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Old 9th August 2010, 12:55   #481
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Guys want to know your response on introducing a A/C bus between Blr - Mundakayam via kanjirapally,pala,todupuzha. Will it be good on this route ?
Isnt this the same route Shama had their Volvo which was then taken off?
Currently, Sharma operates a non A/C bus on the same route, which seems to be doing fine. I am not sure of how many converts the A/C would be able to bring about. However, among my relatives who use this bus quite frequently, i think we may opt for the A/c if available.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 13:10   #482
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I happened to travel between Bangalore and Trichur by Kerala SRTC's 2300 "BLR-TCR Super Deluxe Air Bus" which is how the service is advertised in their website.

Here is a trip summary

1 AVOID AT ALL COST if your destination is Trichur or beyond. In my case the destination was beyond Alwaye. However I was a couple of days late in booking (the travel was on the Friday before Onam), hence my preferred buses (the 1930 and 2000 AC buses to Trichir via Salem) with which I have never had any complaints were booked out within in hour on the first day. This 2300 hrs service which is via Gudallur and Nilambur is only of use for people travelling to Nilambur or at worst Perinthalmana. The arrival at Trichur was given as a hopeful 11 AM by the KeSRTC Majestic guys but finally was at 1 PM (a gruelling 14 hour journey time).

2 The bus routes via Gudallur so is hit by the ban on night traffic via Bandipur. So there a 2 hour enforced night halt till 6 AM on the outskirts of Mudumalai/Bandipur. However as soon as the road opens the getaway is quick since unlike the Battery/Kalpetta route there is not much traffic which uses this route overnight.

3 The real problem is in the stretch between Nilambur and Chreuthuruthy via Wandoor/Perinthalmanna and Pattambi. The road conditions have deteorated badly since I travelled last, road works are going on and there are atleast three railways gates all of which were closed when we reached and added to the agony.

4 The "super deluxe air bus" which operates this services can be called so only if you have a rather fertile imagination and/or a wonderful sense of humour. "Air bus" means "Airy Bus" as the big glass windows allows plenty of ventilation but is not defintely "air suspension" as many of us more mechanically inclined may tend to believe. There is lots of space, bus seats only 38 (as opposed to 44 in Globus or 50 + in Volvos). Lots of space for luggage (most big bags will not fit in the luggage rack but fit under the seats without a problem) and leg room and seat recline are fabulous. But the suspension and the quality of the ride coupled with the bad roads (and driving which makes it even worse) means you really get a "never again -unforgettable -experience".

5 When these "super deluxe" buses were first introduced way back in the late 1980s/early 1990s by KeSRTC they were indeed Super Deluxe in terms of comfort compared to the other rattle traps which were the alternatives. Noow this is no longer the case with these buses. There was a heavy drizzle through out the journey and the fit and finish was so wonderful it meant that if the drizzle gets even slightly more heavier KeSRTC can advertise these services with a byline "experience the monsoon with KeSRTC "


One final word of advice. If indeed all your quicker alternatives are booked out , rather than choosing this 2300 rattle trap (oops - SUPER DELUXE AIR BUS), go for the 2330 Tata Globus AC service to Ernakulam via Mysore Calicut and Trichur. The distance is more, the fare is also more but atleast the bus is better and you will not loose much time and may even quicker than the "Nilambur scrap heap"! I have seen this bus reach Ernakulam Bus Station at 1430 despite the 1130 Dep from Bangalore and the long routing.

Thank god I got the reservatons on my regular 2100 Globus back. No way can I stand another doze of this super deluxe hell!

Last edited by TKMCE : 23rd August 2010 at 13:15.
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Old 24th August 2010, 11:20   #483
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Its better to take a Coimbatore bus in case, there are no direct buses available to Kerala instead of traveling via Mysore.
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Old 24th August 2010, 11:51   #484
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Its better to take a Coimbatore bus in case, there are no direct buses available to Kerala instead of traveling via Mysore.
Exactly! There are enough buses from Coimbatore to Kerala (there is one every 10 minutes to Palakkad). If there isn't much luggage to carry, changing over at Coimbatore is a safe bet. However, if you have lots of baggage, stick to a direct bus.
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Old 24th August 2010, 13:30   #485
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I had luggage that is why I opted for the direct bus. Bus hopping via CJB is fine if you dont have luggage (but is again tedious). As I said earlier I should have stuck to the 23:30 EKM AC Globus which also had seats available when I booked since it would have meant I remained in the same bus throughout and reached earlier as well. Incidentally the bus I boarded from TCR to Alwaye - one of the local FPs running betweern Ernakulam and Trichur broke down with a punctured tyre about 10 km before Angamaly and it took 2-1/2 hours for me to reach Alwaye from Trichur.

