For our return journey from Tirupathi, we booked Amaravathi via PTR and U.KOTAI. On the day of departure, we reached the bus stand about 10 minutes earlier. Our bus for the day was a Volvo 9400 i-shift; the bus looked tired and worn out externally, but the interior was clean, and the old vents were working fine. The seats were super comfortable and had calf support too, because we booked the first row. The bus was delayed by 10 to 15 minutes as the crew was hunting for more passengers. After the delay, we crawled out of the bus stand. The driver meant business; he was fast, disciplined, and made well-planned overtakes without rash driving or harsh braking. The young helper guy was friendly and answered in a polite way to all the passengers. He distributed water and played a Tamil movie. I had quick naps and continued watching the movie. We had a break near Nagalapuram for about 15 minutes. We reached the Madhavaram bus terminal at around 13:15; we thanked the crew and left.
Punctuality, a fantastic ride, and a fantastic crew—it was a pleasant journey with the APSRTC.
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.
Strange to see a fairly new bus in such condition poorly maintained - rear and side glasses are broken, and with shoddy repairs, instead of glass, they pasted metal sheets painted black at the rear and side windows.
This bus had been retrofitted with old school headlamps. Had seen quite a few Indra buses like this.