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NMMT Volvo

Weekends are the days when I tend to sleep the least! Not that I am a party animal, I am not even remotely associated to it.
I had to meet a couple of prospects this Friday. Once I wound up with them I caught up with Dipsikha at Bandra. We were keen on getting into the new NMMT Volvo bus service from Bandra to CBD Belapur. My association with Volvo buses started during my days in Bangalore. My first opportunity was a trip from Cochin to Calucut in a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Volvo, better known as “Airavat” meaning Elephant in many Indian languages. The one in which I had traveled was a B7R meant for long distance travels. Since then I have been a huge fan of Volvo buses.

I have travelled in the BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) Volvo city buses whenever possible.

Now coming back to our NMMT Volvo : CBD Belapur – Bandra – CBD Belapur. These are the B7Rs used by BMTC also. For the first time the digital route boards were sported in Mumbai, we were waiting for the CBD Vovlo at Bandra west but were surprised to see our new NMMT bus with a digital board! I asked the driver if the “AC Gaadi” will arrive anytime soon and he replied 10 mins. Alright, we decided to wait, after a 30 mins wait the gleaming Red NMMT Volvo arrived! We got into it and sat at a very comfortable seat at the left of the bus under the AC vents.

Now the real game started! As not many people were aware of the service and as BEST (Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking) hadn’t allowed NMMT to use their Depot adjacent to Bandra station, our bus was waited outside the station for a while. There was a conductor, three! Yea Three on-board ticket inspectors, and of course… a driver. These guys decided to turn off the AC till more passengers got in, oops… forgot to tell that there were only 4 passengers who had boarded at the station. I had to tell the conductor to turn on the AC who did it after saying that they were planning to turn the AC on after the first stop!! How ridiculous… But its alright, a Volvo bus has always an exceptional place in my heart! So… Our journey resumed, (it had been almost 10 mins had we hadn’t even reached Lucky Junction, about 500 meters from the station). The conductor and the ticket inspectors where crying “Dharavi, Sion, Chembur, Vashi, CBD Belapur!!”, they were trying to get as many passengers on board as possible. It was very funny since these guys barely stop for a late commuter who might be running towards a bus-stop from where the bus might have just started. Finally with about 7 to 8 passengers on-board, we arrived at Kalanager stop. Many people were gazing at the bus… Probably wondering at the looks of the bus or at the digital display boards or may be even at NMMT wondering what it stands for (Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Transportation). The conductor and the ticket inspectors were crying the destination and route of the buses wherever it stopped. At one of the stops one of the inspectors jested to the other one saying,  “Shout Goa! People might get in!”

This attitude of “customer service” is, I am sure, going to last only for a few day untill people are well aware of this service. Once people start to wait and rush for the bus, even these NMMT drivers and conductors will act like their counterparts in BEST who, once the bus leaves a stop, don’t even care to look at a person who is knocking on the doors to get into the buses. By the way, BEST has these Chinese made buses

We left Kalanagar and cruised through Dharavi and then stopped at Sion, by this time the seats were pretty much occupied. There were many who would ask the price of the ticket and back away, but its always ones personal choice when it comes to expenditure.

Anyway, the bus was very nice, and the suspension (since its a Volvo) was as nice as in the well maintained ones. The step-less entry and low floor are a boon to everyone, especially senior citizens, children, people with disability and pregnant women,  The bus was travelling quite fast but the ride was very comfortable. I would suggest you take a ride in the ST, BEST and then a Volvo along the road from Sion to Suman Nagar Junction and feel the difference!

They have started 6 Volvos from CBD to Bandra, planning to get more buses soon, the fare on the route is Rs 45. Bandra to Vashi is about Rs 15 in a regular BEST and Rs 28 in the Volvo. The buses are scheduled to ply at an interval of 18 minutes. The last bus from Bandra is at 2100 hrs as of today.

