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Old 24th December 2012, 06:23   #2446
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by lordavenger View Post
Hi! I am traveling from Bangalore to Hyderabad on the 27th. Has to be a late night bus (post 10 pm) as I intend to catch up on the Empire Grilled Chicken before boarding! Was wondering about Olivia, but have changed my mind after recent reviews.

So, need alternatives. Th following conditions apply:

1. Should be bookable online
2. Price range: 700 - 1400 (Willing to pay a premium if its worth it)
3. Should reach Hyderabad before 9 am

Please help! Cheers.
I think there is a Kesineni Volvo at 11 PM. Not sure about the boarding points but he reaches Hyderabad by 7 am. Decent service, decent quality.
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Old 24th December 2012, 08:13   #2447
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by TKMCE View Post
I do know that Bangalore = Madiwala/Koramangala for a lot of people but Empire do have a lot of outlets, so which outlet are you planning to visit to gorge???
Should have been more clear. It's the Church Street one. Will look at both APSRTCC and KaSRTC. The APSRTCC website requires Boarding point specified. Could you please also suggest which would be nearest for me? Thanks!

Edit: Airavat has a Benz AC and a Volvo AC. Pointers please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by venki.bala View Post
I think there is a Kesineni Volvo at 11 PM. Not sure about the boarding points but he reaches Hyderabad by 7 am. Decent service, decent quality.
Kesineni? There's one at 11 pm. Will check it out! Thanks a lot!

Last edited by lordavenger : 24th December 2012 at 08:19. Reason: Spell Check/ More ino
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:14   #2448
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

The 2300 Dep of Kesineni is starting from Mysore and your convenient boarding point is Anand Rao Circle, Majestic. The APSRTC last departure is again from Mysore and for this your convenient boarding point is Shanti Nagar. The last but one departure of APSRTC again starts from Marathahalli and does a city darshan before landing up at Shanti Nagar In all these cases depending on the traffic, your bus may get delayed departing Shanti Nagar bus station (or Majestic in case of Kesineni). . Far better bet would be the 2214 Multi Axle Volvo or 2230 Multi Axle Merc of KaSRTC and the advantages of both these departures are that it starts from Shanti Nagar bus statiion itelf, which is simply put one of the most well organisaed bus stations in the country. You can also use the waiting lounge there if you have booked KaSRTC premium services. I personally do not have any preferences between the Merc and Volvo but others may disagree (most people seem to prefer the Volvos).

Last edited by TKMCE : 24th December 2012 at 09:16.
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Old 24th December 2012, 18:31   #2449
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordavenger View Post
It's the Church Street one. Will look at both APSRTCC and KaSRTC. The APSRTCC website requires Boarding point specified. Could you please also suggest which would be nearest for me? Thanks!

Edit: Airavat has a Benz AC and a Volvo AC. Pointers please!
If you are taking either of the SRTCs, then please select Shantinagar as your boarding point. In case you choose any of the private operators, you might need to board from Anand Rao Circle or Hebbal, since they do not have pick-up points that are close to Church Street.

Benz or Volvo - that is a debatable topic. Some love the Benz, while some prefer the Volvo any day. Since you do not have any particular prior preference, it would be okay on either. Note that all APSRTC Garuda Plus services to Hyderabad are Mercedes Benz buses (except one recently introduced Bangalore-Hyderabad-Karimnagar Garuda+ service).

Shantinagar is often chaotic - especially if its on a peak day. The bus station was built for city buses and the layout is ideal for run through buses. Due to this fact, the bus station gets jammed if one bus decides to wait for a couple of minutes more - the APSRTC queue is notorious for the same. The "Platform" is about 6-8 buses long, and you would have to walk end-to-end to find out which your bus is. (The condition is horrible for Chennai bound passengers, since a lot of KSRTC buses to Chennai line up together - and one would have to ask each and every bus crew to find your bus). It is perhaps the worst place to board a long distance bus, especially if you are traveling on a route with lots of buses.
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Old 24th December 2012, 23:21   #2450
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Shantinagar is I agree not designed as a long distance Terminus. It is only for long distance buses passing through.That is because the Terminus were primarily Mysore Road Satellite Bus station (inconvenient to a lot of people) and Majestic -KGBS whch is being redeveloped..So buses are shifted to start from Shantinagar (both KaSRTC and APSRTC).

