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Volvo's or Marcopolo's?

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BusPublic Transport

JnNurm funds are being used and announcements being made by BMTC about launching new busses on Blr roads..everything is being done in a hurry..

They are saying about 200 of Marcopolo's will be ordered..are they worth it? They cost 20-30% less than the Volvo's but have been found lacking in refinements which are basic at that cost!

1. The engines are way too noisy...even on normal roads..the bus struggles to start and passengers in  the bus can hear the loud engine..even people in the traffic arround the bus can hear the loud noise!

2. The AC is not efficient..there are reports of passengers sweating inside the bus!

3.The automatic doors have issues and transmission too

With all the issues, is it really  worth going for these busses..

On the other hand KSRTC low floor bus design has been found commendable by the centre

Should we just go for such busses than the Marcopolos?


silkboard's picture

Aren't there more options?

90 users have liked.

I would really like to know one thing. Why is it that Tata or Leyland can't produce quality buses and in big numbes to can help bring down the prices of the buses at the higher end. What is such a big deal about low floor models? Stuffing the engine at one end, front or back, and an optional A/c, how big of a deal is it? Is JNNURM pushing them enough?

We heard from BMTC themselves that the Bus manufacturers are unable to keep their dates on supply of buses. Is there a genuine problem of capacity there, or are they not getting enough margins from the city bus business?

Should govt cut import duties on City Buses so that other manufactures can come in and give our domestic bros a bit of a jolt?

Speaking of buses, one visit to the airport and you see at least 3 models of low floor buses.

Saw this one that looked like a regular Volvo, but was a Tata. And it ddn't look like the Marco Polo, which model is it -a one-off special made only for airports?

[pic TB posted]

Globe Ground got these buses running as well at BIAL, how much do these cost? They are perfect for quick get off get on services, low floor with two large doors.

[pic TB posted]

A low floor model from Ashok Leyland is also seen at BIAL

[pic TB posted]

s_yajaman's picture

On buses

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The Ground Globe buses cost almost Rs.1 crore.  I remember mentioning the same thing to Ashwin Mahesh and he gave me this figure.

Most (90+%) of buses sold in India are not built on true bus chassis.  They share the chassis with trucks.   Which is why they still have the engine mounted just behind the front axle.  With a front engine and a rear drive, the transmission will not allow the floor to go below a certain level (remember that hump in your old Fiat car in the back seat?).  Rear engine + rear drive does not give you those problems.  

Your drive train will be very different.  Also suspension for a truck chassis will be much harsher than for a true bus chassis.  They might have softer settings, air suspensions, coil springs vs. leaf springs, etc.  

Likely that the truck business is either more profitable or dealing with state transport corporations is something that they want to minimize.  

I guess during boom times they want to put their capacity behind their core business and minimise changeovers.  





Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

srinidhi's picture

Non-AC options..

77 users have liked.

Have seen them on roads these days and  should say they look way too cool!!

As we can see its an low floor version and with wide windows and good seats. It is a Leyland chasis..

If we are keeping our journeys around 30 min..there is no need to go for the volvo/marcopolo option at all!

Guess these bussues are also affordable than the AC versions and save good lot of fuel..feels wasteful when a completely empty volvos ply with the AC on!

Shouldnt we go for more of these instead?

The best option for last mile connectivity(time this has an acronym - LMC) issues


s_yajaman's picture

Feel underpowered

88 users have liked.


I have been on these and they feel underpowered.  But given our city speed histogram (most of the time is spent at 0 speed at signals), it may not be a killer. 

Low floor is different from low ingress and egress.  Genuine low floor buses are disabled friendly and a person on a wheelchair will not have the issue of steps.

I think the big bus/truck companies have not seen city buses as a big volume segment.  I think that will change in the next few years.


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Vasanth's picture

Ashok Leyland iBus Yet to Be Seen on Roads

87 users have liked.

 Ashok Leyland has launched a bus called iBUS indigenously developed. Not to be seen these buses on road. Mumbai uses KingLong, but they seem to be unreliable.


Man, Merc and Vanhool yet to be seen on Indian Roads.

ashok_n's picture

Low Floor Buses

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The Delhi transport corp recently tendered and ordered for a whopping 3100+ low-floor (both AC and non-AC) buses to be delivered before CW games.

The tender was won by both Ashok Leyland (800+ buses) and Tata motors (2300+ buses) .

There were a few quality issues noticed but nothing major.

BMTC should also go for these Tata or AL buses instead of the costlier Volvo buses. Things would definitely be clearer if BMTC goes for a transparent tendering process, rather than behind the scenes procurement as is being done now.

Naveen's picture

Marcopolo - Quite ordinary

91 users have liked.

