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Old 7th August 2012, 10:16   #2086
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A quick review of a journey from Thrissur to Bangalore by Shama's brand new "Big Bus" (Volvo B9R Multi-Axle): The bus was KA-01-AB-5342, delivered to Shama just last Friday!! This was its second trip.

The bus had 35 bookings for Monday night (not bad). The bus came to Thrissur from PTA at 2130hrs, and left at 2150hrs (due to one passenger coming late - he never turned up, and later they promised to send him by the TVM-BLR bus). The driver was very decent - minimal use of horns (at times he went mad and honked continuously though). I was in Seat #A (first row left side seat). Around 14 passengers boarded from Thrissur itself.

The bus went through Kuthiran-Alathur. The driver was saying that the Ottapalam route is very slippery and its dangerous to speed on that route if it rains - he is right. I felt that while traveling in G4 - the road is really slippery. We did lose some 10-15 minutes on the Kuthiran ghats. We stopped for refueling at the petrol pump just before Coimbatore bypass starts (Madukkarai end). This doubled up as a "bio break" for the crew and passengers (break from 0035 to 0050). The bus took 407lts of diesel. Just as we started Kallada G4's KTR-BLR bus came right behind.

From the bypass, the bus turned towards Palladam, and took Palladam-Tiruppur-Chengampally-Perundurai route. I slept throughout the journey and woke at around 0400 when the bus stopped for yet another break (near Dharmapuri). I slept again, and woke up at around 0545, when the bus was crossing Hosur. There was block at Attibelle toll (as usual). We reached Electronic City at 0622. Took the elevated highway, and reached Silkboard at 0628. (yeah - he took 6 minutes from E.City to Silkboard).

About the bus: The bus was mint fresh. I could still get the "new vehicle" smell in it. Plastic seat covers were still not removed. The mat is yet to be put in. The front windshield has already received an air crack - it is spreading quite rapidly as well. The crew were quite friendly (the driver was a bit grumpy though). The bus does not go above 100kmph - since its a very new bus. But the driver managed to maintain time despite not being able to go above 100kmph. It took exactly 5:39hrs from Madukkarai to Silk Board - including the unwanted break at Dharmapuri (I think the second driver got in here - not sure, since it was a different driver at the wheels in the morning). The odo reading when I got in at Thrissur was just 2042kms!!
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Old 8th August 2012, 16:14   #2087
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I need to go to Hyderabad today to get a shot of yellow fever before my travel to Africa and hence have booked the KSRTC Mercedes service leaving Shanti Nagar at 2144hrs and return via KSRTC Airavat from Hyderabad at 17:15Hrs (single axle Volvo)

Both seats are Seat No: 1W.

Is this a good choice? I will share my experience once I m back.
I m back, and so is my review.

Onward:

The 54k km done Mercedes Benz bus felt significantly more "uncomfortable" than the Volvos that I have traveled in, earlier. The calf rest was not ergonomic, the ac vents were of a cheaper quality, the ride quality was no where as plush as the Volvo multi axles, and most of all the engine was noisier than the Volvo, inside the cabin, and I was in seat No:1, remember?

The journey was a usual no hassles affair and the bus departed Shanti nagar at 2150hrs and reached the MGBS, Hyd at 0720hrs.

I, as a passenger, had a sleepless night.

Return:

417k kms done Mysore depot Volvo single axle 9400. Upon seeing the bus, I was slightly upset since I wanted to get some rest on my way back and since this was a single axle veteran bus, I was nervous.

One turn of the key though, and all that changed. It was like a long distance bus should be. Silent, comfortable and super smooth. The seat was ergonomic, the ac vents, volume adjustable, the curtains better, the list goes on and on.

The driver though, was pretty slow and would seldom cross 85kmph. Departed MGBS, Hyd at 1715hrs and reached Bangalore at 0300hrs.