That said the bus station is far cleaner by miles and have many more amenities than most bus stations in South India. CMBT in Chennai is spacious , but is a dump - even worse is the so called Omni bus terminus next door from where private buses operate. Trichur and Ernakulam bus stations are horrible to put it mildly (but Trichur is wonderdul for bus fanning - I do agree - while Ernakulam has lost its charm due to buses being diverted via Vytilla). Yes Hyderabad MGBS semed to be better organised when I was there last , but Shantinagar by any means is definitely not bad at all.

The Chennai buses were leaving from the stop gap arrangment accross the road when I was there last but even then when I used it I didnt have problems. Once I booked the first Volvo service (a B7R coming from Mysore) and I was told that it would come on the normal platform and it did (only Chennai departures scheduled before 9 PM come to PF 1). On another occasion I was booked on a Rajahamsa and the conductor of the first bus clearly told me it was the 4the bus down the line.

Considering that "lordavenger" is taking the last bus out to HYD , which is at 2230 or 2300 , the APSRTC platform is unlikely to be as crowded at that hour and so will be the case with KaSRTC platform for Andhra bound buses(which I believe is Platform 3 or 4 and not Platform 1). And more importantly I observed that both the KaSRTC and APSRTC traffic staff are quite co-operative as well as informative.

While Empire Grilled Chicken does not have an outlet there, I did find that the Andhra restaurant in the complex serves decent food, although a little pricey.
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Old 25th December 2012, 11:17   #2451
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by TKMCE View Post
The Chennai buses were leaving from the stop gap arrangment accross the road when I was there last but even then when I used it I didnt have problems. Once I booked the first Volvo service (a B7R coming from Mysore) and I was told that it would come on the normal platform and it did (only Chennai departures scheduled before 9 PM come to PF 1). On another occasion I was booked on a Rajahamsa and the conductor of the first bus clearly told me it was the 4the bus down the line.
That scenario has changed now. A lot of buses now depart from out Big Bazar on the main road, while some leave from the stop-gap platform across the road, while some others leave from near the entry of the bus station, while some others depart from "Platform 3". Platform 3 is the BMTC area from where buses towards Jayanagar/Dairy Circle side depart from. Platform 3 basically is a long line of buses, and people end up shuttling between the different departure areas to find out where their bus is departing from - and this situation is complex after 2200hrs. There is either no announcement, or they make a completely incomprehensible announcement - that is audible only if you stand right below the speaker. I've experienced this on a weekday - weekends would be no less than a chaos then.

For Kerala bound departures the scene is far better - because the buses are spaced apart and there is not much crowd at the boarding area due to lesser number of buses, and the fact that only KaSRTC buses to Kerala start from Shantinagar. KeSRTC buses originate from Mysore Road Satellite terminus and they do not come in to Shantinagar BS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKMCE View Post
While Empire Grilled Chicken does not have an outlet there, I did find that the Andhra restaurant in the complex serves decent food, although a little pricey.
+100 to that Andhra restaurant. The food is good, but a little pricey as you put in correctly.
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Old 25th December 2012, 14:15   #2452
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Guys, I am currently in Kolhapur for some work and need to travel from Kolhapur to Bangalore this Friday. After some searching around, I have found that KSRTC Airavat Club class and Konduskar travel's Multi axle Volvo both suits to me for the travel. Neeta's Bus has been ruled out after reading some bad stories and due to approx. 40% more fare.

I have not travelled much in this part of the country earlier, advise from forum members is required to choose between Airavat club & Konduskar.

Last edited by breezydrive : 25th December 2012 at 14:16.
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Old 25th December 2012, 16:37   #2453
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Take the KSRTC Airavath Multi Axle leaving Kolhapur Bus Stand at 7PM. It is a Kolhapur originating bus unlike Konduskar which appears to start from Shirdi/Pune as per their website. So you will not end up waiting.
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Old 25th December 2012, 20:56   #2454
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Default Blr - Hyd - Mum - Blr

This was a round trip which was good only in the comfort aspects and also changed my perception about VRL.