This time the traffic in Kerala was even more than normal during Onam and the dug up routes and the unseasonal rains made it worse. There are huge traffic jams everywhere. But all the same Onam is Onam and the crowds are part of the fun.

Last edited by TKMCE : 24th August 2010 at 13:32.
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Old 27th August 2010, 23:07   #486
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Guys, I'm taking a Mumbai- Kottayam trip starting on 28th aug at 6:30 pm on a volvo multiaxle operated by Sharma transports to bangalore and then taking the connection bus to Kottayam which is a volvo B7R also operated by Sharma transports at 7:30pm on 29 aug. I'm expecting to get about 4 hours break at sharma transports depot at kalasipalayam.

Please advice me on the food availability and the kind of places they stop at for food.
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Old 28th August 2010, 08:23   #487
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Nostalgia- I used to do these long haul Kerala to Pune trips quite regularly about 20 years back on Sharma . No Volvos then , so it used to take about 20-22 hours between Bangalore -Pune and 12 hours to Ernakulam. Had also done the trip between BLR and Pune on Sharma on one of the first volvos ls to be introduced in South India around 10 years back.

Since you have a 18:30 dep from BOM, break for food will be wither in the food plazas on the PNQ expressway near Lonavla or at Hotel Natraj at Katraj on the outskirts of PNQ. Both places used to be decent and fairly clean when I used to travel. Breakfast is likely to be at Belgaum. The outlet where they used to stop for Dinner (most of my trips were in the other direction) was a clean vegetarian place attached to a hotel which was very good.

On the Bangalore Kottayam trip, be warned. The place where Sharma (and virtually everyone else stops) is a RIP OFF place near the outskirts of Krishnagiri (which is 2-3 hours from BLR depending on traffic. The place is spacious but the facilities are not too great and the prices are exhorbitant. Anything and everything which is branded (Bottled water/Snacks/Soft drinks) is a flat 5-10 Rs above MRP in most cases. Reason given by staff if anyonme argues is that the place is in the suburbs which while theoretically true is one big nonsense since the hotel is just outside Krishnagiri, a biggish town and also on the road which links both Coimbatore and Chennai to BLR and hence clearly in the delivery area of virtually every company. The profits these guys makes are exhorbitant and sadly hardly anyone bothers to question (most of the bus travellers in the route are only too keen to flaunt their wealth, no wonder the locals in BLR are getting increasingly irritated with the IT yuppies - my opinion). Any questions to the hotel staff will be replied with the choicest abuses , so dont bother. If you are concerned with these practices, then stock up on snacks, water and softdrinks from shops in Kalasipalayam before departure. There is a kiosk in the Sharma transport office which sells these at MRP or there are a few other places nearby as well. There are also atleast two good restaurants nearby, one Vegetarian and the cleanest Non Veg place is just opposite the Sharma office but is primarily an Andhra place. Most other restaurants are dodgy and not recommended.

One other thing - Sharma depot is a clean place and you can wait inside. They have a sort of small hall where they will announce the buses and point you to the right one.

Do post back on this forum how your trip went. Nowadays hardly anyone does these type of longhauls any more and it will be good to get some feedback. The last longhauls I did was five years back when I made a couple of Hyderabad-Trivandrum trips but that involved a 6-8 hour break in BLR during which I used to hire a cheapo room for the day. But it was still bettter than take the Sabari Express train from HYD which used to take a torturous 30 hours. Now I understand Kesineni has a direct HYD-Coimbatore Volvo which makes the trip to Kerala even shorter.

I think it is a good idea to start something similar to the "Seat 61" wbesite, but for travel in buses in India

Last edited by TKMCE : 28th August 2010 at 08:27.
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Old 28th August 2010, 16:31   #488
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I had a trip from Chennai - Bangalore in this bus.
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This was a relatively new bus.I was told its only 10days old.
Entry was a 5 step.Instrument cluster was simple and neat.Though it was not a showstopper, low cost manufacturing was visible.
Seats was comfy but still the under thigh support could have been better.
Ride was a not that good and felt that it could have been better.
There was a storage compartment beneath the passenger deck like volvo.
Engine noise was less heard outside compared to Volvo but interior it was heard more than VOlvo. NVH materials to be improved.
LCD TV was positioned in the driver compartment area and was much smaller.
Trim parts was relatively good and nothing odd things to quote about it.
Over all experience was "Good"
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Old 28th August 2010, 16:50   #489
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Originally Posted by conjon View Post
Guys, I'm taking a Mumbai- Kottayam trip starting on 28th aug at 6:30 pm on a volvo multiaxle operated by Sharma transports to bangalore and then taking the connection bus to Kottayam which is a volvo B7R also operated by Sharma transports at 7:30pm on 29 aug. I'm expecting to get about 4 hours break at sharma transports depot at kalasipalayam.

