Just picture this. You board a passenger bus to be greeted by smiling stewards armed with iPads and ready to offer services similar to in-flight offerings. The iPads are linked to the central data servers, which will have all your booking details. You have access to food and beverages from the in-house pantry, which you enjoy relaxing on the 185-degree reclining seats. If you’re feeling bored, you switch on the satellite TV that has 104 live channels, a music server with 5,000 songs and 300 movies stored, besides newspapers and magazines to perk up your journey.
If you are in need of an urgent business meeting, you can make use of the conference room that has Wi-Fi connections and projectors for presentations. A well-designed restroom with chemical toilets for ‘Him’ and ‘Her’ will take care of your other basic needs.
When it comes to ultimate luxury on wheels, the ‘bus’ stops here. Or, at least, that’s what the new Dilip Chhabria-designed Swedish Scania buses, aptly called ‘seven-star luxury coaches’, would like us to believe. Slated to hit the roads within the first week of this month, the new service is touted to redefine the way one undertakes a bus journey.
Surat-based Siddhi Vinayak Logistic (SVLL) will initially roll out the ultra-luxury bus service in the Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad triangle. A total of 18 such buses will be operating on three to four routes in the western region in the first three to four months, after which they will be taken to other parts of the country. “Luxury on the road can mean something else,” says Deepak Baid, director, SVLL, adding that his company will invest Rs 325 crore in the project.
Talking about other features, Baid says the fabrics used on the seats, curtains and carpets will be fire-resistant. “There will be four cameras inside each bus that will be linked to a central monitoring hub. An in-house cab service for pick-up and drop from door-to-destination will keep the luxury experience uninterrupted. Also, there will be two to three drivers on each of the buses,” he adds.
All these facilities will be available for a fare equivalent to AC first-class rail travel.
RC Baid, founder of SVLL, a road transportation logistic company with a fleet of 7,000 trucks, says they have already placed orders for 120 buses, which are to be delivered over one-and-a-half years. SVLL chose Swedish brand Scania from a safety