Just rode on 201RC (Marcopolo) - no comparison with volvo, which is really the king of buses in India, though expensive.


Vasanth - Man, Merc, Vanhool-Fiat, Hino, Mitsubishi-Fuso, Saab-scania :

these cos. produce low-floor buses (expensive!) & we may not see them in India anytime soon, now that Ashok Leyland & Tatas have come out with much cheaper options.

Vasanth's picture

Saw ISUZU BMTC mini bus today on ORR

91 users have liked.

 Today afternoon I saw ISUZU mini A/C bus with same painting as Volvo running on ORR. Don't know any plans of BMTC to introduce mini A/C buses.

ss87's picture

Saw a non-ac marcopolo

86 users have liked.

Saw a non-ac marcopolo yesterday in route No.171. Probably BMTC can procure these buses which look much better than the AC ones. However window models were something like BTS had in the early 90's

ashwin's picture

Marcopolo - the Indica of A/c buses

80 users have liked.

Based on my (limited) observation so far, the Marcopolos are a sad story.

As already pointed out, they are under-powered and noisy. Even worse if you happen to be outside on the road/pavement when one passes you - the engine sounds like one of those loud diesel generator that retail shops had a few years back, only much worse. And they already belch smoke - I saw one recently that was spewing it out by the tonne. Considering these are all new buses, that is pathetic.

To my mind, this first effort of the Tatas in the A/c City Bus segment is like their initial forays in the passenger segment. For all the nationalistic fervour at the time of the Indica launch, it was undeniably a shoddy product.

BMTC, please let's stick with Volvos till Tata/AL learn to build better buses. Charge me more for the ticket, I'll pay.

Naveen's picture

Marcopolo - I agree

83 users have liked.

The Marcopolos are messy & noisy - I tend to agree with ashwin. Earlier, I had only seen them from a distance & hence, could not comment. I won't be surprised if they also turn out to be maintenance headaches within a few years. The Kinglongs are equally bad, if not worse (seen some in Mumbai). Colorful buses can't substitute for smoother rides !

In the AC category, it's best for BMTC to stick to volvos despite the higher costs since it might pay off over it's lifetime.

I wonder how the Ashok Leyland AC buses are.

Vasanth's picture

A/C vent problem in Volvo

99 users have liked.

In most of the Volvos, you cannot control the A/C Vent and it continuously blows cold air. This becomes very bad when you are wet in the rain and sit in a Vajra which I experienced once.

These vents are fully rotatable and at the back there is a butterfly which opens and closes. This is a plastic structure and people break this quite often.

This should be made non fully rotatable so that people do not break the butterfly like structure behind the vent or vents should be put like the Intercity Volvos which are not fully rotatable.

saravankm's picture

BMTC low floor evolution

77 users have liked.

The BMTC low floor bus is a cool evolution. Among the many good things about this design, it's a  common design for TATA and AL chassis. I have seen both TATA and AL buses with this design. Noiseless, fairly smooth and the rear suspension is truly improved. The electronic passenger information system is on pilot, the bright interiors make these buses only better. Need of the hour is more of these buses.

ss87's picture

I also heard the new   Isuzu

83 users have liked.

I also heard the new   Isuzu AC bus on route No. BIAS-12(Heard it ran in 25A today) is also quite good. If BMTC can run these also it will be beneficial.

BMTC started with the low-floor concept right from 2001 and has now improved from the white parisara vahinis introduced then to the blue buses of today. Hope more improvements take place year after year making it the best.

Vasanth's picture

Public Information System in Buses

92 users have liked.

 Yesterday I took a Marcopolo 501A. Public information system about the next stop was accurate. Announcement was in both English and Kannada samewas with display.

I saw the same in low floor 500T. No announcement since there was no music system in the bus, but display was accurate. Volvos are not fitted yet with information system.

Pickup of Marcopolo was quite OK yesterday compared to what I had seen during initial days of run where it used to hardly run at 30-40 kph.  We were behind a Volvo on ORR and the speed was on par with it around 60 kph. I think BMTC has put speed lock initially which might have resulted in that.

There are no side vents of A/C for standing passengers in Marcopolo like Volvo, standing passengers need more A/C than comfortably sitting passengers. BMTC can work with Tatas for the next set of buses to fit one.

 A/C is although not as chilling as Volvos, but should be good enough compared to retrofitted buses like my company bus A/C. Most of the time, drivers do not set the right temperature and blower speed.

.New route search information on BMTC website using google maps is currently available only for Volvos. It looks good. There is a map link on the route of travel, that is not showing the right one although text is correct.

pathykv's picture


83 users have liked.