Please advice me on the food availability and the kind of places they stop at for food.
I don't think they stop at a good place for food. If comfortable for an early dinner, go to Madiwala, get food from any restaurants (Even Kerala restaurants) and then board bus at 7.15pm.
You can also ask for the next Volvo at about 8:15pm by which you won't reach so early at Kottayam

Last edited by coolclouds : 28th August 2010 at 16:53.
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Old 28th August 2010, 18:13   #490
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Please advice me on the food availability and the kind of places they stop at for food.
I am not sure of the Mumbai-B'lore leg, but the hotel where these buses stop in the Bangalore-Kerala leg is horrible. It would be better to either have food before starting off or may be pack food from a better place elsewhere. Given your early departure, carrying packed food would be a good idea.
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Old 29th August 2010, 00:06   #491
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On the Bangalore Kottayam trip, be warned. The place where Sharma (and virtually everyone else stops) is a RIP OFF place near the outskirts of Krishnagiri (which is 2-3 hours from BLR depending on traffic. The place is spacious but the facilities are not too great and the prices are exhorbitant. Anything and everything which is branded (Bottled water/Snacks/Soft drinks) is a flat 5-10 Rs above MRP in most cases. Reason given by staff if anyonme argues is that the place is in the suburbs which while theoretically true is one big nonsense since the hotel is just outside Krishnagiri, a biggish town and also on the road which links both Coimbatore and Chennai to BLR and hence clearly in the delivery area of virtually every company. The profits these guys makes are exhorbitant and sadly hardly anyone bothers to question (most of the bus travellers in the route are only too keen to flaunt their wealth, no wonder the locals in BLR are getting increasingly irritated with the IT yuppies - my opinion). Any questions to the hotel staff will be replied with the choicest abuses , so dont bother. If you are concerned with these practices, then stock up on snacks, water and softdrinks from shops in Kalasipalayam before departure.
I totally agree with the above. I pesonally avoid having any food at this place, and ensure that i have my dinner from Kairali or some other restaurant at Madiwala before boarding the bus. The only reason i get down when the bus stops at this place is to stretch my legs, and also use the restroom, which in itself is another horrible experience!
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Old 21st September 2010, 13:03   #492
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Angry Hyderabad - Chennai: Avoid OMER

Avoid OMER travels at all costs on all routes - I had a bad experience with them while travelling to Mumbai few years ago from Hyd. They took the full fare from me, said it was the last seat, but it turned out to be a 'Sofa Seat' - as in a bench. The driver picked up some unauthorized passengers and squeezed them into the bench and it was a horrendous journey to Mumbai.

Though I learnt my lesson I had no other option while recently travelling to Chennai - it was Friday evening and there were very little options left. So I booked OMER whose departure time as per Redbus was 8:30pm and arrival in Chennai was 7:00am. As usual the pick up arrived 45 mins late at 9:15pm in Mehdipatnam and instead of taking the ring road went into the city and stopped at Afzalgunj. We waited for the Chennai Volvo from 10:30 till midnight. It finally arrived at 12am, took off on the Kurnool Kadapa route and finally arrived in Chennai at 2pm next day!

Best option for this route would be Dhanunjaya. Parveen has recently launched their 'Charminar Express' - I like the small pillow they give to support lower back. Kaveri Kamakshi and Kesineni are also Ok. Jahan/Bharathi are Ok - I think they were the first to introduce Volvo on this route in 2004, but still run the same buses!
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Old 21st September 2010, 14:47   #493
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Best option for this route would be Dhanunjaya. Parveen has recently launched their 'Charminar Express' - I like the small pillow they give to support lower back. Kaveri Kamakshi and Kesineni are also Ok. Jahan/Bharathi are Ok - I think they were the first to introduce Volvo on this route in 2004, but still run the same buses!
Both Bharathi & Kaveri Kamakshi have the latest Multi Axle Volvos' on the route while Parveen has a regular B7R which is also possibly the newest bus on the route. A couple of months back when I took the Bharathi Multi Axle it left from Secunderabad (Paradise) at 9 PM and reached Padi Jn at 8.45 Am though I have seen the bus at Egmore at around 8.45 AM as well many days.
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Old 21st September 2010, 16:13   #494
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Default Chennai Bangalore experiences

Off late I have been travelling frequently to Bangy on official work. With my company becoming extra concious on costs flights for this sector are a no-no (not that I love the flights on this sector). Between the buses and the trains, I prefer the buses because I stay at Koyambedu close to the bus terminus. Here are my experiences from a few recent trips.

