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Old 23rd November 2013, 08:51   #3151
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
I had ready a blog I guess of Binai about a bus journey from Rameswaram to Madurai. However on checking the net and other booking sites there seems to be no Volvo service from Madurai - Rameswaram but ready some where that STC has hourly buses starting from main bus stand at Madurai.

Please suggest a Volvo service that runs between these two places. Else please suggest the best alternative/ operator that can be taken on this route and how to book it in advance (or not).
Its too short a route to run Volvos. There aren't any Volvo services between Madurai and Rameswaram. TNSTC runs a bus every 5-10 minutes in the route - but those are the normal 2x3 "Express" buses. There are a few trains in the route - only one of them is open for reservation though. There are three passenger trains, which depart at 0625, 1150 and 1805hrs. The trains take approximately 4 hours to reach Rameswaram from Madurai.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 17:22   #3152
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There is one Vadakkenchery-Munnar at around 0645~7 from Thrissur. I had seen this bus until a year ago. Alternatively, there is a Kodungallur-Munnar service at 0650hrs, which reaches Munnar around 1130. Kodungallur is only an hour from Guruvayur, on the Ernakulam route - there are shuttle services from Guruvayur towards Kodungallur every 10~15 minutes from 0430AM until 8pm. I think it would be better to go via Kodungallur - since the Munnar service is kind of a "prestige" service for them, and it operates without fail.
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aroonanand

For Guruvayoor Munnar, best bet is to come to Trissur and see if you can get a bus directly to Kothamangalam else take a bus going via MC road towards Kottayam side and get down at Perumbavoor. The Ernakulam Munnar buses route via Alwaye-Perumbavoor -Kothamangalam, so if you can cover Trichur Kothamangalam in a single jouney that is the quickest. Don't bother going to Aluva since buses are crowded and there will be no problem getting a bus directly to Perumbavoor from Trichur. Alternately check at KeSRTC Guruvayoor, about direct buses from Guruvayoor to Perumbavoor or even Kothamangalam.
Finally completed the above trip - managed to get an extra day's leave which meant that I could travel to Munnar from Ernakulam itself. Took the 630 AM FP from Ernakulam to Munnar (the bus comes from Kollam). Started on time and reached Munnar ~11 AM. Bus was thankfully a new one and so was not a bad rattletrap which I was prepared for. Did not have too many stops outside the towns and because it was early morning, did not face too much traffic. Had a flat tyre and so the bus had to spend ~20 mins at the Kothamangalam depot to fix it.

Only irritant was the short distance travelers on a relatively medium distance route. Folks were happily getting in at Ernakulam, alighting at Aluva, boarding at Aluva and getting off at Perumbavoor etc which was irritating for those traveling from end-to-end. Not sure why this is encouraged in Kerala when there are so many short distance shuttles. (Faced the same issue on the Guruvayoor Ernakulam private bus categorized as FP - the so-called FP would have made some 40-50 stops for a 70 km leg which took 3 hours because of these stops!) TNSTC conductors / pvt operators in TN frown upon these short distance passengers on long hauls. For instance, on a Bangalore - Salem bus if you want to board at Krishnagiri and get off at Kaveripatinam, or board a Coimbatore - Madurai bus at Palani and get off at a stop 20 kms away, you will be asked to get off, unless the bus is really empty. Even on a Coimbatore - Pollachi sector, which is all of 40 kms, only folks travelling from end-to-end or atleast midway (Kinathakadavu) are encouraged to board.