Some time back it was announced that BMTC had taken over bus shelters from BBMP. Still BBMP have removed overnight three shelters on 100ft. rd, Indiranagar. After lot of phone calls to many BBMP depts it is now known that one Advt. section of BBMP is handling this. The AEE said that the design of shelters is left to the advertiser!

He agreed to consider suggestions from commuters.

 I request any praja who can provide a design as per any norm(IRC?) to give it here so that it may be informed  to the engineer.


idontspam's picture

Shelters by advt dept

88 users have liked.

The AEE said that the design of shelters is left to the advertiser!

Should be fine as long as

1. The bus stop name is the largest text on the shelter

2. Bus time table/route for all the numbers arriving/departing from that stop is mandatorily displayed.

3. Seating is mandatorily provided for the entire length of the shelter

4. One mandatory trash can is provided in the shelter and somebody is deployed to clean it every day

5. Location should be decided by BMTC and not the advertiser

I am sure none of the above would have been specified in the contract. Hope BBMP proves me wrong.

sanjayv's picture

here is where a standard would help

84 users have liked.

The motivation of the advertiser is to advertise.  Here is where clear engineering standards for bus shelters would help! 

Naveen's picture

New bus shelters all look same

93 users have liked.

Mr Pathy & others,

I don't think the design is entirely left to the advertiser. I first saw a new shelter being put up at Corpn & the exact same design is being repeated at many other places where new bus shelters are being put up.

What is questionable is that totally new shelters are being erected when some modifications on the old ones are all that was needed since most new shelters are almost all at the same locations, barring just a few. Clearly, there is wastage of resources here & it appears that new contracts are being created just for kickbacks.

The new design has a separate panel for a map & bus routes information. I'm not sure about what the cubicle inside is for - could be for a ticket kiosk or for a bus warden's use or could even be for a vendor.

k n g rao's picture

marcopolo buses

85 users have liked.

The recently introduced marcopolos are o k in looks but  emit thick black

exhaust fumes .Are the Bmtc people aware of this?

ss87's picture

The info system in the new

73 users have liked.

The info system in the new non-ac JNNURM buses are quite good. Got a chance to travel in one of them from Mico check post to MG road. Announcement was loud and clear.

The marcopolo AC's are considered on par with ac suvarna's where the fare is almost equal to ordinary in the later stages. So we get AC comfort at the cost of ordnary without pass holders travelling. So lesser crowd and better comfort in this aspect.

Marcolpolo non-AC bus look very sleek and are quite beautiful though I am not aware of the technical aspects of this bus. But BMTC implementing LED boards on the same is a good move. Hope they do not switch back to metal boards in the future.

SB_YPR's picture

My Marcopolo Experience

78 users have liked.

I had the opportunity to travel in a Marcopolo (AC version) recently - on route 501C. Many of the observations made by Srinidhi and Vasanth ring true. Some important points, which IMHO BMTC should take note of:

1. Noise: the engine sounds like a generator both within and outside the bus, and there is little sound insulation at all speeds (in stark contrast to the Volvos which only emit a gentle purring sound).

2. Pollution - I really wonder whether these meet our emission standards? Or is the fuel the problem? Either way, BMTC needs to do something to prevent those thick black clouds of smoke from pouring out of the exhaust.

3. AC vents: No vents for standing passengers, despite the bus running full with standees almost throughout the run - is this because the AC is not powerful enough (noticeably less powerful cooling than a Volvo)? On a positive note, the AC vents for seats cannot be rotated fully, thereby preventing vandalism and accidental breakage. Volvo should take a cue from here.

4. Acceleration - terrible at all speeds. Not only was the bus slow to pick up from a standing start, but even at higher speeds, on a relatively uncrowded ORR, the engine was straining to accelerate even on level stretches.

Overall, while Marcopolos might be cheaper, they are a definite compromise in quality when compred to the Volvos. One also needs to examine Tata's after-sales service (Volvo's is reported to be excellent - possibly in part because their factory and offices are located here).

One positive was the announcement-cum-LED indication system, which seems to be GPS-linked. Quite effective and the announcements are loud and clear. Also, despite the terrible acceleration, we managed better than any PV or Suvarna - the stretch from Goraguntepalya to BU was covered in 25 minutes flat (around 8 pm). On a slightly tangential note, it was heartening to see AC services on the western half of the ORR (which seems to be the poor cousin of its eastern counterpart).



pathykv's picture

Bus shelter drawing

79 users have liked.

I still await a drawing (lay out/ plan/ elevation ) for a bus shelter conforming to any norm.

If not drawing reference to any norm may be given.


idontspam's picture


89 users have liked.

During our technical inspection, we found the fuel efficiency of the bus not up to the mark, engine noise and smoke emission above the limits and gaps in the doors that allow dust to come in. We have asked the company to rectify these problems

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