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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Old or New ? Re Build - Part 1


This bus looks brand new right ?
What if I told you it is actually seven years old
and it used to look like this ?


When new buses are purchased, it is expected they will serve for about 10 lakh kilometers. However, thanks to road conditions and minor accidents - many buses cannot make it past half way. The windows start rattling, flooring is broken and exteriors look like they will fall off anytime. Now, this does not mean they have lived their life and deserve to be scrapped. Many buses still have it in them to continue serving for a few more years. But how can they do it looking like ugly boxes from 1920.

Enter bus “Re-Build”. If you don’t know already, many buses we use still are built in house by the corporation, sometimes by private coach builders. Like I said, many of these buses go through a lot and need some attention to increase their life. Old buses are often examined for mechanical problems and assessed for what is left of them. If the corporation believes the buses can continue to serve, they are sent for complete overhaul / rebuilding.

Until recently, most of the rebuilding work was taken up at the corporations’ in house zonal workshops. Zonal workshops carry out major repairs required and stabilize the chassis before a new body is built. TSRTC has zonal workshops at Uppal and Karimnagar where as APSRTC has them at Nellore, Kadapa, Vijayawada and Vizianagaram. Most zonal workshops use frames from scrapped buses and often source parts from other buses to put together a new body. While it might look like picking up scraps for nothing, we believe that is of no shame for a corporation that is looking to save some  cash every minute.

While Zonal workshops get the job done, rebuilt buses return to being rattling old boxes after less than 5 lakh kilometers on road. To solve this and build better buses, the corporation turned to their own body building unit (bus body works, bbu) in Miyapur. BBU started off with rebuilding last gen blue Metro Express buses. Following the success of rebuilding city buses, TSRTC is getting most of its old super luxury buses rebuilt at BBU. After a drop in new chassis procurement, BBU also rebuilt JnNURM metro express buses for Hyderabad. Meanwhile, APSRTC upgraded its Zonal workshops to build BBU quality bodies on old buses. As procurement of new super luxury buses increased, both TSRTC and APSRTC increased the rate of rebuilding old buses as Pallevelugu - entry level service in rural areas.

Believe, you can be anything. What if you are an old super luxury, What if the city folks dont want your services anymore. You can always come back home, be with your buddies while supporting the people who need you most. Should you ask for more ? Following are a few pictures of rebuilt Super Luxury buses from Adilabad and Nirmal.

Love or hate the transformation, let us know.






Like the collection, show the team some love on their Facebook page, Public Transport from Nirmal
Follow LOVEofZ on Facebook and Instagram if you want to know how bus fans identify rebuilt buses !












Thursday, October 11, 2018

Know your buses - APSRTC Edition

Express, Ultra Deluxe, Telugu Velugu and Super Luxury. How many types of buses does APSRTC operate. What do they all mean ? Here is a brief explainer for all the products offered by the corporation. 

Telugu Velugu

Telugu Velugu (TV) or Ordinary are the entry level non ac buses. The primary function of these buses is to connect villages with the nearest urban center. TV are used by villages to access services in nearby towns. They provide the means for students to access higher education, connect farmers to markets and jobs. Telugu Velugu buses were earlier branded Palle Velugu, similar to their counterparts in Telangana. 



Telugu Velugu buses are built on 10-11m long Ashok Leyland, Tata or Eicher chassis with 180HP engines. They have only one wide door after front axle, aligned to the middle of wheelbase. Buses that start off as Telugu Velugu have tinted windows and seats in 3X2 layout. Older buses have headrests while the new ones are built like benches. All Telugu Velugu that don't have full body ads are painted in yellow and green stripes. 

Ultra Telugu Velugu

In 2017, APSRTC launched an affordable version of one of their most used product - Express and branded them Ultra Telugu Velugu. The name is a play on the entry level product Telugu Velugu. However, the idea of having a "better" ordinary bus is not new. In 2010, then undivided A.P.S.R.T.C started operating "Merupu" buses as a response to "Toofan" cabs that gained popularity because of lower fare and faster service. 