And it is really sad to see the state of KeSRTC buses. When every other govt operator has luxury or non stop buses, especially for tourist destinations, KeSRTC is oblivious to all of this and uses rickety uncomfortable buses on most routes. To illustrate, going to Mysore or Ooty or Kodai (broad comparison from a tourist footfall perspective) by public transport is a breeze as you have so many Volvos or 2x2 deluxe buses. Whereas in Kerala people are still forced to commute in buses with rexine / cloth window shutters which need to be tethered to a crudely drilled nail to prevent them from falling down. Such buses have been phased out elsewhere 2 decades ago ! and NON STOP buses are as rare as rains in the Gulf ! Anyways, that is God's own country, roads and buses are in the same state as it was when God resided there


For the return to Bangalore, I was booked on the KPN AC Sleeper. Weird part: nowhere (Make my trip, KPN Website, Redbus) is it mentioned that the service is a split service where the Munnar - Udamalpet leg would be on a mini bus and the AC Sleeper starts at Udamalpet. Did not know this when I booked. SRS is the only operator to have direct buses (Non AC Sleeper) from Chennai / Bangalore to Munnar (apart from KeSRTC and KaSRTC who operate non AC buses to Blr). Anyways, the mini bus started ~15 mins late by 415 PM and reached Udamalpet by 730 PM. The AC Sleeper, which was scheduled to leave at 830 PM came in by 820 PM. Bus was new with clean berths. Left ~840 AM and was dropped off at Madiwala by 510 AM. Uneventful journey but I found the squeaks from the suspension to be excessively high for a new bus. Had a routine diesel / nature break at Salem ~1AM.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 20:10   #3153
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews



Binai, what happened to the Kallada National JV for the Mumbai route. I see the black buses (with the JV stickers still intact) in Hyderabad on most days. Tonite I saw them parked at Alwyn Junction, Miyapur at around 7.15 pm, could be Calicut, Tanjavur or Coimbatore service.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 22:26   #3154
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by aroonanand View Post
Only irritant was the short distance travelers on a relatively medium distance route. Folks were happily getting in at Ernakulam, alighting at Aluva, boarding at Aluva and getting off at Perumbavoor etc which was irritating for those traveling from end-to-end. Not sure why this is encouraged in Kerala when there are so many short distance shuttles. (Faced the same issue on the Guruvayoor Ernakulam private bus categorized as FP - the so-called FP would have made some 40-50 stops for a 70 km leg which took 3 hours because of these stops!)
Thats probably because Kerala has much higher population density compared to the other south Indian states, and hence the demand for more public transportation. Given the vehicle density on the road (which the same people never agree to widen), we cannot really increase the number of services as well. So the current services need to cater to the demands of short distance passengers as well - and irrespective of whether its a government run bus or a private bus, they end up running as 'local' buses.

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And it is really sad to see the state of KeSRTC buses. When every other govt operator has luxury or non stop buses, especially for tourist destinations, KeSRTC is oblivious to all of this and uses rickety uncomfortable buses on most routes. To illustrate, going to Mysore or Ooty or Kodai (broad comparison from a tourist footfall perspective) by public transport is a breeze as you have so many Volvos or 2x2 deluxe buses. Whereas in Kerala people are still forced to commute in buses with rexine / cloth window shutters which need to be tethered to a crudely drilled nail to prevent them from falling down. Such buses have been phased out elsewhere 2 decades ago ! and NON STOP buses are as rare as rains in the Gulf ! Anyways, that is God's own country, roads and buses are in the same state as it was when God resided there
I am afraid, Kerala SRTC has come a long way from the rexine/cloth widow curtains - they are banned by the MVD, and they cannot be used anymore. For some reason, people prefer having the shutters for the window instead of a glass window, and hence KeSRTC still uses them.

And going to a tourist destination anywhere outside Karnataka is a nightmare, no doubt. Try going from Coimbatore to Ooty or for that matter from Chennai to Ooty/Kodai - the only options you have are those rickety SETCs/TNSTCs, which are in a far far worse condition than Kerala SRTC buses.

Other than ranting, I honestly find no value in this piece of comment - really sorry for being blunt on that.

