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Old 30th November 2010, 13:11   #556
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Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
KPN Volvos' also are these days not plying on higher speeds consequent to regular accidents and possibly to reduce fuel consumption as well.
I use the BLR-NGL service on ABT and KPN frequently and haven't noticed any considerable increase in travel times. It could probably be around 30 mins max if at all there is some increase. I don't use the KPN volvo though as for some reason I don't find their seats comfortable. It's either their 2+1 semi sleeper or the sleeper. But if they do have some kind of speed restriction, I would really welcome that. There were frequent reports of accidents with KPN buses of late and I would always think, "better late than never".
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Old 30th November 2010, 13:25   #557
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Kallada are Irinjalakuda / Kunnamkulam based, right? How do they manage a Pandalam service?
Kallada is based in Irinjalakkuda. However, all their services are managed from their office at Madivala, Bangalore. Irinjalakkuda office is now barely a booking office - and interestingly the only service that passes through Irinjalakkuda is a Bangalore-Kodungallur Non-AC Seater!
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Old 3rd December 2010, 18:33   #558
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Default KSRTC Bangalore-Chennai Review

This is my first post other than the Intro post! I searched but couldnt find any comprehensive review of the new Merc-Sutlej bus travel. So I thought why dont I write one while I have used it on more than one occasion.

So, to start with, exterior. It looks really nice. But except for the headlamp cluster, the whole body work looks really cheap. It gives a impression to lame man that its another Leyland with Merc symbol. Well, it did happen on the very time i travelled in the merc. It stopped at shantinagar to pick up passengers, a Policeman came to get his share of free waterbottle!! then he was talking to the driver as to whether this is another AL with Merc symbol, then driver explained "nahi saar, yeh Mercedes ki gaadi hain - no sir this is a mercedes vehicle only", infact he was so proud that he indeed called up his family(ya while on the wheels and at 80Kmph, and informed them proudly that he is driving a Mercedes). Personally I felt the Projector and High beam combination looks nice but not attractive as the new 6 + fog set volvo lights. But IMHO, the fog lamps in here is more powerful than that of the volvo's and so are the headlights. So should be enough.

Doors opened to a very fresh interiors, I guess the bus was quite new, and it just had around 1.5K on the ODO. I liked the light which glows automatically with the doors and the door opening switch. First impression, ya good, but used to the patterns in volvo. Same trend followed here by KSRTC. so nothing much to complain. I always book the seats between 1-4. Here my seat no. was 4. the Fibre divider between the entry and the front seats felt really cheap, Merc should listen to it.

Seats, ok ok. Not very comfortable nor wide enough as we are used to in the Swedish delight. Moreover, the overall bodywork feels taller than volvo and gives a AL or TML feeling. No highend luxury feeling.

A/C vents, did KSRTC or Sutlej run out of money to fit one with flow and direction control? I seriously didnt expect this not flap vents. no direction control, no flow control. BAD KSRTC. . A/C was really good. No complains on it. +1 to it.

NVH: Worst ever!! Sutlej. Mercedes, didnt expect this from their product. Even while idling the bus was roaring, vibrating and while starting from zero, I felt as if the engine is under my seat. So loud and quite a lot of vibration.

Last edited by Mpower : 3rd December 2010 at 19:10. Reason: check rules on smiley usage
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Old 3rd December 2010, 18:43   #559
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Default Mercedes Bus review Continued..

Driving Comfort:
Gear ratios are long and the gear throw is also long, so i often saw the driver struggling to engage gears, especially 1 and 2. The instrument console, hehehehe my Suzuki GS150R has the best digital console i have ever seen!! Common mercedes. Hey but dont underestimate the Mercs, Last week while on my way to bangalore, I did see a KPN Merc multi-axle near the toll gate, surprisingly it had a different instrument console. A yellow, digital centre with RPM and KMPH analogues on its either sides.
But on the contrary, I found the control stalk, quite simple, headlight switch is a standard european model, similar to the one found in new volvo. Rotate to switch on the headlights, press down to switch on the Fog lamps.

