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Old 11th February 2014, 17:40   #3211
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Did a quick trip to Kannur over the weekend.

Left on Saturday, February 8, 2014, by Golden Travels Volvo B7R. I had blocked a seat on this bus long back through Friends Travels. Went to their office, paid up and took the ticket. The bus was parked at the old petrol pump right next door. We left from Madiwala at 2108hrs (Scheduled time was 2045hrs). The bus was KA-01-AC-4893. They were playing an FM station until we reached Kalasipalya (2134hrs). The bus filled up here, and loads of luggage was loaded. Ticket checking took place here – my ticket slip was taken and a boarding pass was issued instead. We left from here at 2159hrs. They played a movie now – it was a “not-so-old” Vijay starring Tamil movie. It was played at a very high volume – It did not let me sleep. We passed Mysore at around 0015hrs (the bus did not enter the city, but took the outer ring road). The movie got over at around 0045 – and somehow caught up with some sleep. Just then the bus pulled in for a break at Cafe County near Hunsur (0120hrs) – this place is now owned by a famous hotel brand based in Kannur. We started off after break at 0152 – after this, I had one of my best ever sleeps in a bus. Slept undisturbed, and woke up only when my co-passenger shouted on his phone was we reached “mele chovva”. Oh! We were in Kannur already! I got off the seat as the bus started from Caltex – I was dropped outside the New Bus Station, Kannur at 0538hrs – perfectly on time! The bus was maintained in pristine shape – it had about 96K kms, but no squeaks, no rattles. AC was maintained at perfect temperature. 8h30m from Madiwala to Kannur! Great timings! Will surely recommend this service!
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Return was on February 9, 2014, by Karnataka State RTC Airavat B7R. I had booked this ticket exactly 30 days in advance – and selected a seat on the right side of the bus (I normally prefer seats on the right side) – but understood the folly only on the day of my trip! In the newer B7Rs, there is an emergency door on the right side – and this door actually reduces the leg space for the seats on the right side. The trip code was 2031CNRBNG, with scheduled departure at 2031hrs. I got the reminder message with the bus number and crew phone number at 1950hrs, then again at 2010 and once more at 2014hrs. The message said the bus was “KA-8453”. The bus was brought to the platform at 1958 – but the bus was KA-01-F-8526 of Bangalore Depot-4. The bus was fully reserved. We left at 2034hrs. Next stop was Thalassery (2108hrs), then Koothuparamba (2140hrs). The last pick-up was at Iritty (2224hrs) – the bus was now full. No movies/songs were played. I had a nice sleep after Iritty. Was woken up by the bad roads after Gonikoppa. We stopped for a break at a place called Muddanahalli (0053hrs) – it was a small roadside eatery. We left at 0115hrs. I slept off again now – did not realise anything, till the conductor called out “Majestic” – it was 0454hrs – 24 minutes late. Some 10-15 pax got off here – the remaining were continuing. The bus finally terminated at Shantinagar bus station, at 0505hrs – 25 minutes late. The end-to-end running time was 8h31m – still great timings! The leg space was awful – awful would be an understatement. It was tight. Please avoid right side seats if you book on a KSRTC Airavat. This service is a good choice as well!
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Last edited by binaiks : 11th February 2014 at 17:41.
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Old 18th February 2014, 18:41   #3212
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

My first experience in the SCANIA Metrolink HD 14.5M Coach!

Ever since the Scania was commercially launched, I badly wanted to make a ride. The opportunity came by chance last week. I had to go to Kottayam for a marriage, and while thinking of options for returning to Bangalore, I chanced upon this crazy idea of catching the KPN Scania from Madurai/Dindigul. I surveyed the route maps and understood that Dindigul would be easier and will also give be some buffer time.

I made it a point to leave Kottayam quite early - started off at 1250 in a KeSRTC Limited Stop Ordinary bus to Kumily (it was a 183-hp EDC Ashok Leyland bus). The journey to Kumily through the winding KK Road took about 3:30hrs, reaching Kumily around 16:20 or so. After a quick refreshment, I headed out to the Tamil Nadu side. While walking to the border, I saw a PRTC bus coming in, working Pondicherry-Kumily. It just entered the bus station on the Kerala side, turned around, and headed back to TN side. (For the uninitiated, the state border is right next to the bus station).