Trip 1 - Bangalore Chennai - Afternoon VOLVO of Sangita Travels. Bus was scheduled to leave at 4.00 PM from Madiwala. Since my office was in Koramangala, I started at 3.30 PM only. Around 3.35, I received a call from their office informing that the bus was waiting for me - I was still 10 minutes away and managed to reach the bus. I was particular about the seat I had booked - right behind the driver so I had a driver's view. The bus seemed to carry a few regulars - could make it out by the way they chatted with the crew. Overall it was a nice journey except that we reached Chennai only by 10.30 PM and my seat had an automatic recline mode.

Trip 2: Chennai Bangalore - 10.30 PM AC Sleeper - KPN. It was a new bus - the beds were still wrapped in their plastics which kept rustling. The journey was smooth and comfortable. Noise levels were low though it was an AL bus.

Trip 3: Chennai Bangalore - 11.00 PM Sharma Volvo Sleeper/Seater. This bus has a bad arrangement - Berths on the sides with a row of seat down the center. The lower berths are just a 2-3 foam mattress on the floor. Curtains are badly maintained. Floor noise kills you. Worse if you are unlucky to have a passenger with smelly socks sitting next to your berth. So I had insisted on an upper berth. I am averse to sharing the berth with a stranger so I normally ask for the single berths if it is KPN. Since this was Sharma, I did not insist on that as I did not expect a double berth. But what I got can better be termed as the bus' attic - it was a chanmber above the engine which had two lower berths and two upper berths. What I had was an upper berth - the forward one among the two. The arrangement was worse - speaker boxes at your head and leg, no safety guards (which posed a risk in the event of an emergency brake) and the chamber was hardly 2.5 feet high. It was claustrophobic - I exchanged it for a seat in the front and managed some sleep. My worst trip among all of them.

Trip 4: Chennai Bangalore - 10.30 PM Sleeper service KPN - This one had a leaky Aircon vent and worse still this was next to the blower. So all night I had an extra blast of cold air on my face that gave me a sleepless night.

And then there was this recent trip when I left my Blackberry on the berth in the KPN Sleeper bus, alighted at Madiwala and did not realize it till almost an hour later. By the time I rushed to KPN office in Kalasipalayam, the bus had gone to the yard. A search of the bus turned futile and I ended up buying a new one as the phone belongs to my employer.

One point I noticed is that KPN buses always take 5-5.5 hours between Madiwala and Koyambedu while others take 6-6.5 hrs.
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Old 21st September 2010, 16:28   #495
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Incidentally on my way to Sabarimala last weekend I had taken the KPN A/c sleeper service to Dindigul. The total trip was a con job by KPN. The A/c was not working (rather the blowers were not working) from the beginning at Koyambedu, with the driver & cleaner claiming that it would start working once we move on the highway, with no change in the status till the time we reach Perungulathur (through the byepass) some passengers complained to the driver who continued the same answer "would work once we start moving". With no sliding windows it was suffocating to say the least.

When one of the passengers called up the Salem numbers he was promised immediate attention when the bus reaches Ulundurpet, but no help came at Ulundurpet by which time we realised both the guy at the other end of the phone in Salem and the driver were taking us literally for a ride, courtesy the recorded conversation from the phone lent by a co- passenger. We also came to know that one blower had conked off a couple of days back and the other one also in all probability has conked off as well. Then both the guys decided to hatch a plan involving a mechanic climbing up the bus and create a "problem addressed" situation, with a couple of twists with the screw driver, after which the driver would coolly drive off the bus to its destination.

Now with enough ruckus being created the passengers were promised a refund at Trichy, only to be told at Trichy that they have no instructions from any where about refunds and they are not responsible if the A/c was not running. After detaining the bus for couple of hours at Trichy with no avail except for a shallow promise from the so called local manager to take it up we decided to continue the journey. Ended up reaching Dindigul at 9:00 PM after leaving from Koyambedu at 10:00 PM.

Its been couple of years since I used KPN as I realised a marked decline in their service levels, the latest experience in all probability would be the last for some time to come.

Last edited by pypkmsrikanth : 21st September 2010 at 16:29. Reason: Error correction
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