Special Correspondent

These buses have a variety of hi-tech, safety features

HYDERABAD: A fleet of 20 Volvo 9400 series that offers a variety of hi-tech and safety features were inducted into the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) here on Thursday.

These buses will be augmented in routes connecting Hyderabad with Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati and Shirdi.

Rs. 70 lakh each

Addressing a press conference, Managing Director of the Corporation V. Dinesh Reddy said these buses cost Rs. 70 lakh apiece and the APSRTC was the first customer to purchase the new series.

The corporation presently had a fleet of 110 Volvo buses. Mr. Reddy said that the corporation was open to launching Volvo city buses, though it did not have any immediate plans. Akash Passey, Managing Director of VolvoBus India Pvt Ltd, a newly carved out company from the Rs. 1,200-crore Volvo India Ltd, said that the company had invested Rs. 80 crore in its Bangalore bus-body building unit.

It had the capacity to roll out 450 buses from its assembly line a year. The capacity would be scaled up to 1,000 buses by 2010 and the workforce increased to 1,000 from the present 300.

CNG buses

To a query, he said the Volvo would supply CNG buses as and when the RTC was ready to introduce them. Volvo had the expertise in making CNG buses since 1970. The VolvoBus India had 150 customers across India with a fleet of 1,700 buses. The company was also supplying city buses to Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Mysore.

The company ensured at least 15 years of lifecycle for the buses it had supplied, though it would discontinue the existing model in the wake of launching 9400 series.