I will not travel by the Merc anymore, unless there is an emergency or no other options.
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Old 8th August 2012, 21:35   #2088
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

The 54k km done Mercedes Benz bus felt significantly more "uncomfortable" than the Volvos that I have traveled in, earlier. The calf rest was not ergonomic, the ac vents were of a cheaper quality, the ride quality was no where as plush as the Volvo multi axles, and most of all the engine was noisier than the Volvo, inside the cabin, and I was in seat No:1, remember?
Was this a Two-axle bus or a Multi-Axle? (I presume its a Multi-axle since you mentioned the odo reading as 54K).

The seats in the Merc is a bit narrower than the ones in a Volvo - plus, the leg rest is awful. Too much of plastics give it a cheap look too.
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Old 9th August 2012, 17:28   #2089
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Was this a Two-axle bus or a Multi-Axle? (I presume its a Multi-axle since you mentioned the odo reading as 54K).

The seats in the Merc is a bit narrower than the ones in a Volvo - plus, the leg rest is awful. Too much of plastics give it a cheap look too.
Yes, this was a new multi-axle 2012 March built bus. I completely concur with your views on the interiors and comfort.
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Old 11th August 2012, 09:12   #2090
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
A quick review of a journey from Thrissur to Bangalore by Shama's brand new "Big Bus" (Volvo B9R Multi-Axle)
binaiks, how is the traffic at Kuthiran? Is the road really very bad?
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Old 11th August 2012, 09:15   #2091
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binaiks, how is the traffic at Kuthiran? Is the road really very bad?
On that day, the traffic was light - it did take a lot of time to cross Kuthiran, but nothing worth worrying. About the road: yes, there is some road between the potholes. Its really worth taking the Palakkad-Shoranur-Wadakkanchery-Thrissur route instead of going via Alathur-Vadakkenchery.

There was a report in today's Malayala Manorama that Kuthiran was blocked for over 12 hours yesterday.
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Old 12th August 2012, 00:53   #2092
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

SHAMA BIG BUS B9R to Chennai
Started a new service between Bangalore and Chennai by brand new Volvo B9R tonite.From Bangalore timing is 11:00PM at Madiwala.
From Chennai it is handled by Sangita Travels,starting off from Adayar at 07:30 AM via Central,leaving CMBT Omni Bus stand by 08:45 AM and reaching BLR at 02:30 PM.
Photos of new bus will be updated soon.
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Old 12th August 2012, 13:34   #2093
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gold class
From Chennai it is handled by Sangita Travels,starting off from Adayar at 07:30 AM via Central,leaving CMBT Omni Bus stand by 08:45 AM and reaching BLR at 02:30 PM.
Sangita? Totally unreliable operator especially for a day service.

Is it any service extended to Chennai?
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Old 12th August 2012, 23:25   #2094
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Sangita? Totally unreliable operator especially for a day service.

Is it any service extended to Chennai?
I think it is most likely the Bangalore Chennai bus returning back immediately to Bangalore.

Also saw no less than 3 multi axles of Kallada between 12 and 12.30 PM today on the stretch between Edappally and Aluva. Was there any block at Walayar or somewhere?? I had reached the same morning by my usual 1944 Merc KaSRTC Multi and there was no block till I reached by 6.30 AM.
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Old 13th August 2012, 09:04   #2095
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Also saw no less than 3 multi axles of Kallada between 12 and 12.30 PM today on the stretch between Edappally and Aluva. Was there any block at Walayar or somewhere?? I had reached the same morning by my usual 1944 Merc KaSRTC Multi and there was no block till I reached by 6.30 AM.
One would be their Hyderabad bus, the other two would be some late service - or they could be brand new buses being taken to Ernakulam, after registration in Bangalore/Irinjalakuda.
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Old 13th August 2012, 19:01   #2096
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well written! Nicely pointed out. Actually, you are very correct by saying that regulars will shy away from this service if the quality is not maintained or the service not improved. In either sense, I see this a very challenging task ahead for KSRTC. I hope they come out with flying colours.
@AlphaKilo, thanks. I traveled by the same bus again on the 10th Aug. This time it was a different driver. After last trip's food experience (was down with a case of mild food infection) I didn't want to take a chance and had picked up a bottle of nimbooz and a pack of Nilgiris cake slices before boarding the bus.

