The new way to ride in the city: BMTC's Volvo!

Volvo buses revolutionized inter-city travel when they were introduced for the first time in India some time in the middle of 2002. The model that was introduced was the B7R which has a 290-hp rear mount engine. The City bus version of this bus - the "B7R LE" was introduced in India sometime in early 2006. BMTC - Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation - was the first city transport corporation to introduce them on Indian roads! Currently, three corporations operate them - BMTC, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) and Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), Chennai. Mumbai's BEST is expected to receive a few of these Volvos very soon.

As of now, BMTC operates about 110-odd Volvo B7R LE buses (About 74 normal buses, and about 40 buses modified to run on Airport routes). The normal B7R LE buses are called "Vajra" while the Airport ones are called "Vayu Vajra" buses. A Vajra bus can seat around 37 passengers, while Vayu Vajra buses can take in about 25 passengers. The Vayu Vajras are intended to ferry passengers from different points in Bangalore City to the Bangalore International Airport situated at Devanahalli - about 30 kms away from the city.

BMTC operates about 8 routes within the city, and the frequency on most of these routes are outstanding. The patronage in these routes are excellent during peak hours, and one can see passenger traveling standing inside the bus. The minimum fare in this service is Rs. 10. (The Airport Services have a point-to-point fare starting at around Rs. 50, and going upto Rs. 250).

These buses have a comfortable 2x2 seating layout. The buses are air-conditioned, and has individually controllable air conditioning vents. The leg-space is comfortable enough, and the ride is comfortable keeping all potholes at bay!

These buses have automatic transmission, and reduces the driver fatigue to a huge extent. The traffic conditions in Bangalore is awful, and these buses waste a lot fuel due to traffic blockades. An official figure released by the BMTC a couple of years back indicate that the cost of operating these buses was some 50-odd rupees per kilometre!

These buses have a huge single piece windshield, and has a great view of the road! BMTC is trying to increase its profitability by allowing advertisements on the glass windows of these buses. The Advertisements are printed on semi-transparent material and stuck on to the windows. The buses have a music system, and popular FM stations are played in these buses. These buses have a driver and a conductor. Tickets are issued using electronic ticketing machines, and litter the buses much less as compared to normal ticket blocks. The buses are well maintained, and all of them are based at BMTC's Depot Number - 7, located at Subhash Nagar (near the Kempegowda Bus station).

Visit this page for a frequently updated album containing photos of BMTC Volvo buses!


Vrijilesh Rai said…
Binai.. what is that screen like thing beside the dashboard? Is that a GPS device? Coz I'd heard that these buses were supposed to be equipped with those.

Also, the floor seems much lower than other Volvos. Isnt that a handicap? And does that mean that the luggage compartments below are missing?
Binai K Sankar said…
That screen is an LCD monitor which is used by the driver as a rear view mirror!

The bus doesn't have underbelly luggage space, and has a real low floor! The kneeling facility brings down the body by a nice amount, and the final height of the "step" to the road comes down to some 4 inches or so!!!