My major concerns about these buses is about its maintenance, handling in the traffic and the cleanliness. The very next day when we travelled from Vashi to Sion in the Volvo the floor had pieces of ticket and dirt strewn around. A really sorry state. Having mentioned about the low ground clearance of the bus, the deep potholes can damange the bottom of the bus and when the roads are water logged, the water might just slip into the bus!

I’d rather be optimistic about the service. As of now… I am looking forward to unwind in the bus on trip to Vashi from Bandra on weekends.

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  1. Jackson
    July 20, 2009 at 12:14

    Hmmm.. Sounds like you had a mixed experience with these Volvo buses. In Bangalore I tell they are still maintained neat and clean. I doubt if the ticket prizes have come down because I have been travelling in them quite a few times in a month😉 if you understood what I mean…
    the only issue is that the ticket charges across the buses are not uniform… It takes 15/- from SilkBoard to my office and I always make a point to ask the fare before boarding because some Volvo buses also charge 30/-..
    The AC is on all the time and its a real pleasure to travel thru them even though u don’t get a seat to sit.. U get a wide view of the outside world and the bus gets me down right infront of my company. The BMTC bues would stop only at the bus stop and I have to walk another 500 metres😛
    So good to know that Mumbai has got some cool Volvo buses. Let’s wish that they keep the buses well maintained at par with the name of VOLVO !!!!

    • vnovin
      July 20, 2009 at 12:26

      Hey Jack! Thank you for your comment! You are the first one!:)

      My mixed experience was based only on two trips. I am sure as time progresses I would write another one with the current state of the service.
      As far as the inconsistency in the price of tickets in Bangalore is concerned, I agree to it. I also have faced similar situations quite a few times in 2006 about the fare from Majestic to St Johns hospital.
      The wide windows are definitely a boon but the immunity from the noisy traffic is the the feature I like the most!

      Thank You

    August 26, 2009 at 19:11

    AKSHAY :
    I experienced the same thing when i traveled by NMMT VOLVO for the first time(5 to 6 passengers on-board,people asking for price of ticket and backing out) but now the service is very popular among the regular passengers.That’s d VOLVO effect I guess


  3. vnovin
    August 27, 2009 at 05:23

    Hi Akshay,
    Thankyou for the comment, yea, I guess the service might be popular with the regulars. I have seen the bus at Vashi depot arrive with standees. So you a regular traveller now? I wonder if the service is regular because on the last two occassions I waited for the Volvo, it din’t appear at all. I had take our good old 505!

  4. akshay
    September 3, 2009 at 09:55

    Yeah I am a regular traveller. The time difference between the succesive buses is 35 minutes thats the reason u had 2 wait. I have the time table and it suits my travelling hrs.You get the time table from the conductor tihs might decrease your waiting time.

    • vnovin
      September 3, 2009 at 10:39

      I kind of remember the 35 minute thing but I forgot, thanks for remindin me but I have waited for over 35 minutes on the last two occassions. The thrid time was last friday and I saw the Volvo after I took the 505 ka ticket standing in the queue. Oh by the way I was in a bus that went into the depot in Thurbe and guess what… I saw 3 NMMTs in there… I guess thats what they have now at the moment and one of them was being cleaned. How I wish they cleaned the regular buses too.

  5. Akshay
    January 17, 2010 at 11:53

    heres somne info regarding 123 route
    Hey thanks for the info.. NMMC volvo scores over BEST’s low quality king-long buses.. NMMC Volvo has a sexy pickup and excellent suspension & they are providing services at unbeleivable priecs.. From Mulund 2 Vashi Deoot Best 513 price is 20 & AS-51 is 35 against NMMTs just 20rs.. But NMMC must increase frequency..

  6. akshay
    March 31, 2010 at 21:10


  7. March 10, 2011 at 11:38

    Well, check out neeta’s b9r buses…Volvo is great with its buses. Maintaining them is a concern! Still, I love Volvo’s as far as TMT’s Marcopolo and BEST’s Kinglong are concerned.!

  1. September 29, 2009 at 08:22

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