Most Ultra Telugu Velugu are built similar to the regular Telugu Velugu buses. However, the corporation has got a  few private builders top try a radical design that looks like a scaled down Ultra Deluxe. These buses have plastic molded seats and stainless steel interiors while the exteriors are painted in blue and gold strips on a white background.

Express

Express buses offer faster connections to district head quarters from tier three cities. These buses are used by businessmen and citizens in general to access administrative services and healthcare. They also function as a low cost option on inter city and interstate routes. Express buses are also built on 10-11m long Ashok Leyland, Tata or Eicher chassis with 180HP engines. They have only one door in the front overhang. Express buses have tinted windows and seats with slight incline and headrest in 3X2 layout. These buses have a wave looking graphic painted in two shades of blue on a white background and a dash of yellow. 



Saptagiri Express

Saptagiri Express are the best way to travel from Tirupati to Tirumala Hills. Built on special short wheel base chassis made for Ghat roads, these buses are operated from Tirumala to Tirupati and various other places including Chennai and Bengaluru. Interiors are similar to regular express buses.  


Ultra Deluxe 

Ultra Deluxe is an upgrade from older Deluxe buses which got popular on short routes with travel times not exceeding 3 hours. APSRTC operates them aggressively with 10-15 minute head ways. They are also used as an affordable option on longer routes. Contrary to popular imagination, North east cost region operates the most long distance Ultra Deluxe buses. 



Ultra Deluxe buses use the same chassis as Express buses. The corporation started building better looking buses with single front wind shield and a redesigned face when Deluxe buses got an upgrade as Ultra Deluxe. These buses have reclining seats in 2X2 layout. The exteriors have a confusing set of graphics pasted on white background. 

Super Luxury 

Super Luxury (SL) buses are operated on Intercity and Inter State routes. Most routes dominated by Deluxe buses are now getting replaced with the better equipped SL buses. Most depots in Andhra Pradesh have at least one SL to Hyderabad and Vijayawada. 


Super Luxury uses the same chassis as Express buses. However these buses are peppered with amenities. For starters, SL buses have Air Suspension that helps in a smoother ride. The buses are built with GI frames and Aluminium sheets complete with a Fiber face for better aesthetics. These buses have reclining seats in 2X2 layout. Additionally, there is a TV with a lot of pre loaded movies and some advertisements. These buses have a flame looking graphic painted in Yellow, Orange and Maroon on a white background. 

Economy A/C

This is probably the most un inspiring product of all. Introduced in the summer of 2018, Economy AC buses are aimed at passengers willing to pay extra money for AC but cannot afford the full fare on Indra. This bus is an exact copy of Super Luxury except it has a partition that separates the AC cabin from the first few rows that are non A/C. There are very few of these in service but plans are on to increase the fleet by next summer. 

Indra


Indra buses were first introduced in 2011 as an affordable AC product. These buses are operated from small towns to important cities like Tirupati, Vijayawada, Chennai and Hyderabad .APSRTC has not added a single bus to the fleet from 2014. (Exceptions being the few hire Indras from 2014) unlike TSRTC that went all out on increasing the fleet of Indra buses. 


Indra buses use Ashok Leyland's 12m chassis with 230HP engine. These can easily reach up to 99 kmph. Like super luxury buses, Indra are built strong with  GI frames and Aluminium sheets complete with a Fiber face for better aesthetics. They also have reclining seats and a TV on board. Rajadhani buses have a simple line graphic on a white back ground. Passengers also get amenities like a water bottle and a blanket.

Garuda

Garuda, introduced in early 2000s redefined "Luxury" travel in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. While TSRTC chose to phase out this product, APSRTC surprised us all by purchasing Corona buses. These buses are similar to VOLVO but have a lower price tag. Garuda buses are operated on long distance routes where Garuda Plus and Amaravati are not feasible. 


Garuda Plus

Garuda Plus was introduced in 2011 as an answer to the uptake of Multi Axle buses in the inter city segment. Then undivided APSRTC started off with Mercedes buses. VOLVO's B9R buses were added to the fleet with in a year. These buses proved to be successful on interstate routes paving way for APSRTC's domination on routes like Hyderabad-Vijayawada. Like Indra and Garuda buses, Garuda Plus buses also serve as a luxury option on short routes. However, there are very few Garuda Plus buses left in service thanks to the transition to Amaravati. 