The stickers on the bus read that it would go to Dindigul (the route was mentioned as Kumily-Cumbum-Theni-Dindigul-Trichy-Cuddalore-Pondicherry) - so headed to the conductor as asked the departure time - he first asked me where was I headed to. When I told my destination, he said they leave at 1715, and ETA at Dindigul was 2100hrs. I got in and took a seat - we still had over 45 minutes to go. In the meantime, I booked a ticket for the Scania - was a bit worried since I cannot take a Printout, and had seen KPN guys making a scene over printouts earlier. The bus started off exactly at 1715 and he dropped me at Dindigul dot at 2100hrs. After wasting some time at the bus station and having my dinner, I headed off to the KPN pick-up point on Palani bypass in an Auto. I was at the office at around 2230hrs, for a bus that departs at 2345hrs.

In the meantime, KPN sent me a reminder with the registration number of the bus. The message said that my bus leaves at 2300hrs. The office is basically a dusty shop on the bypass - they've put in some benches inside. There were no staff at the office - just a notice on the wall asking passengers to call their Dindigul office if one wanted something! There were 2-3 more passengers sitting there - I too joined them. Used the sole power plug at the office to re-charge my phone - it was almost dead by then. A couple of KPN buses came in the meantime - one Volvo multiaxle and one AC Sleeper (both headed to Bangalore). No other operator seemed to have a pick up anywhere nearby.

There was no sign of the bus even as the clock ticked past 2345hrs (the departure time according to my ticket). Sometime around 0000hrs, I saw this bus with low headlights coming - Yippee! That was my bus! KA-51-B-9992 - the red coloured Scania Metrolink HD 14.5M. The bus came and stopped - I was so excited that I was the first to get into the bus - did not even wait for the checker to come. He called me and asked for my ticket - I showed him the message - he wrote down the "PIN" number from the message onto their "Boarding chart". I headed straight to my seat - R16 (a window seat on the right side in the 8th row of the bus). The bus has 12 rows of seats, and the last row has a berth for the second driver.

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The bus started off at 0003hrs - 18 minutes late. As the bus started off, it made a very heavy disturbing noise - somewhat like a water pump starting. The noise was disturbing till the third gear. The gear shift was quicker and appeared to have lesser lag than the Volvo iShift. The Scania comes with an 8-speed Opticruise Automated Manual Transmission. The AC was chilling - the AC vents had very little range - it swivels around only to a very small angle - may be 3* from its stable line. Its too less. The console that houses the AC vents look classy though. I couldn't figure out how to shut the AC vent till much later.

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The seats were amazing - it felt a bit better than the Volvo ones. Volvo uses a seat called "Harita VFX", which was designed by Volvo in collaboration with Harita. Those seats are exclusive to Volvo. In case of Scania, the seats were branded as "Harita HS-DX" - which are, reportedly, designed by Scania themselves. The seats had proper support and it was quite comfortable. The window sills/base is quite high - its above the hand rest (in case of the Volvo, its below the hand rest, while in the Mercedes its at the same height as the hand rest).

Coming to the ride - it was good. I did not feel it was any different from a Volvo/Mercedes. I cannot comment on it unless I get a taste of it on somewhat bad roads. The bus gets quieter as it picks speed - the engine noise isn't very intrusive beyond 4th gear. The bus picked pace quite easily (afterall, we are talking of a 410hp engine). The bus is speed locked at 85kmph. I slept quite well, and woke up only when the bus stopped at Salem (rather, woke up just as the bus was starting from Salem) - it was around 0229 then.

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The interior lighting is great. The lights are installed on the overhead racks. The night lamps are installed on the roofhatches - they were a bit too bright though - but not intrusive as the ones in Volvos. I slept off again, and woke up only as we reached Electronic City. I got off at Bommanahalli, at 0559hrs.

Some points noted:
1. The bus was noisy at Gear 1-3, beyond that its silent.
2. Its DEAD SILENT inside when the bus is idle. Remember I was in the 5th row from the back.
3. Lighting is great - when only the night lamps are on, its fairly dark inside. The bus also has "dim" lighting - where blue LEDs glow below each tubelight. That is bright enough for one to walk through without tripping anywhere, but dark enough not to be too intrusive.
4. Ride - no comments until I try it once again. The first experience was good.
5. The driver was impressed with the machine - he was all praises for it. I stood in the cabin from Electronic City to Bommanahalli - the bus does not throw you around when decelerating or accelerating - you can stand quite comfortably. There are enough grab rails as well in the cabin.
6. The retarder - its really effective. I did not slide off my seat even once. It is a bit noisy (like the Mercedes), but really effective.
7. The closing mechanism of the air vents are a bit tricky - it will take some time before people discover how it works. You need to turn a ring on the base of the blower (unlike the Volvo where the ring is on the vent itself, or the Mercedes which shuts close). The ring is the textured portion around the air vent in the image above.
8. The door swings outwards - not in-swing like the Volvo/Mercedes. It actually increased the moving space for passengers inside the cabin - getting in/off the bus with bag is much easier now.
9. The gangway width seemed similar to the Volvo.