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Originally Posted by autotranny View Post
Binai, what happened to the Kallada National JV for the Mumbai route. I see the black buses (with the JV stickers still intact) in Hyderabad on most days. Tonite I saw them parked at Alwyn Junction, Miyapur at around 7.15 pm, could be Calicut, Tanjavur or Coimbatore service.
That JV is pulled off. The JV was called off in September, and since then Kallada has been using two of those buses in Hyderabad-Coimbatore route. National replaced the Kallada services using their own buses, and it was one of them that went up in flames last month.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 23:36   #3155
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
That JV is pulled off. The JV was called off in September, and since then Kallada has been using two of those buses in Hyderabad-Coimbatore route. National replaced the Kallada services using their own buses, and it was one of them that went up in flames last month.
Oh is it. Now I wonder how long they will take to pull down those stickers. Remember how long their Hyd Ekm buses use to carry the Jabbar sticker.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 23:53   #3156
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Oh is it. Now I wonder how long they will take to pull down those stickers. Remember how long their Hyd Ekm buses use to carry the Jabbar sticker.
The HYD-EKM buses had a reason to carry those stickers - because Jabbar was largely handling the ticketing out of Hyderabad till early 2013. And the Jabbar tie-up was solely about ticketing in Hyderabad, while the National one had more into operations as well - National crew were used in the Bangalore-Mumbai section, National completely handled booking out of Mumbai and so on.

Pulling out the stickers would take more time, because the ones on the paint might cause damage if they pull out in a hurry. On one of the three buses, most of the stickers are gone though.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 00:01   #3157
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Binai

Aroon has a very valid point. KeSRTC is making a mockery of its long distance services. I for one cannot understand this population density argument. I travelled from Trivandrum to Alwaye on a Trissur Super Fast a few months ago and it was torture. Bus stopped just outside the turn off of the Vytilla hub , went inside wasted 10 minutes and came out and stopped immediately at the next junction as well . Then it stopped at another 6 places before it reached Alwaye . This did not happen at midnight when there are few frequencies, but instead between 4 and 5 PM when there are a lot of short distance buses running Finally it took 7.30 hours to cover 240 kms between Trivandrum and Alwaye.

Also why is that Aluva Parur a distance of 20 odd Kms has a lot of town to town ordinary busses not stopping anywhere while Ernakulum Munnar has 20 times the number in terms of intermediate stops and that too on a FP??? If anything, population density is lot lower between Ernakulam and Munnar compared to between Ernakulam and Parur.

I have been travelling these KeSRTC buses for the past 30 + years. In the 1980s a Super Fast had stops after it left Trivandrum bus statipm only at Palayam and Ulloor (designated pick up points), stopped at one intermediate town at Attingal before it reached Quilon. Now it has designated stopping points around 8-10 other places. And imagine the plight of someone who travels in a Trivandrum Managalore Super Fast which travels nearly 650 Km if the first 70 KM itself has 10 stopping points???
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Old 3rd December 2013, 00:22   #3158
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by TKMCE View Post
I have been travelling these KeSRTC buses for the past 30 + years. In the 1980s a Super Fast had stops after it left Trivandrum bus statipm only at Palayam and Ulloor (designated pick up points), stopped at one intermediate town at Attingal before it reached Quilon. Now it has designated stopping points around 8-10 other places. And imagine the plight of someone who travels in a Trivandrum Managalore Super Fast which travels nearly 650 Km if the first 70 KM itself has 10 stopping points???
totally agree... but the "white elephant" corporation is in such a sorry state (in fact, in an abyss, out of which there seems to be no way out) , that any kind of revenue is welcome. I remember days when an almost empty 'ordinary' would not stop around 9-9:30pm in the night at a non-designated stop even if you try to flag it down with your hand some 5-6km away from the last terminating bus stand. Nowadays, even super fast buses will stop anywhere, if there are 2-3 people to flag it down.