Amaravati

Named after Andhra Pradesh's new capital city, Amaravati is an upgrade to older Garuda Plus buses. Over the last four years, APSRTC replaced most old Garuda and Garuda Plus buses with brand new VOLVO and Scania Multi Axle buses. Amaravati buses have reclining seats, TV and music system.  They also come with mobile charging points. Like all AC buses, water bottles and blankets are given no matter where you board the bus.



Vennela and Vennela Economy

Vennela was first introduced as an answer to the uptake of sleeper buses in the private sector. This product never really took off thanks to limitations imposed by Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicle Rules and exorbitant fare. APSRTC uses ISUZU buses with berths similar to a 2 tier train as Vennela. Conventional sleeper buses have berths in 2+1 layout increasing the capacity of the bus. However, this was not allowed in Andhra Pradesh until Last year. After a series of complaints from the private sector and pressure from APSRTC, Andhra Pradesh state government amended the MV rules to allow 2+1 sleeper buses. Shortly after this, the corporation modified a couple of Vennela buses with berths in 2+1 layout and branded them Vennela Economy. Plans are on to add more Vennela Economy buses as the demand for sleeper buses on long distance routes continues to grow. 

Text : Ratnam
Pictures : Ratnam, Rakshit

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Know your buses - TSRTC Edition

Express, Deluxe, Pallevelugu and Super Luxury. How many types of buses does TSRTC operate. What do they all mean ? Here is a brief explainer for all the products offered by the corporation. 

Pallevelugu.

Pallevelugu (PV) or Ordinary are the entry level non ac buses. The primary function of these buses is to connect villages with the nearest urban center. PV are used by villages to access services in nearby towns. They provide the means for students to access higher education, connect farmers to markets and jobs.

Pallevelugu buses are built on 10-11m long Ashok Leyland, Tata or Eicher chassis with 180HP engines. They have only one wide door after front axle, aligned to the middle of wheelbase. Buses that start off as Pallevelugu have tinted windows and seats in 3X2 layout. Older buses have headrests while the new ones are built like benches. All Pallevelugu that don't have full body ads are painted in light green on a white back ground 



PV has the lowest fare of all products offered by TSRTC. Very few buses start their life as a PV. Most Express, Deluxe and Super Luxury buses get rebuilt and brought back to serve as PV. TSRTC also hires PV buses from small scale operators for ten years to avoid the upfront cost involved in purchasing a bus.

Pallevelugu Mini. 


Pallevelugu buses sometimes connect remote villages and many of these routes do not have sufficient ridership to justify a full sized bus. To reduce operation costs and provide better service, TSRTC procured Mini buses and branded them Mini Pallevelugu. Fare on these buses is the same as full sized buses. However, many buses have already been diverted to serve as non stop services between small towns defeating the purpose of procuring these buses.



Express.

Express buses offer faster connections to district head quarters from tier three cities. These buses are used by businessmen and citizens in general to access administrative services and healthcare. They also function as low cost option on inter city and interstate routes. Many towns in Telangana have at least one express bus per hour to Hyderabad. 


Express buses are also built on 10-11m long Ashok Leyland, Tata or Eicher chassis with 180HP engines. They have only one door in the front overhang. Express buses have tinted windows and seats with slight incline and headrest in 3X2 layout. These buses have a wave looking graphic painted in two shades of blue on a white background. 

Deluxe 

Deluxe buses are popular on short routes with travel times not exceeding 3 hours. TSRTC operates them aggressively with 10-15 minute head ways. They are also used as an affordable option on longer routes. 


Deluxe buses use the same chassis as Express buses. In fact the exteriors of the buses are built same. However, these buses have better seats with cushions and cloth upholstery in 2X2 layout. Deluxe buses have a  very peculiar graphic painted in purple on a white background.  

Super Luxury 

Super Luxury (SL) buses are operated on Intercity and Inter State routes. Most routes dominated by Deluxe buses are now getting replaced with the better equipped SL buses. All district headquarters have at least one SL bus per hour to Hyderabad. 