The control stalk is uniquely large, thick, placed at an ackward place, that everytime driver has to take his hand completely off the steering to dip/highbeam the lamps or the horns. Well, ya horn, my bike has a better horn. I expect KSRTC to change them to standard volvo like horns soon. Very carrish!! Few times the trucks werent ready to give way, only after the driver dipped his lamps they realised it was bus and not a car. Had got wiper control on the stalk like the new AL control stalk.
The right side control stalk, I think is dummy, as I couldnt see the driver using it at any time during the 6 hour drive.

Rearview mirrors are quite different. Probably a Sutlej touch. But are useful. Has got a good rear view, a blind spot mirror on the port side wing. A LED at the cover would have added good looks.

Bus was driven at around 80-100 kmph. Was able to see the speedo clearly as the middle screen that KSRTC puts is yet to be installed in the Merc. Once above 70 the vibrations damp well and sound is insulated to a acceptable level, but surely do not expect a merc engine like silence. Total journey time, 6.5 hours, including traffic in Bangalore, hosur and while entering chennai.

Overall: 5/10. Well, I am eagerly waiting to see the Merc made bus similar to the Volvo made. Untill then, Swedes, you will be our preferred mode of long distance travel. But I waiting for a chance to travel in a Merc Multi-Axle, well just to check out the instrument console.
Wishing you all a Safe Travel untill then.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 21:07   #560
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Bharathi has launched a multi axle Volvo service to Trivandrum from Chennai. Now there are 5 multi axle services to Trivandrum including two Merc services from Parveen. With 4 laned roads almost upto Nagercoil, Volvos are becoming a better alternative to trains.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 21:13   #561
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Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
Bharathi has launched a multi axle Volvo service to Trivandrum from Chennai. Now there are 5 multi axle services to Trivandrum including two Merc services from Parveen. With 4 laned roads almost upto Nagercoil, Volvos are becoming a better alternative to trains.
Parveen has two Mercedes buses, i.e., one service. SRM has two Multi-Axles, one B7R and one AshLey AC service daily. Now Bharathi has launched on Multi Axle. So the total is 4 Multi-Axle services per day.
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Old 4th December 2010, 09:48   #562
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Parveen certainly had two Mercedes Multi Axle running to Trivandrum but now they are listing only one service, not sure what's the scene with the other. I am very sure they had an 8:00 PM and an 8:30 PM service.
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Old 5th December 2010, 16:45   #563
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Default Update on ABTXTravels

Guys, did anybody travel from Bangalore to chennai on friday the 3rd Dec 2010 by ABT? If so do share your thoughts on the interior condition of the bus and the pathetic 1.5 hrs standing near Narayana Hrudayala hospital.

If not, here goes my view on the trip:

First of all the exteriors were similar to any other ABT. The moment door opened I entered was shocked to see the intrument console. No RPM unit, switches were broken. A/C controls were really shabby. Once inside the passenger area, firstly I was shocked to see a dark Sandalwood shade seats and plastic work. Seats were Polyflex ltd. manufactured not the usual ones.(I forgot its name starts with "K" or some german name). I dont know whether this was one of the very first ABT buses, becauses the age of the bus was clearly evident on the inside than on the outside. Broken A/C vents, broken pushback activating levers. Malfunctioning Pushback systems and many more.

But shockingly, exterior was very clean and intact, including the overhanging mirrors. Usually all Govt.(SETC da GREAT!) clips them off in couple of months of usuage. But here both were fully functional and the driver was using them to a good extent.

Irritating Traffic: Anybody who was on the NH7 between 2300 - 0100 hrs would have experienced it. Hell of a traffic. 1.5 hours of standstill not moved an inch. At the end during a chat with the driver he said, it was nothing but a simple traffic clogging(I hope some day it might end up like the one in China 100kms of standing traffic and end up spending my weekend in the bus itself!!)

Well but otherwise, the bus was superb smooth and the engine was really a pleasant surprise as the bus was cruising really fast and the NVH was really lower than in any other ABT, Merc's and non-volvo buses I have travelled.

Now I see more and more Merc-Sutlej buses in the NH7. Probably operators are choosing them over Volvo's just for their lower pricing and lower maintenance costs(body parts).

There was a recent report in a tamil daily that MTC is facing a loss of around 2 crores per month by operating its fleet of 100 volvo's. When calculated the per day earnings are supposed to be 18000 or more to have a profitable operation but they currently earn around 15000 only. Moreover, the since the spares are to be imported, the maintenance is becoming a burden on them. But it also had a line saying that soon, TATA and some other companies will be localising the production of spares(can someone tell me what is this?? When did tata collaborate with Volvo in making spares?) so then the overall costs of the bus would come down.