Lets take a moment to reflect on the context :
- high population density
- road network penetration
- least urban/rural divide in india
=> the above creates an extremely conducive environment for a govt owned transport corporation to flourish. Now you can imagine the degree of mismanagement, malpractice & corruption that would have occurred, to totally invert the situation and make this into one of the biggest liabilities for the tax paying public.
extremely tragic
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Old 3rd December 2013, 09:45   #3159
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Lets take a moment to reflect on the context :
- high population density
- road network penetration
- least urban/rural divide in india
=> the above creates an extremely conducive environment for a govt owned transport corporation to flourish. Now you can imagine the degree of mismanagement, malpractice & corruption that would have occurred, to totally invert the situation and make this into one of the biggest liabilities for the tax paying public.
extremely tragic
Apart from this, we have a bunch of politicians who think allotting new stops in various parts of their constituency is their biggest contribution to mankind. Take Malappuram for example, whenever IUML has a role in the Government you can see KSRTC SF,LS,FP stops mutiplying. Sometimes, I even think that there is no mechanism to decide a stop. Anyone with muscle power and a can of paint can re-designate their closest bus stop as an LS,SF,FP Bus Stop.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 13:33   #3160
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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And going to a tourist destination anywhere outside Karnataka is a nightmare, no doubt. Try going from Coimbatore to Ooty or for that matter from Chennai to Ooty/Kodai - the only options you have are those rickety SETCs/TNSTCs, which are in a far far worse condition than Kerala SRTC buses.

Other than ranting, I honestly find no value in this piece of comment

NOM, but you do have a very good sense of humour mate, this statement really made my day ! C'mon, you really should spend some time one day on Hosur road / Shanthi Nagar bus stand as you are in Bangalore between 7-8 PM and count the number of SETC Ultra Deluxe buses (practically a deluxe service from Blr to TN every 5 minutes) which pass this route. Am reasonably sure KeSRTC does not have that many super deluxe buses in its entire fleet. Why Bangalore, go to the Ernakulam depot in the evening and you'll see more SETC / TNSTC Ultra Deluxes (to Salem, Chennai, Tuticorin, Thirunelveli, Coimbatore etc) parked there than KeSRTC deluxe buses. Why do KeSRTC buses don't have access to the Shanthi Nagar terminus in Bangalore? Because they do not have enough premium services to dedicate bays for them. Apart from 1-2 schedules each to Bangalore from the large cities in Kerala, KeSRTC has practically no deluxe services intra state.

Whilst Karnataka and AP are far ahead with a large Volvo / AC fleet, atleast TNSTC / SETC have 2x2 Ultra Deluxe schedules between any 2 large towns within TN such as Chennai - Pondy, Chennai - Coimbatore, Chennai - Trichy, CBE - Salem, CBE - Madurai, Salem - Thirunelveli to name a few over and above the amazing connectivity from any large town in TN to Bangalore and decent connectivity from most large towns in TN (Salem, CBE, Madurai, Trichy) to Kochi, Trivandrum, Guruvayoor, Mysore, Tirupati etc.

And this is over and above the fantastic connectivity of normal intra-state buses, which include plenty of NON STOP services between any 2 large towns. Eg. you can do a 70 km Nagercoil - Thirunelveli stretch in under 75 mins on a normal TNSTC "End to End" Service. Likewise with CBE - Erode or Madurai - Trichy or Tuticorin - Thirunelveli. Same distance in Kerala will take you a good 2-2 1/2 hours !

Show me such frequent deluxe / NON STOP schedules in Kerala with stats mate and I will agree to your view! Only option one has in Kerala is to board the red rattletraps with pseudo categories like Super Fast / Fast Passenger / LS which stop every 10 minutes with utter disregard to the comfort / convenience of long distance passengers.

Call my statement ranting or whatever, but what I have stated is facts and facts do not change !
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Old 3rd December 2013, 14:35   #3161
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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And this is over and above the fantastic connectivity of normal intra-state buses, which include plenty of NON STOP services between any 2 large towns. Eg. you can do a 70 km Nagercoil - Thirunelveli stretch in under 75 mins on a normal TNSTC "End to End" Service. Likewise with CBE - Erode or Madurai - Trichy or Tuticorin - Thirunelveli. Same distance in Kerala will take you a good 2-2 1/2 hours !
I don't think its fair to compare Kerala with other states. I would like to call Kerala a big city than a State. Unlike other states, Kerala roads are crowded everywhere.

