I am a frequent traveller on the Bangalore-Panjim(Goa) route, travelling almost every week-end, and have been using KSRTC's Airavath Volvo service of late.
The trip from Panjim to Bangalore (6:00 pm departure) is good, with the bus reaching Bangalore on time almost always. However, both trips going from Bangalore to Panjim (6:00 pm & 7:30 pm) mostly reach late. Also, the video is more of a nuisance than entertainment (most passengers using the Volvo service either carry their own iPods, laptops, etc, or just want to travel in peace and quiet - a survey conducted on these trips will prove that this is true indeed). The reason why I'm writing this however, is because of the harrowing experience I had during the last two consecutive trips from Bangalore to Panjim.
On 28th Aug '09, the Bangalore to Panjim (6:00 pm departure) Volvo bus had a break down and stopped at about 1:00 am, a little before Hubli. The replacement bus came to the spot at about 3:30 am, and the bus reached Panjim at 11:45 am. A delay of 4 hrs. 45 mins., considering that a Volvo should need a maximum 13 hrs. for this trip - Note that the Panjim-Bangalore (6:00 pm departure) Volvo takes only 12 hrs. 35 mins. for the trip.
On 4th Sep '09 however, it was quite a nightmare. the Bangalore to Panjim (6:00 pm departure) bus once again had a break down and stopped at about 9:45 pm, a little after Tumkur. For sometime the drivers seemed not able to get through to anyone to send a replacement bus. After a couple of hours they gave the passengers vague information saying a mechanic was on the way, and that the replacement bus itself had a breakdown on the way. Finally, after claims that 2 replacement buses had breakdowns and a third Volvo was being sent, a bus arrived on the spot at 5:30 am! I had been stranded on the highway along with other passengers for 8 hours! And this bus reached Panjim only at 7:00 pm. A full 12 hrs late! Another matter of concern here is that the drivers had to immediately start on the way back, as this bus was to depart from Panjim at 7:00 pm, so the drivers did not have any rest!
The problem is, KSRTC's Volvo's on this route are aged, and they have to be replaced. In fact, on much shorter routes like Bangalore-Mysore, KSRTC plies many new Volvo's. It is all the more important to ply new buses on long routes like Bangalore-Panjim. I am sure KSRTC will not want to inconvenience passengers and generate bad publicity on valuable routes like this, which generate a lot of business.