Overall - its surely a better package! I am waiting for one more ride on it (preferably a day ride) to get more idea of some stuff that I might have missed out in this ride.

(Some pics are from my archives)
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Old 20th February 2014, 13:38   #3213
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Once in late December, on my drive back from Ernakulam, I had seen these buses. I guess they had not started their operations then.
Is KPN the only operator using SCANIA in the south? Which route are they operating? Blr-Madurai? Any idea if KaSRTC has any plans to get these in their fleet?

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Old 7th March 2014, 10:43   #3214
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Travelling from Ernakulam to Munnar

Did a qiuck day trip (from Aluva) and here are my observations

a The most comfortable way is to take a KeSRTC JnURM volvo between Ernakulam and Kothamangalam. There are two services between 5 and 6 AM from Ernakulam . This takes you half way there and is hardly crowded at that time. Journey time should be around 2 hours.

b Get down at the Kothamangalam Private Bus stand (before the KeSRTC bus stand). There are private and KeSRTC buses which you can catch to Munnar from here. Most KeSRTC buses are the ones originating from Trivandrum, Ernakulam or Kottayam. All of them touch the private bus stand and then continue to the KeSRTC one a km ir so further up.

c There is hardly any difference in the running time between the Super Fast or Super Express and the Ordinary servcies as the journey is uphill and most ordinary services are Fare Stage Limites Stop Services. So do not waste time waiting for a Super Fast or Super Express. Even Private services are fairly quick.

d When coming from Kothamangalam, the KeSRTC bus stand at Munnar is before the town. Do not get out here but continue to the town. The last stop is at the Taxi Stand in town. There is an updated time table displayed there of all private and KeSRTC services.

e As far as inter stae services go, I saw a KeSRTC Munnar Bangalore Super Deluxe, a KaSRTC Rajahamsa and two SRS sleeper buses parked there. There was also a Palani Fast Passenger passing by (not sure where it originated) and also there was a Munnar Udumalpet oridinary bus of KeSRTC parked in the garage.

f There are buses to Kumily and Devikulam but these ere are not very frequent. Try to check the timing in advance (Devikulam buses are the more frequent of the two)
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Old 8th March 2014, 12:53   #3215
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My sister traveled from Cochin to Bangalore on 5th. She had a meeting at 10 am and locally checked with Kallada office for a bus reaching Bangalore at ~ 6am. They booked a bus leaving Cochin at 8.30 pm and told her that it will reach Bangalore before 6.30am.

They booked B11R but a B9R came at 8.45 pm and left Cochin only by 9.20 pm. Had a dinner break and morning tea break at Hotel Mangalam, Krishnagiri. The driver was in a picnic mood and never went fast, even after passengers complained.

Finally, reached Electronics City toll at 8.40 am. I understand from their website that this is the first Kallada from Ernakulam after their 4.30 pm Hyderabad service.

This service may be suitable for those on leisure trip. After being late for the meeting, she will try to avoid this service in future.
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Old 10th March 2014, 12:30   #3216
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For a few years I was trying my luck with "earlliest arrival at Bangalore from Aluva" and for me Bangalore was NOT Madivala/Silkboard either but Majestic/Kalasipalayam.

The only service which atleast got me to Majestic by 7.30 AM at the latest (6 AM at the earliest) was the KaSRTC Mercedes Benz (1828 service). And despite the local travel agents at Aluva trying to scare you off with horror stories of KaSRTC buses zooming past without stopping and thus encouraging you to book the Private operators, KaSRTC has a boarding point at Aluva and I never had an issue with buses not stoppping.

Interestingly slightly OT, it is not only buses which doesnt stop at intermediate pick up points, it happens to trains too. As per a report in Malayala Manorama, a few days back passengers waiting to board the Kochu Veli - Bangalore Garib Rath at Aluva could only watch in amzement as the train zipped past without stopping as the station staff apparently did not give the proper signal. Finally the train was held at Chalakkudy for half an hour while the booked passengers were sent on the following train (The Trivandrum Guruvayur Intercity).
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Old 11th March 2014, 18:18   #3217
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Saw pictures of KeSRTC Multi axle volvos in KSRTC blog. How many such were received by KeSRTC? Any idea about the routes and the numbers that they will be getting?
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Old 11th March 2014, 18:24   #3218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhandapanik View Post
Saw pictures of KeSRTC Multi axle volvos in KSRTC blog. How many such were received by KeSRTC? Any idea about the routes and the numbers that they will be getting?
Ten. KeSRTC has ordered ten of them.