BLR - HYD: Dhanunjaya Travels Volvo 2+1 Semi-sleeper

My round trip began on friday evening. Since all the known options - Orange, VRL, Dhanunjaya Sleeper, HKB were all full, I booked this service that showed up in Dhanunjaya's website. I had chosen to board the bus from BTM Layout.

Scheduled Time of boarding: 20:40hrs
Actual time of boarding: 21:10hrs
Scheduled time of arrival at Hyd: 06:00hrs
Actual time of arrival at Hyd: 05:50hrs

Cost: Rs.1300

The bus was an old Volvo B7R Mark-II. The original seats were replaced with Harita seats, in 2+1 configuration. Mine was a 4th row single seat on the left side. The seats were cramped, as they'd squeezed some 36 seats. The bus showed its age with a good amount of engine noise inside, and some occasional squeaks. I expected a charging point, but didn't find one. No water bottles provided. Blanket was clean. Since I slept well, and had boarded after having dinner, I didn't know if they'd stopped anywhere for a break.

Two crappy Telugu movies were played. Found solace in my music collection to escape the noise pollution.

The bus dropped me at Mehdipatnam at 05:50hrs. No complaints regarding the timing. The crew were also helpful. At Rs.1300, this was not bad.


HYD - MUM: VRL Volvo Multi-axle Semi-sleeper

I wanted to reach Vashi as early as possible on monday morning. After reading the very helpful replies from TKMCE and binaiks, I wanted to book HKB, but I was already booked in a VRL service that would pick me up from Gachibowli at 17:30hrs. I expected them to be punctual with the time of arrival in Vashi, since their MUM-BLR service was heard to be really good.

Scheduled time of pick-up: 17:30hrs
Actual time of pick-up: 17:45hrs
Scheduled time of arrival at Vashi: 07:30hrs (according to driver)/06:30hrs (according to the Call centre exec)
Actual time of arrival at vashi: 08:20hrs

Cost: Rs. 1235

The bus had around 3L km on the odo, but maintained well. Clean interiors, and blankets. The crew were cordial and helpful. It had a charging point, so I could listen to music all along the trip. They played two movies, one in full, and the other one was stopped halfway, as it was already midnight.

Dinner break was at 22:10hrs, at a horrible place, very much like the infamous Hotel Utthaiya near Krishnagiri. It was too expensive for the kind of food. No rest rooms. And, arrogant waiters. This was about an hour and a half after passing Bidar. The bus had deviated from the highway and got inside Bidar town for pick-up. Lost a good amount of time crawling behind truck traffic and also because of bad roads.

The bus was cruising at 80kmph for most part of the journey, and rarely did it touch 100kmph (until it hit the Pune-Mum expressway). The bus deviated from the highway at Indapur, and got on some interior roads to join the highway at Pune. There were a few people who got down at Pune. Hit the Expressway at 05:50hrs. Stopped for fuel at an HP fuel station somewhere near Lonawala. Lost another half an hour there. And finally got dropped at Vashi at 08:20hrs. It was only on the Pune-Mum expressway that the bus started cruising at 100kmph. Seemed to me that it was speed-locked at 100.


MUM - BLR: VRL Volvo Multi-axle Semi-sleeper

My intention was to leave Bombay as late as possible, and be back in Bangalore by afternoon. After reading all reviews and suggestions here, especially from TKMCE and binaiks, I booked the VRL 19:30hrs service that would reach Vashi at 22:00hrs, and arrive in Bangalore by 13:00hrs. However, the Hyd-Mum trip left a not so great impression about VRL. Hence I didn't pin my hopes high. Since it was Christmas day, I didn't bother about he time arrival too.

