The interstate and intrastate Volvo bus services, which has expanded from Indore-Bhopal route to cover 10 destinations within two years, has hit the business of other bus operators and taxi operators in the city.
In October 2012, the state-owned Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited (AICTSL) in collaboration with Ahmedabad-based Chartered Speed Pvt Ltd, had launched the Volvo bus service between Indore and Bhopal.
The fully air-conditioned bus became an instant hit mainly due to its punctual departure and arrival timings.
At present, the Volvo bus on Indore-Bhopal route departs every half an hour from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm. Besides, there is bus service early in the morning at 1.30 am and 3.30 am.
"The bus service is very popular among people who commute frequently between Indore and Bhopal and also among those who have to catch a train for forward journey from Bhopal," an official of AICTSL said.
While the AICTSL Volvo bus fare is comparable to that of the other private bus operators running AC buses between Indore and Bhopal, the difference is in its services.
"The bus leaves at the exact time and touches Bhopal in flat three hours and 10 minutes," the official said.
The travel time includes a 10-minute break at a restaurant midway.
In contrast, most other bus operators wait for the seats to fill up even if it means a short delay.
However, ever since the company launched Indore-Ahmedabad operations and announced its plans to launch operations to Pune and other destinations, there has been much heartburn among the private bus operators.
A few days ago, miscreants threw stones at Indore-Ahmedabad bus at Rau near Indore shortly after the bus left the city at 9.30 pm.
While the passengers escaped unhurt, the window panes were damaged in the incident.
The operators running shared taxis have been hit harder. The taxi fare for Indore-Bhopal is Rs 400, about Rs 60 more than the Volvo bus.
"Our business has been hit after more Volvo buses started plying the on road and so we decided to keep the fare unchanged even after the recent hike in diesel prices," Rafiq who works for Indore travel agency said.
With AICTSL planning to introduce buses on new routes, the ride is only going to get rough for other transport operators.