Again, Super Luxuries use the same chassis as Express and Deluxe buses. However these buses are peppered with amenities. For starters, SL buses have Air Suspension that helps in a smoother ride. The buses are built with GI frames and Aluminium sheets complete with a Fiber face for better aesthetics. These buses have reclining seats in 2X2 layout. Additionally, there is a TV with a lot of pre loaded movies and some advertisements. These buses have a minimal graphic in white and grey painted on a Pink background. 

Rajadhani

Rajadhani buses were first introduced in 2011 (branded Indra) as an affordable AC product. These buses are operated from all district head quarters to Hyderabad and some locations beyond. Some of the most successful SL services are now getting an upgrade with Rajadhani buses.


Rajadhani buses use Ashok Leyland's 12m chassis with 230HP engine. These buses can easily reach up to 99 kmph. Like super luxury buses, Rajadhanis are built strong with  GI frames and Aluminium sheets complete with a Fiber face for better aesthetics. They also have reclining seats and a TV on board. Rajadhani buses have a simple line graphic on a rather dull green back ground. Passengers also get amenities like a water bottle and a blanket.

Garuda 

As ageing VOLVO B7R s get replaced, Garuda is a fast vanishing product. Garuda redefined "luxury" travel in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Powerful 230HP engines and plush interiors, there was no bus comfortable than a Garuda. These buses are operated on some of the longest routes. They also serve as a luxury option on shorter routes. 

Garuda Plus 

Garuda Plus was introduced in 2011 as an answer to the uptake of Multi Axle buses in the inter city segment. TSRTC started off with Mercedes buses. VOLVO's B9R buses were added to the fleet with in a year. These buses proved to be successful on interstate routes paving way for TSRTC's domination on routes like Hyderabad-Bengaluru. Like Rajadhani and Garuda buses, Garuda Plus buses also serve as a luxury option on short routes. 


In 2014, TSRTC became the first government bus agency in India to own a VOLVO B11R. At 14.5 meters this was once India's longest bus. Scania buses powered by Bio Diesel also serve as Garuda Plus. To sum up, TSRTC now has VOLVO B9Rs with manual and automatic transmission along with a bunch of Scania and Mercedes Benz buses. Most Garuda Plus buses have reclining seats with a calf rest. In addition to TVs and music system, they also come with mobile charging points. Like all AC buses, water bottles and blankets are given no matter where you board the bus.

While the older buses were experimented on with different colors, newer Garuda Plus buses have a uniform livery done with a combination of dark blue and peach colors along with a dash of all important pink. 

Vajra

Launched with a tagline mobility redefined, Vajra buses seek to redefine day time business and leisure travel in Telangana. Unlilke the conventional buses, Vajra buses start from residential colonies and commercial hubs in Hyderabad and have drop off points all over the major cities of Telangana. TSRTC uses Mahindra's Cosmo mini buses for this product. Customers can track their buses on their mobile phones which is facilitated by a tab on board the bus. 


However noble the intentions might be, Vajra failed to impress users. Thanks to shortcomings like not being able to tickets on board the bus, the product did not perform well. Though most problems have been ironed out, Vajra still seems like ahead of time.   

Was that a lot ? This was an attempt from our side to explain the different products offered by TSRTC. Do you have any questions ? Please write to us on our Facebook ! Hope this is helpful. 



Text : Ratnam 
Pictures : Sampath 


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

CORONA - Updated !

A year ago, we were surprised at APSRTC's  decision to buy Corona buses. We had all the reasons to be worried given the history of Corona buses with other transport undertakings like KSRTC. After the initial delivery of 25 buses, there were complaints ranging from malfunctioning AC to loose body. Despite the complaints, all of the 25 buses are now running successfully. As part of the corporation's aggressive move to replace older Garuda Plus buses and increase it's AC bus fleet, 10 new BSIV Corona buses have been procured. These buses will replace ageing Garuda buses and allow the corporation to explore new routes. Acting on the complaints received from the previous lot of buses, Corona has improved the interiors significantly in the new buses. Hope these serve the passengers well ! Happy journey every one. Enjoy a few pictures of the new buses. 