Scheduled time of pick-up: 22:00hrs
Actual time of pick-up: 22:50hrs
Scheduled time of arrival in Blr: 13:00hrs
Actual time of arrival in Blr: 16:20hrs

Cost: Rs.1425

The bus was well maintained, and comfortable. There was a charging point provided. The crew were good, though not as much as the one in the Hyd-Mum bus. There were two drivers, and the first seat on the LHS was converted to a permanent berth for the second driver, just like the other bus. I liked this idea, of loosing just one seat in place of 4 or 5 seats if they'd converted the last row of seats into a berth for the spare driver, like KPN.

Since I've never been to Mumbai, I reached the pick-up point in Vashi, which just mentioned Vashi Plaza, at 21:30hrs. Noticed a couple of VRL buses picking up people from near the Vashi signal, and one bus from under the fly-over, again near the signal. So i moved to that location. Since I didn't find my bus even after 22:40hrs, I rang up the customer care. The person who attended to me said that he'd contact the driver and tell me the exact location of the bus in a few minutes. Within two minutes, he called me back informing that the bus would be there soon. At around 22:48hrs, I got a call from the driver, asking me where I was. I'd barely walked a hundred feet to see if my bus was one among the many that had pulled up in a row. My bus was waiting under the flyover. The driver who called me was not too happy about the call he got from the call centre.

Slept off soon after I boarded. Woke up at 07:30hrs only to find that we still had a very long way to go. The bus stopped at 08:05hrs at a Kamat Cafe in Dharwad for breakfast. The place was decent in every way, except the little-bit cranky waiters. The drivers had made sure that everyone got down from the bus, turned off the engine, and had locked the doors. Resumed journey at 08:45hrs.

The next break was at 12:15hrs at a VRL station in Chitradurga. There was a small hotel, which served decent food. Though it was meant to be a fuelling break, the small queue at the fuel pump meant that the break extended for half an hour. Hit the highway at 12:45hrs.

The bus was not doing anything above 80kmph. Not even once did it touch 100kmph. They'd played two Hindi movies during the day. Finally got dropped off at Anand Rao circle at 16:20hrs.

Will I choose VRL again? Not quite. In fact I'd stay away from any bus in the Mum-Blr sector. In the other routes, maybe. But I won't go for VRL blindly like I did this time.
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Old 25th December 2012, 22:36   #2455
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

With the exception of a couple of services which start from VT or Dadar , most of VRLs and Sharma services (and 2 of the 4 KaSRTC services) start from Borivali including the service you took. On these services n the evening especially on a weekday, the bus will get caught in crawling traffc almost till Pune or beyond. I used to travel regularly from Andheri to Pune on Neeta and if I take the first bus from Neeta which is at 0545 from Andheri, I reach as early as 8 AM at Hinjewadi in Pune, if i take the 4 PM bus I will be lucky to reach at 8.30 PM.

The bus I took last to BLR was the 11 AM VRL service from Andheri (the first Volvo) . I was promised a time of 6 AM by their authorised agent and still reached at 7 AM at Yeshwantpur, but the other one hour was due to a breakdown just after the Karnataka border. A replacement bus was arranged and still we lost only about an hour.


Maybe things have changed since I took them last nearly an year back, but Binai also had a fairly good experience with them. But if you want an early arrival in Bangalore , then the first VRL departure (the one I took) or the departure round the same time from Sharma are the only fail safe options. Even the first KaSRTC leaves too late in the day And again do keep in mind that this is a long sector we are talking about over a 1000 Km distance here.

I was a regular in Sharma on this route in my earlier days (long before Volvos came in or the Pune BOM expressway was set up) and VRL scores over Sharma anytime in my opinion. KaSRTC is ofcourse also good (they started operating even earlier than Sharma!)

