Tirupathi - Tirumala - Tirupathi APSRTC (E-bus)
After reaching Tirupathi by train, I was fascinated to see the new, red, air-conditioned electric bus and wanted to try it. I immediately boarded the third bus in the queue and took a seat near the last emergency exit. Olectra is the manufacturer. The model name is K7D eBuzz, and the bus has air suspension and various features like real-time tracking, CCTV surveillance, disc brakes with EBS, etc. The exteriors were in excellent condition, but the vents in the back are poorly constructed, as if someone poked them with a screwdriver. The interiors were new and clean; the seats were comfortable but did not recline; but the overall fit and finish around the corners was lacking. The cost of the ticket was 200 rupees for the to-and-fro journey. The bus began moving after the conductor distributed tickets and puke bags. I had the impression that the driver had not been properly trained for an EV bus. He drove in a zig-zag pattern, picking up speeds and braking harshly, until we reached the ghats, and his driving style changed completely.
The E-Bus has a unique sound while accelerating and deaccelerating; it sounds like a mix of an aeroplane and an electric locomotive, and there is always an instant pick-up, which is clearly missing in a diesel. The ride was supple, but the air suspension was making a lot of hissing sounds. I guess it's self-leveling. We all felt suffocated as the AC wasn't working properly and all the windows were fixed. After we reached our destination, we started moving out, sweating a bit, but the climate was cold outside.
However, on our return trip, it was a slightly older EV bus, but the a/c was fantastic, and the driver was disciplined and well mannered; he handled the bus very well.
Good Initiative by the APSRTC.