A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New BS-IV Corona Garuda.
A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New BS-IV Corona Garuda.
A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New BS-IV Corona Garuda.

A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New BS-IV Corona Garuda.

A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New BS-IV Corona Garuda.

A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New BS-IV Corona Garuda.
A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New BS-IV Corona Garuda.


Text by Ratnam 
Pictures by Revanth 




Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ultra Telugu Velugu // అల్ట్రా తెలుగు వెలుగు

In 2017, both TSRTC and APSRTC launched affordable versions of one of their most used product, Express. While TSRTC decided to go with Semi-Express, APSRTC branded them Ultra Telugu Velugu, a play on the entry level product Telugu Velugu.
However, the idea of having a product that is better than entry level Pallevelugu is not new. In 2010, then undivided A.P.S.R.T.C started operating "Merupu" buses as a response to "Toofan" cabs that gained popularity because of lower fare and faster service. APSRTC converted a few Pallevelugu buses as Merupu and started operating them with Limited halts. This increased the average speed of the buses and the product was a hit in no time.  A rehash of Merupu buses, Ultra Telugu Velugu buses are being successfully operated in "Bangaru Ganulu (Golden Mine)" routes.







A.P.S.R.T.C Brand New అల్ట్రా తెలుగు వెలుగు Bus.
బస్సు చక్రం - ప్రగతికి చిహ్నం
text and pictures by revanth
LOVE of Z - Celebrating Public Transport

APSRTC's 50:50 - A/C Economy


Adding a Blend of Blue to SUPER LUXURY buses, A.P.S.R.T.C introduced yet another product "A/C Economy" which has replaced Indra as the entry level brand for A/C Class Travel.  The New Brand however is not a complete A/C Bus. The A/C Cabin consists of 21 seats whereas the other part remains to be the original Super Luxury with 15 seats. Initial trials were done with a Newly Built bus by Amba Coach Builders on Ongole - Vijayawada route.

A.P.S.R.T.C A/C Economy Bus.
A.P.S.R.T.C A/C Economy Bus.
A.P.S.R.T.C A/C Economy Bus.

A.P.S.R.T.C New A/C Economy Bus
As the initiative proved to be successful,
2 more buses were added to the Fleet(Refurbished, Not New)

A.P.S.R.T.C A/C Economy Bus.
Separate A/C Cabin.
A.P.S.R.T.C A/C Economy Bus.
A/C Unit vents
A.P.S.R.T.C A/C Economy Bus.
A.P.S.R.T.C A/C Economy Bus.











Monday, March 26, 2018

Divya Darsana Yatra

Endowments Department, Government of  Andhra Pradesh launched Divya Darsana Yatra, a scheme designed to allow poor Hindu families visit major temples in Andhra Pradesh. 

Budgeted at ₹100 crore p/a, this scheme comes at free of cost for 10,000 people per year. Families are selected from each district of the state on lottery basis. In the words of the Chief Minister, "1.30lakh people would stand to gain under the programme. People between 18 and 70 were eligible to apply and 90 per cent of the beneficiaries would be selected from the poor belonging to the SC,ST and BC communities."

దివ్య దర్శన యాత్ర 

On the request of Endowments Department, APSRTC is providing transportation required for the scheme. The Corporation has allotted 4 Express Buses from each district on normal special hire rates. The expenditure is met equally by TTD and other 7 major Temples. Like all other APSRTC buses, these buses too are Geo-Tagged to monitor the operation during the scheme period.

A.P.S.R.T.C Divya Darsana Yatra  Bus - Krishna District
A.P.S.R.T.C Divya Darsana Yatra  Bus - Chittoor District
A.P.S.R.T.C Divya Darsana Yatra Bus - West Godavari District
Advt. by the Endowments Department about the Scheme.

In case of any  break down, an immediate relief shall be provided by the nearest depot. After attending the break downs the relief vehicle shall be replaced by Divya Darshanam en-route.


LOVE of Z - Celebrating Public Transport
text and pictures by revanth






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