by Biswajith Baruah
‘Barde Roadlines’ part of the Barde-Group started its operations in 1972 with a joint venture to supply raw materials to Hindalco. The company started with truck business and within two decades it became a pioneer in its field with 44 trucks under its operation. The group entered the passenger bus segment in 1996 with ‘Barde Travels’ with focus on this segment.
They commenced operation initially with 4 Tata buses on Belagavi–Goa (Panjim) route with day-service to the neighbouring state. With time, Barde expanded its fleet with 10 buses on its new routes connecting Belagavi with Pune, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Sustaining in the operation front, the fleet operator brought ‘Sutlej’ built buses and added ‘SMK Prakash’ coaches to its fleet to enhance its operation and passenger services.
Biswajith Baruah exclusively spoke to Mr Vikas Barde, MD, Barde Travels and Mr Avadhut Barde, Director, Barde Travels in order to explore about Barde’s commitment and contribution towards connecting people and places through its sustainable fleet services.
Vikash Barde speaking about his company said
We at Barde Travels, have been focusing on to provide comfort and luxury-on-wheels to the people of Belagavi. Our bus services values dedication and punctuality as our motto, and with time we have a committed approach towards our motives, from last two decades, since our inception in 1996. In brace with changing technologies and time, we have brought some developments on our operation front.
We introduced, our online booking portal for ease of seat-booking on the go. New luxury ac and non-ac sleeper coaches have been inducted in our fleet keeping in mind the luxury and comfort levels for our passengers. The CCTV’s in our coaches takes into account passenger-security and their belongings. We have been undertaking streamlining measures to improve the bus and passenger services on the operation front, and I am happy about the positive feedback from the passengers travelling by our buses.
Company has its own garage facilities supported with basic maintenance amenities like oil changing equipments and tyre-pressure check-up utilities, for vehicle upkeep. A dedicated team of eight technicians have been kept for mechanical maintenance and care of the bus fleet as well as the truck fleet.
Avadhut Barde, Director, Barde Travels, added,
“I feel Sutlej is one of the best bus body builders in the country in terms of bus body quality and finishing. The Sutlej coaches added to our fleet have been good on NVH levels and are popular with our travellers in terms of luxury and comfort. On a future fleet expansion drive, we are planning for six more Sutlej built buses to be inducted soon”.
Speaking on future fleet route expansion, the MD stated Mumbai–Goa as one of the strategic planned routes on paper.
Company currently focussing on the sustainability factor on their existing routes keeping in mind the future route expansion plans. Planning a new route requires a planned strategy to be followed. The company relies on experienced drivers for its operations, based on good driving skills. It gives instructions to its crew about its concern for women passenger safety, safe driving and better crew behaviour towards passengers on terms of on-board politeness and co-operation during the journey. The passenger queries and complaints are being dealt by the MD himself. The staff have also been trained and instructed to keep a follow-up to solve the problems with priority.
With its fleet operation dedicated on Pune – Mumbai corridor, Barde plies 3 services on Belagavi – Pune and 1 service on Belagavi – Mumbai route.
They have a good passenger flow on Pune and Mumbai routes with 85 to 90 percent occupancy on daily schedules. have a great demand for seats and berths on Pune route, especially from passengers from IT sector and the student’s community. The passenger-flow have been consistently good due to our luxurious coaches and the cleanliness of our buses and the punctuality that we maintain with respect to our daily departure and arrival timings – to and fro. They have repeated passengers, which have promoted our end to end fleet operation revenue positively on the exponential side on Pune and Mumbai services.
Expressing his views on the current scenario of bus fleet operators in Belagavi and North Karnataka, Avadhut Barde, the director of the company added,
“I feel operators in the region of North Karnataka have seen a subsequent growth in due course of time in terms of fleet and route operations. There have been a growth in operator revenue too. But in a long term, we as a bus fleet operator have encountered challenges like the government taxation policy and RTO problems. We also face problems for passenger pick-up within city due to formulated entry restrictions. As a remedy, I feel there is a need of an association or a council of bus operators in the region for collective addressing of these problems and issues faced by all the operators, which hinders sustainable growth and development in this sector”.
Summing on a positive note, the MD concluded, “We at Barde group and Barde Travels have been always committed to an approach of providing best services to our passengers and people of Belagavi. We have built our business hub at ‘Barde Mangal Karyalaya’ , Belagavi – which we term it as our epicentre for future business endeavours. We forecast our future in terms of positive growth and our commitment towards development of our business and service to people as our prime objective”.
About the Author :Biswajit Baruah is an ardent entrepreneur in the Bus Industry in India. With roots in Assam, Biswajit is Belagavi based and is currently working as a ‘Mentor and Director’ for a Bengaluru based start up – “Bus Bucket”. Biswajit is a blogger and has also marked his presence in the field of Automobile Journalism as a ‘Consulting Editor’ to India’s premiere Commercial Vehicle Magazine – “Motor India” published from Chennai. His profile has a touch of Bus Photography, Journalism and as an Analyst for Sustainable Transport in India.