I normally select Seats 1 or 4 since that helps understand the traffic better (for the once a month car drive). This time it was #1. Settled down in the seat which had its backrest in the fully reclined position. Since I get back ache in that position I tried to bring it up to the vertical position but it wouldn't stay there. Two weeks old and one seat is already non functional.

Summary of this trip

1. Bad Seat #1 - lodged a complaint to the driver and Conductor. Both of them tried to set it right and couldn't. But were at least apologetic. They logged in their trip log book and promised to have it fixed next day. Will be traveling on 17th Aug again by the same bus same seat. Lets see if they keep up their promise!
2. No choice of Snack plate this time.
3. Many passengers were complaining about the quality of the headsets (they seem to be from the same supplier who supplied KFA and probably has a lot of unsold stuff after the KFA debacle)
4. There was a different driver (probably in his mid 30s) this time who was equally aggressive like the one from my last trip. Scarier though was the fact that somewhere after Vellore he started yawning with a loud noise almost every 15 mins
5. Wi-Fi was not usable as I could never get past the registration page of Ozone who is the provider. The crew was clueless about WiFi and simply said that it was not functioning.
6. The only positive thing was that the bus managed to reach Chennai by 11.40 - 5 mins later than the published arrival time of 11.35!!
7. When I was getting off the bus, surprisingly the driver and conductor both apologized once again for the bad seat!!

I will be traveling again on the 17th Aug and 30th Aug by this bus and will update improvements / degradations.

Last edited by cnaganathan : 13th August 2012 at 19:03.
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Old 13th August 2012, 20:14   #2097
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Traveled from Jalandhar (Bus Stand) to Delhi (ISBT) on Wed Aug-08 by a Punjab Roadways AC bus and the experience was satisfactory. I was actually waiting for AC bus to Airport (departs from Jalandhar at 9:30 PM, 10:30 PM, 11:30 PM) but it did not show up and I ended up taking a 11 PM AC Volvo to ISBT. It started at around 11:10 PM and took a 30 mins break at around 1 AM, and was at ISBT at 5:20 AM. Cost of ticket: 670 bucks; AC was working (was freezing cold inside the bus) and there were two overhead LCD displays playing a bollywood movie.
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Old 13th August 2012, 21:41   #2098
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by cnaganathan View Post
...
1. Bad Seat #1 - lodged a complaint to the driver and Conductor. Both of them tried to set it right and couldn't. But were at least apologetic. They logged in their trip log book and promised to have it fixed next day. Will be traveling on 17th Aug again by the same bus same seat. Lets see if they keep up their promise!...
My strong advice is to choose a different seat. Let them keep up their promise but dont take any risk by bringing back your back pain.

There may be several factors due to which your complaint may not be serviced at the promised time. So choose a different seat and check the condition of seat #1 during travel.
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Old 13th August 2012, 22:00   #2099
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Some pics of the Shama Sardar (owned by NAS) Ashok Leyland 12M RE AC Sleeper coach.

Happened to get into the bus and take some pics (thanks to the guys at NAS Garage). I found the interiors of the bus to be top-notch. Much better than the Kallada Benz Sleeper (will post the photos soon). The bus might not look great in the pics, but the quality was really good. The fittings were in good condition - the interior colours were somewhat dull, but gave a class look.

Now for the pics:
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Old 14th August 2012, 01:16   #2100
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Some pics of the Shama Sardar (owned by NAS) Ashok Leyland 12M RE AC Sleeper coach.
Thanks, Binai.

I find the side and rear of the bus really up-market. But the front looks a bit too gaudy.

Could you post a higher resolution version of the Third image? Is that an OBD port on the steering column - left side?

Any pointers on the maintenance, running costs, etc of the bus?
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