point of view, as the buses meet the roll-over tests, have low vibration and noise, besides more space. The 14.5-metre, 36- and 21-seater buses have been modified by Dilip Chhabria Design, putting the total cost of each vehicle between Rs 2.05 crore and Rs 2.25 crore.
Based on feedback from users and modifications, the fleet will be introduced in the northern and southern parts of the country. In May, the luxury bus service will go to Goa, Bangalore, Udaipur and Shirdi.
Baid is convinced there is a big market opportunity for this kind of service and sees the business breaking even in five years. “There is already demand coming in from corporates to book entire buses for their dedicated use; even families have been using these buses for weddings, where there is a two-month waiting period. A set of buses is being kept aside for this so that regular services are not affected,” he adds.
Sivakumar V, director (sales), Scania Commercial Vehicles, says buses are being imported fully built. They will be made in India as soon as the manufacturing facility in the country is ready by the last quarter. Sivakumar says the patented fleet management system offered by the company was also a deal-clincher. “Road network is expanding and passengers are willing to pay extra for luxury services,” he adds. This is being considered as a major test case for Scania, as the buses also mark their entry into the competitive bus segment in India.
The bus services were launched in Surat but the big splash will come from a presence in Mumbai. Earlier, SVLL was in talks with some IPL teams for use of these buses, but uncertainty over the tournament’s destination has put a big question mark on the deal.