In the year 2008, as many as 100 air-conditioned Volvo buses were launched is well known. The truth that has come out is none of these 100 a/c Volvo buses have been running in Chennai now in this summer season. It is now revealed that new 50 air-conditioned buses would be hitting the Chennai roads in the month of August and the tenders have been finalized recently for that. Point to be noted is each bus would cost an amount of Rs 25 lakh and overall acquisition cost would be Rs 13 crores.
Important piece of information is 100 Volvo buses were operated in south Chennai and these buses were highly famous with the commuters. The ticket rates in these buses were lower when compared with the ticket fares of other metros. During the launch of these Volvo buses, the base fare was Rs 15 and was later increased to Rs 25. As per the official data it is clear that on an average these buses collected amount of Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 daily.
The information collected is demand for these buses, that have covered 6 lakh to 8 lakh kilometre in their life span, has been high. It is worthy to note that MTC regularly cut services due to maintenance issues. The financial constraints have been responsible for the MTC buses to renew the annual maintenance contract with the manufacturer. Replacements for the worn out parts were not available and this was as per MTC technicians and these technicians improvised to keep the MTC buses running.
There were some issues with the exhaust and cooling systems hence rear panels of many buses were kept opened. Till the year 2018, only dozen buses were in operation as more than 80 percent of the buses were declared unfit for usage. This was just within 8 years of the launching of these buses. The commuters would be surprised to see broader seats in the new air-conditioned Volvo buses. It must be taken into account that the last a/c bus operated between Koyambedu and Kelambakkam along OMR was junked and auctioned in the month of January for just more than Rs 2 lakhs.
A regular commuter of MTC buses expressed his views and spoke about how it was very comfortable to travel in these buses. He was unhappy that MTC has stopped these buses. As per a senior official, tenders floated by the government to purchase chassis were finalized recently.