And believe me - the train alternatives are horrible. dont even think of it...Udyan express as well as the morning option from BLR , Chalukya express both take 22-24 hours and stops at around 30 places (not joking) enroute. Intercity /Rajdhani/Shatabdi etc does not exist in the vocabulary of indian Railways as far as the BLR BOM route is concerned. Best option on this route is to fly. If you book more than 2 weeks ahead, except on peak periods, you still get a decent fare es;p on Go/Spice Jet/ Indigo and it takes just 90 minutes!!!
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Old 26th December 2012, 10:32   #2456
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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And believe me - the train alternatives are horrible. dont even think of it...Udyan express as well as the morning option from BLR , Chalukya express both take 22-24 hours and stops at around 30 places (not joking) enroute. Intercity /Rajdhani/Shatabdi etc does not exist in the vocabulary of indian Railways as far as the BLR BOM route is concerned. Best option on this route is to fly. If you book more than 2 weeks ahead, except on peak periods, you still get a decent fare es;p on Go/Spice Jet/ Indigo and it takes just 90 minutes!!!
Yesso! If only there were some fast trains through the Konkan route... Just wishful thinking, and nothing more. The next time, I'll definitely fly to Bombay and back.
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Old 27th December 2012, 13:38   #2457
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Strange BLR-EKM trip in KaSRTC :
date : 25/12/2012
bus : 2145 volvo multi axle from shanti nagar (KA 01 FA 9148)

2200 - departure
2310 to 2340 - supper break at ananda bhavan shoolagiri (after hosur)
0130 - salem Nh7-NH47 changeover ramp
0345 to 0415 - tea break @ettimadai (after coimbatore) amritha college road
0500 - palakkad bypass start
0600 - mannuthy thrissur bypass start
0630 - angamaly
0700 - ernakulam bus stand
overall exactly (9 - 0.5 + 0.5) = 8 hours running time bus stand to bus stand. Traffic on the road was 'typical week day traffic' ie 5-6 mins delays at toll booths.

in my experience, KaSRTC drivers have been engine luggers who are too mileage-conscious/bored to drive in the right gear, very careful to not honk (lest it disturb the baby-like sleep of passengers) & with very soft road manners. This is why I always prefer KaSRTC (proper sleep, less threat to life, cheaper ticket is the cherry on top).

But this guy turned out to be the anti-christ of the typical KaSRTC driver. He drove in the right gears & was flooring the pedal. He was like a man possessed, honking throughout the night (thats what kept me awake) ; in fact, he was honking impatiently at the toll booths. I am sure the bus was locked at 100kph (dint have GPS, still you can make out from the window seat) but the driving style was "proper" road-rage. He overtook almost every other volvo/benz on the road (except 2 KPNs which I am sure were not speed locked).

I have driven in my car twice on the same BLR-EKM route (I dont cross 110) and it has taken me 9 hrs+ running time. I wonder whether he was riding a bet or something. It was downright dangerous and I was relieved to have arrived in one piece.
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Old 27th December 2012, 14:33   #2458
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by venkyhere View Post
Strange BLR-EKM trip in KaSRTC :
date : 25/12/2012
bus : 2145 volvo multi axle from shanti nagar (KA 01 FA 9148)

2200 - departure
...
0700 - ernakulam bus stand
overall exactly (9 - 0.5 + 0.5) = 8 hours running time bus stand to bus
Thats too fast. May be low traffic on that day helped. The fastest journey between Ernakulam and Bangalore was by Kallada G4 - around 7h53m including entering Thrissur town, going via Shoranur-Ottapalam and one refueling break near Coimbatore bypass (where, Ernakulam = Vyttila, Bangalore = Silk Board). On that particular journey, the bus left the fuel station at Madukkarai (Just before the start of the bypass when coming from Kerala) at 0215, and he landed at Silk Board at 0633hrs - that was just 4h18m for Madukkarai to Silk Board, via Dharmapuri-Rayakkottai-Hosur.
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Old 27th December 2012, 17:13   #2459
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Hyderabad - Vijayawada - Hyderabad By A/C Sleeper

On 8th December, I had to travel to Vijayawada on an urgent trip. Got to know that I need to travel, by around 07:00 pm, - I was pretty tired that day, having taken my family on an outing to Deccan Trails (Adventure Resort), and the first thing that I wanted was a good night's sleep, and sleeper buses were my first option. Logged in to Apsrtc Online and found a Vennela A/C sleeper to VJA at 2315 hours from Dilsukhnagar (DSNR). Booked an upper berth for Rs 660/-.

