City costs Rs 30 per head each way. The passenger capacity of each coach is 70 (inclusive of both seating and standing). In the introductory phase, the BMTC has three of these buses, enabling a frequency of one trip every half-an-hour. The Volvo bus services from Kempegowda bus station to Electronics City began on 1st February, 2006.

VOLVO FARE CHART

Name of the Place
Kms

Proposed Volvo fare (In Rs)

Auto fare (in Rs.)
City Taxy fare (in Rs.)
Kempegowda Bus St
0.0
0.00
0.00
0.00
Maharani's College
2.0
10.00
10.00
35.00
Corporation
4.2
10.00
20.00
35.00
Wilson Garden Police St
6.0
15.00
30.00
54.00
Bangalore Dairy Circle
7.5
15.00
35.00
67.50
INI/Jn. of Hosur Road
9.0
15.00
50.00
81.00
Madivala
12.0
20.00
65.00
108.00
Bommanahalli
13.5
20.00
75.00
121.50
Koodlu Gate
15.0
20.00
85.00
135.00
Singasandra
17.0
25.00
95.00
153.00
Hosa Road
19.0
25.00
100.00
171.00
Konnappana Agrahara
20.0
30.00
110.00
180.00
Electronic City
23.0
30.00
125.00
207.00
Source: Deccan Herald