KeSRTC buses take at least one hour less on Salem-Bangalore/ Salem - Coimbatore routes compared to TN and KA buses. Isn't it?

Just for clarity, Is there a route where KeSRTC is slower than TNSTC or KaSRTC where both exists?

Nagarcoil - Trivandrum?
Coimbatore - Palakkad? or any other?

Kerala roads are narrow and every town is major town. Driving anything above 60kmph is suicidal. Ernakulam - Trichur used to take more than 2.5 hours earlier but its just 1.5 hours or less for some buses after the four lane is completed.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 19:12   #3162
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The issue here is simple . Is KeSRTC bothered about long distance passengers at all nowadays???

Let me list the stoppages for Trivandrum Ernakulam and Trivandrum Kottayam for the Express Busses when I started travelling in the mid 1980s

Trivandrum Ernakulam had stops at Attingal, Kollam, Karunagapally, Kayamkulam, Harripad, Alleppy and Cherthala. (7 intermediate stops for 220 kms)

Trivandrum to Kottayam had stops at Kilimanoor, Kottarakara, Adoor , Pandalam, Chenganur, Thiruvalla and Changanacherry (7 stops for 160 kms).

Situation now- multiply by a factor of 4 or 5 to get the stoppages for the same distance.


Population density....You know!!!!
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Old 3rd December 2013, 21:01   #3163
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Whatever said and done KeSRTC is anyday faster than both KaSRTC or SETC in the same routes that they run. Also I feel that even thought KeSRTC still follows their old design language, they are not rattle traps like SETC.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 23:52   #3164
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I think some of you are missing the point here which aroonanand is trying to say . It more or less comes down to this - how efficient Kerala SRTC is for medium to long distance travel WITHIN Kerala. KeSRTC is very efficient out of Bangalore, two computerised booking counters (Majestic/Satellite), as I understand (I haven't used them) a more or less bug free booking engine and am extensive route network of which a good percentage is operated by the 2 x 2 Air suspension buses.I myself was a big fan of the old Tata Globus AC service between Bangalore and Trichur and later shifted to the Tiruvalla Super Deluxe.

BUT... the point here is KSRTC is not run mainly for Bangalore Malayalees. There is a HUGE volume of people who prefer to travel Medium to long haul (let us say from 4 to upto 12 hours or more ) within Kerala. This is the segment where such travellers feel cheated by KeSRTC. While every second or third service out of Bangalore is on a 2 x 2 push back, the total number of these buses on routes within Kerala is pathetic (negligible you can say). Yes there are these green coloured EXPRESS buses 2 x 3 configuration and at one time in the 1970s and 1980s the pride of the long haul fleet . They killed this service by allowing Standees and increasing multifold the number of stops and these buses either then or now were anyway not designed for the comfort of the passengers. It was not for nothing that in one well publicised incident, a couple of gentlemen reserved 3 seats each well in advance for a Sunday evening on a Trissur Bangalore Express service (which replaced the Globus AC service) and outright refused to surrender even one of their seats in a packed bus and stretched out in comfort to sleep while others had to stand (standees - on a long distance KESRTC interstate bus...oops how can I forget ... population density


I am not elaborating any further other than to say Bangalore Mysore or Chennai Pondicherry on KaSRTC or SETC is a breeze while Trivandrum Ernakulam or Trivandrum Kottayam is a torture by KeSRTC!!!!
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Old 8th December 2013, 23:25   #3165
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Not sure if this was posted here..

http://www.busindia.com/busindia2/home

India's largest bus ticket reservation system promoted by Gov Of India, covering multiple states.
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