Reached DSNR APSRTC bus stand by around 2250 hours, and the wait started. 2315 - expected time, no clue of the bus - in the meanwhile, there was a steady flow of Express, Super Luxury,INDRA A/C, Garuda (B7R and Isuzu), and GarudaPlus(MB and B9R) buses through the crowded DSNR bus stand. 2345 hours, and with no sigh of the bus, I got flustered enough, went inside the bus stand and checked with the supervisor, who had no clue either. Still, he was a bit helpfull and gave me the mobile number of the dispatcher at MGBS.

I rang him up, only to know that the bus was still at MGBS at scheduled to depart at 0000 hours! Pray - why can't APSRTC give its travelling PAX a realistic ETA?? Anycase, at around 0015, the Vennela A/C sleeper finally pulled in. Along with me, other harried passengers took the driver to task for having made them wait for so long. Took an upper berth in the 2nd bay - the berths looked a bit cramped, but were comfortable. Got a blanket and a small water bottle, and quickly got up the upper berth and slept off soon. The journey seemed smooth, with not too many jerks. I got off at Vijayawada APSRTC bus stand at sharp 0500 hours - around 4 hours and 45 minutes journey time.

Came back the same night by Sri Kaleswari(SK) A/C sleeper. The previous night, when I was checking for return options, APSRTC was running full that Sunday evening, with not even a seat/berth on any of its Super Luxury/Volvo/Vennela/Indra. Many of the private operators had one or two seats left in the last row, and luckily, SK had the last lower berth on their 2300 hours service available, so quickly booked it for Rs 700/-. Tried booking on RedBus, and gave in after 2 failed attempts. Went to SK's website and booked the berth.

SK has its' own compound near Eenadu office near Benz Circle - their buses are serviced there, and they have arrangements for the travelling PAX - seating area, Visi-cooler and rest rooms. Sunday evening seemed quite busy with a number of Chennai, Vizag and Hyderabad bound PAX waiting for their buses.There were a line of departures - the B7R bound for Vizag and the Chennai bound Isuzu before us. Each departure was heralded loudly by a staffer, who also doubled up as a traffic controller. After the departure of the Chennai Isuzu, our A/C sleeper pulled up. I went to the last bay and took the lower berth. Surprisngly, no one came to check my m-ticket! Blankets were already available on the berths, and no - we did not get drinking water.

I had a tiring day, so immediately hit the bed. Was awake for a few minutes as the bus left the compound and made a few stops along the way; and then slept off. Got up somewhere in the middle for a bio break, when the bus stopped for tea - strolled around for a bit, clambered up, and got back to sleep again. Got up by around 0450 hours, when one of the staffers was calling out for PAX alighting at DSNR - finally got off near the TV tower and took an auto home.

Had a comfortable journey on board the Vennala and SK - would prefer to travel in 1+1 A/C sleepers from now on, wherever available.
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Old 28th December 2012, 10:43   #2460
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
This was a round trip which was good only in the comfort aspects and also changed my perception about VRL.
Sorry to hear about your experience silversteed !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKMCE View Post
The bus I took last to BLR was the 11 AM VRL service from Andheri (the first Volvo) . I was promised a time of 6 AM by their authorised agent and still reached at 7 AM at Yeshwantpur, but the other one hour was due to a breakdown just after the Karnataka border. A replacement bus was arranged and still we lost only about an hour.
Same here TKMCE. I always take the first VRL volvo from Mumbai (12:00 Noon at Sion) and always have reached BLR by 6:00 AM. The earliest I have reached Rajajinagar was 5:20 AM once. Also on my return back to Mumbai, I take the first bus (1:00 PM Rajaji nagar) and have been dropped at Sion by 6:00 AM (the worst being 6:30 AM once due to a puncture), hence always have had a nice experience with VRL.

My only bad experience was in Oct 2012 when I took the 4:00 PM bus from Rajaji nagar which arrived an hour late (@ 5PM) due to traffic but was in Mumbai by 9:30 AM the next morning.
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