The Mahabus series....

The Mahabus looks like an always favorite target to chase! As I had written earlier, The "Mahabus" fleet of buses is a part of re-structuring program of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) to get a fair share of the "Luxury" segment market which is mainly dominated by private operators. Though legally speaking, in Maharashtra, only MSRTC is permitted to operate stage carriage bus services, many private operators operate services under the guise of "Package tour" or "Conduct tour" using buses which have a normal "Tourist Permit" instead of the mandatory "Stage Carriage Permit". Heavy corruption, and under staffing of the concerned regulatory bodies, allow these operators to continue operating, and state run corporations end up in the red.
MSRTC is a big example of that. Old, ill-maintained buses and poor facilities compel passengers (who can afford) to pay a bit extra and travel in those private buses. The maintenance of these private buses are no better, but they provide services at the times the passengers want to travel. The scheduling is done keeping in mind the convenience of working section of the population. The Karnataka state Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) did lots of re-structuring, and today they control a huge share of the luxury segment in their state. Their buses (especially the Volvos) run with 70-80% load, while Private operators have to take a lot of efforts to maintain an average load factor of 60-70% during the weekdays.
MSRTC's Mahabus was introduced as a direct competition to the private unorganised sector. The first step towards the competition however was the introduction is the "Shivneri" brand Volvo buses (Read an article about that here: Good service from MSRTC posted on February 06, 2007). MSRTC scheduled their buses to run every 30 minutes on the Dadar-Pune route, with a fare lower than that of the private operators! Punctuality was their biggest positive aspect! MSRTC buses depart from the bus terminus at the scheduled time irrespective of the load factor, while private operators wait till they get a load factor of atleast 70-80%.
The Mahabus story: Heavy losses in MSRTC was preventing them from spending more for purchasing new Luxury segment buses. They went the lease way! They found out a lessor, and they hired buses from them. MSRTC pays them a fixed rate on a per-kilometre basis. Ticket sales in handled by MSRTC, while operations (including drivers, fuel, toll, other overhead expenditures) are done by the lessor. The bus is owned by the lessor. MSRTC took an unknown number of buses on such a contract. These buses are King Long KL6113, Ashok Leyland 12M bus with a Sutlej Body and Tata Globus. There are just two King Long buses on the road (MH43 H 649 & 650).
I had written about the Leyland bus in January (click here for the article) and about the King Long buses yesterday (click here for the article). My search for the Tata Globus ended today! I was driving down from Vashi to my home in Belapur. All of a sudden, I noticed a bus descending from the Vashi flyover, and guess what - That was the Globus! I had a good chase to catch the bus on my camera. Here are some images:

The bus was too fast, and my camera could not cope up with her speed! I ended up in getting some parts of the front of the bus outside the focus!

The rear view of the bus...


This bus was supposed to have a rear-mount engine, as announced by Tata Motors at the time of launch. But when the actual product was seen on the road, the bus had a front engine! The engine however is powerful enough to power the Air-Conditioners as well. The Passenger comfort in this bus is not known. The engine performance should not be poor, since the engine has almost the same power as that of a Volvo!

A promise that I had made yesterday: I had promised to get a better image of MSRTC's King Long. Here is one:


The bus looks smarter than a Volvo! A comparision between the two will be put up soon! Bye for the day...and come back tomorrow for some thing special!


amit said…

Thanks for giving info on Mahabus. I am big fan of Govt buses (some people laugh) because i spent entire childhood in Karnatka-Maharashtra-Andhra border (In karnataka Bidar)my house was near busstand so i spent good 10 years around busstand. All buses used to pass near my house and i used to like Maharashtra buses especially Ashok Leyland Cheetah buses. But now i can see MSRTC not plying much Ashok Leyland buses this i don't like. And good to see that now they got their own website MSRTC needs hard to compete with KSRTC buses and MSRTC doing that with Parivarthan buses which is upgraded version of normal red bus which i saw in Hubli-Kolhapur sector.

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