Will TNSTCs think about this 12M option for their 3X2 Services?
A newer and a subtle change that’s undergoing in Tamilnadu bus transportation industry – The addition of 12M buses in stage carriage (Mofussil) application.
The following are the changes in the transportation industry in the past.
In the early part of this decade, mostly the bus length were up to 10m (Viking 210″ WB), then slowly this got migrated to next level of 10.8m (Viking 222″ WB). Then after this the only migration was 12M buses (12M 244″ WB). But the migration from 222 Viking to 12M did not happen so easily.
Primary reason being the 12M buses are specifically designed for long distance intercity application. The aggregates were always matching to high speeds and long distance. Due to this, the price of a 12M chassis were dearer by ~15% compared to regular chassis. Also drivers are not so comfortable in maneuvering these buses due to increased overall length and a high front over hang – 2.4m for 12M bus Vs 1.8m for regular buses.
This scenario continued until recently when Leyland standardized power train options between Viking and 12M in October 2010, post BS III migration. Also improvements were made in reducing the Turning Circle Diameter considerably. This led Customers to look beyond the existing products to 12M buses.
First 12M bus of TN with 3X2 seating Arrangement with Stage Carriers permit. Running in Salem-Karur route.Body built by Veera.
So what is the advantage of these buses?
– This will have a higher seating capacity upto 68+2 as against 55+2/57+2 in regular buses.
– Increased revenue by at least 10 to 15% per day (with both higher number seats and standees).
– Since new permits are almost not available for any operator, it’s in their hands to increase the revenue, so 12M buses come in handy.
– These products now share their engines / gear boxes with regular buses and so it becomes a ease in maintenance and availability of spares.
How to identify a 12M bus against normal ones
– Look for 10 wheel bolt type wheel discs against 8 wheel bolts one for Viking – only in standard floor height and single axle buses.
– Steering wheel of 12M buses are unique and are slightly smaller than Viking
– Steering wheel is little inclined towards driver than regular ones.
– Brake and Clutch pedal are mounted from the pedal box rather than floor mounted in Viking.
One part fuelled the entrants of 12M buses are matching spec to suit the required application. The next and foremost thing is the increase in population where we need increased buses to ply but not possible due to permits and other legal issues. So if a 12M bus is put in use, the increased number of passenger travelling in them, can to an extent defer the requirement of additional buses to near future. By this way these buses finds a quick entry.
So what is way forward?
Before going into this we shall have a small recap of segmental shift that’s happening in Super Luxury Intercity Segment dominated by Volvo and Mercedes Benz. They both launched initially a single axle coach and next came out with a multi axle coach. But the price tag of multi axle coaches were mind blowing 1 crore. But this did not stop operators buying them and now 2 out of 3 new coaches bought are only multi axles. Reason is simple – Better operating Economics.
So now going back to our stage carriage application will the trend of multi axle get deploy itself here?
Logically yes, but still it depends on the how manufacturers meet the specific requirements of this part of world.
Following are few operators who have replaced their 10.8M Vikings with 12M buses recently.
1. Kalaimagal Transports – Coimbatore. Running in Coimbatore-Palani via Pollachi. Body built by Maruthi Coach, Karur.
2. Sri Lakshmi – Pollachi. Running in Pollachi-Palani route. Body built by Hari Body builders, Karur.
3. Rathimeena travels – Tanjavur
4. KTK transports – Trichy
5. SRK transports – Palani — The recent entrant in this segment. Running in Madurai-Palani route. Body built by AE Coach, Pollachi.
We feel this change will take place faster in highly crowded and competitive routes like
1. Coimbatore – Pollachi
2. Coimbatore – Mettupalayam
3. Erode – Salem
5. Madurai – Dindigul
7. Villupuram – Pondy
8. Tirunelveli-Nagercoil etc in coming days.
We already have Kerala SRTC running 12M buses in Coimbatore-Palakkad route with 3X2 seating arrangements. All our TATA Marcopolo SLFs running in Madurai, Coimbatore and Chennai are 12M buses, but they have the same 46 SC configuration as AL SLFs.
12M Buses in SETC:
Earlier SETC used 10.8M vikings for their SD and UD buses. In case of SD buses the SC was 40+2 for regular buses and now SETC has 12M buses with 48+2 SC. Actually SETC charges UD fare 48+2 Seaters. 🙂 The new Ultra deluxe coaches that were introduced recently were built on 12M chassis with 43+2 SC. Earlier UD buses had 36+2 SC.
A broad specification of these buses are given below
Product – Ashokleyland 12M
Power – 160 hp
Torque – 550 Nm
Gear Box – 6 forward, 1 reverse
Overall length – 12M
Seating capacity – 61(With doors in Wheel base and Rear Over Hang) and 65+2(With door in Front over Hang)
SC:- Seating Capacity
Wheel Base:- Distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels.
Rear Over Hang(FOH):- Distance between the center line of the front axle and the front edge of the bus.
Front Over Hang(ROH):- Distance between the center line of the rear axle and the rear end of the bus.
Author: V.Preetham Sri Krishna Vignesh
Pic Courtesy: Dhandapani