Routes and other details are being strictly kept under wraps - for some reason, like never before, they have been keeping everything secret.

About the numbers - I think they should be getting RS779 onwards - hope they give these buses some good looking numbers. Registration numbers would probably be KL-15-A-271 onwards (the last spotted bus was registered as KL-15-A-270 - no buses have gone for registration after that).
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Old 14th March 2014, 16:36   #3219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
Did a quick trip to Kannur over the weekend.

Left on Saturday, February 8, 2014, by Golden Travels Volvo B7R. We left from Madiwala at 2108hrs (Scheduled time was 2045hrs). The bus was KA-01-AC-4893. I was dropped outside the New Bus Station, Kannur at 0538hrs – perfectly on time! The bus was maintained in pristine shape – it had about 96K kms, but no squeaks, no rattles. AC was maintained at perfect temperature. 8h30m from Madiwala to Kannur! Great timings! Will surely recommend this service!
Hi Binai, Quick question - does this service entail change of bus at Kalasipayalam? I had earlier travelled Golden's Non AC on the Blr - Kannur route and at that time, many pvt operators to Kerala had this practice of picking up passengers from across Bangalore, getting them to Kalasipalayam and then getting them to board the respective buses to the destination there.

Am looking at booking tickets to Kannur for my parents and do not want a scenario where they have to deboard at Kalasipalayam, unload and reload luggage into a different bus and then board. Madiwala works better as a location instead of Shanti Nagar and hence inclined to book on this one.

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Old 14th March 2014, 16:40   #3220
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Hi Binai, Quick question - does this service entail change of bus at Kalasipayalam?
No. The Volvo picks up pax from madiwala. There is no need to change buses.
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Old 17th March 2014, 14:58   #3221
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Police arrest drunk driver, avert tragedy
Quote:
According to the police, Alagan, the driver of the luxury bus belonging to Bharti Transport, was heavily drunk when they stopped the bus for checking at around 12.30 am near the Madiwala police station junction. The breath analyser result showed that blood alcohol concentration in Alagan was 198 per cent, while the legally permissible range is a mere 0.3 per cent. What was more shocking was that he was driving the Chennai-bound bus with 36 passengers on board, the police said.
Intercity Bus travel reviews-1836856_641874812544896_975682621_o.jpg

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Old 17th March 2014, 21:55   #3222
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Did a round trip to Tirupathi over the weekend in KaSRTC . Onward journey was in a Volvo multi axle. There seemed to be some problem with the rear axle. There was a constant rhythmic vibration felt throughout the journey. Pretty irritating.

Coming back it was on a Merc multi axle. Bus was old but well maintained. No vibrations and the ride was smooth.

I felt Merc to have a tauter suspension than Volvo. And I liked it. Volvo was more cushy but at the same time wallowy. Merc was bit stiff and the ride was flatter.
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Old 26th March 2014, 23:26   #3223
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Planning on taking a volvo to mumbai. Wondering which one to take.. Have to go till Andheri . Looks like the KSRTC volvos don't go that far.

Would it be possible to take a evening bus that reaches Mumbai before noon. Also, do these buses have regular breaks (atleast once every 4 hours) or they stop only for dinner and breakfast.
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Old 27th March 2014, 01:07   #3224
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Incidentally my wife traveled on this bus. From the pics ,I am not able to conclude if he was the same driver who was at the wheels when it arrived at Indiranagar before proceeding to Madiwala. To be honest I couldn't guess he was drunk after the brief interaction I had, if he was the same guy. After multiple delays, they finally started the bus pretty late. According to her it was around 3 already when they were in Hosur, though I am not sure if that's the case and don't want to think that's the case as it reached chennai by 6.30 in the morning.
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Old 27th March 2014, 07:16   #3225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odyssey045
Planning on taking a volvo to mumbai. Wondering which one to take.. Have to go till Andheri . Looks like the KSRTC volvos don't go that far.

Would it be possible to take a evening bus that reaches Mumbai before noon. Also, do these buses have regular breaks (atleast once every 4 hours) or they stop only for dinner and breakfast.
SRS got dairly decent reviews these days and they usually stop for dinner breakfast etc, not every 4 hours.

Don't know if any services directly take you to Andheri.
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