Scenic route – challenging journey

Few places are as beautiful and challenge public transportations as much as Norway does. And especially so the route from Bergen to Trondheim. High mountains, slippery steep slopes and changes in temperature of 45 degrees Celsius mean high demands on the Volvo Buses that make sure the passengers reach their destination.
Volvo bus in Norway

The route “Ekspressbussen Bergen-Trondheim” between Norway’s second and third largest cities is truly a test of endurance and stamina for any coach. It is a nightly route of about 750 kilometres, which takes 15 hours and requires the services of three bus drivers during the trip. Fjord1 Nordfjord-Ottadalen AS, a subsidiary of the Norwegian transport corporation Fjord1, runs the route. Fjord1 also runs ferry, boat, local bus and goods services, mostly on the central west coast of Norway.

“Ekspressbussen Bergen-Trondheim is a very special route that has been run since 1986 and is very popular among passengers, for both long and short trips along it,” says Asgeir Myklebust, managing director of Fjord1 Nordfjord- Ottadalen AS.

During winter, the temperature can vary from +10 °C at the start in coastal Bergen, to –35 °C when the coach travels over the Dovrefjell mountain area in the centre of Norway. It is a route in a beautiful but also very demanding landscape. Fluctuating temperatures, wet roads and steep slopes make a real challenge for the Volvo 9700.

 “It is important for us to have a coach that provides comfort for the passengers but also is reliable and safe for the driver,” says Asgeir Myklebust. “We have very good experiences of the Volvo 9700 and the new version with the stronger 13-litre engine is no exception.”

During 2009 and 2010, the Volvo 9700 with 13-litre engine has been running on the Ekspressbussen Bergen-Trondheim route as part of a field test.

“Even though it was a field test, we were expecting the bus to perform just as well as any other bus, and we were not disappointed. We have not experienced any major problems during this time,” says Karin Lunde Vinsrygg, traffic manager at Fjord1. “Our drivers are very happy with the performance of the coach.”

Fjord1 have done a survey of the fuel consumption of the Volvo 9700 with 13-litre  and compared it to the fuel consumption of a Volvo 9700 with 12-litre engine.

“The comparison shows that the fuel consumption is lower by about 3,5 per cent,” says Karin Lunde Vinsrygg.

The Volvo 9700 on the Ekspressbussen Bergen-Trondheim route is far from the first Volvo at Fjord1. The brand has a long tradition in the company.

“About 60 per cent of our buses are Volvos today and the brand has always performed very well,” says Asgeir Myklebust, “We are happy to contribute to the development of a new product, as we feel that our two companies have had a good relationship for many years.”

Per-Olav Skarstein is one of the regular and experienced drivers on the Ekspressbussen Bergen-Trondheim route.

“I’ve been driving on this route for ten years and never get tired of it”, he says. “Sometimes it can be dramatic in the winter when the road is closed over one of the mountain passes, but the roads are generally in very good condition.”

“As a driver, you want to be sure that the coach doesn’t stop mid-route,” he says. “The Volvo 9700 is a reliable coach. The new version with the 13-litre engine isn’t noticeably different to drive than the 12-litre engine, but it does have more power when it is heading uphill.”

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