So how many volvo's do BMTC have? How do they manage them at this pretty good condition?(well better than some of the MTC volvo's)Also KSRTC runs so many volvo's on interstate routes along with a wide variety of buses from various manufacters. How do they manage their funds and why cannot MTC and SETC/TNSTC's replicate the same? Both are state RTC's so their working principles shouldnt vary much. Its really pathetic to see some of the ultra delux buses run by SETC and TNSTC's. God save the driver and the conductors and the passengers who are using it.

Well, from my personal experience, I cannot disclose the route or the driver details, but in a very friendly chat with a interstate driver from SETC, he told me that SETC, MTC and TNSTC's are running short on Tyres(new) and for the past 6 months they have not bought a single new tyre. All are retreaded, vulcanised and reused. If any new bus is bought, the new tyres are removed and sent to those buses which are dire need of tyre replacement and run on busy interstate or city routes. Well, there was even a report that even AL and TML are running short on tyres and sending their chasis with only the inner tyres and later the new tyres are fixed. I think "Raj chettan" could explain us this better as he recently bought a AL bus.

Though such things are pretty bad news for travellers and are unsafe practices, I pity the drivers who are always at the receiving end if any mishaps happen due to such shabby maintenance practices.
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Old 10th December 2010, 16:07   #564
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Default Chennai - Bangalore - Chennai

Had to go to Bangalore on thursday, and thanks to redbus, booked tickets in a jiffy. Onward, by Jahan Travels. The bus was supposed to arrive at 22:30hrs at Chennai Central but it came only at 23:00hrs. We were waiting in the stinky and mosquito-ridden place for more than half an hour. It was a non-AC, 2+1. I was on a single seat, very comfortable - ample under-thigh support, working calf support, comfortably placed push-back lever. It was an AL Viking. Reached Bangalore at 6:30. There were some heroes who wanted to brave the chilly wind and kept the windows open. But when others protested, they also closed and it was comfortable. Ride was good.

Return trip was booked on SRS Travels. It arrived on time at Madiwala, at 22:45hrs. A neatly maintained bus, from the outside. Tata Hispano Globus. I expected it to be as comfortable as the Jahan bus at least. But I was sorely mistaken. The seats had good cushioning but did not have calf-support and under-thigh support was pathetic. The back would tilt from some awkward angle, the best position is upright. Anything else would hurt my back. I couldn't reach the footrest properly (I'm 5.5feet) - perhaps they designed the legspace considering giants. It was a bumpy ride all along and the driver was ripping like anything. The AC vents had direction control but no flow control. The AC was good enough I think. I turned the vents away from my side and was wearing some real winter clothing.

Now the worst part. There were some Christ students inside - some 30 - 35, 15 or so guys and remaining girls (I heard them shouting the numbers among other things), mostly Hindi-speaking. They had made it their excursion bus. It was a riot inside. Constantly shouting and snapping photos with flash, throwing soft drink bottles, etc. One person asked me if I can shift to another seat, and I defiantly said no. I was running a high fever and wanted to get home somehow. Thankfully I slept off soon after I plugged in my earphones.
The ordeal ended at 05:00hrs on friday morning. There were no SRS personnel inside except the driver.

The result, I skipped office today, due to backpain and fever
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Old 10th December 2010, 20:26   #565
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Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
The result, I skipped office today, due to backpain and fever
SO SRS have given you a free week end offer.
"Travel with SRS - Enjoy weekend at home"

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
The result, I skipped office today, due to backpain and fever
SO SRS have given you a free week end offer.
"Travel with SRS - Enjoy weekend at home"

Last edited by FlyingSpur : 12th December 2010 at 14:59. Reason: Please use the EDIT function instead of posting back-to-back posts within 20 minutes. Thanks.
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Old 11th December 2010, 01:08   #566
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Default Re: Update on ABTXTravels

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaKilo View Post
There was a recent report in a tamil daily that MTC is facing a loss of around 2 crores per month by operating its fleet of 100 volvo's. When calculated the per day earnings are supposed to be 18000 or more to have a profitable operation but they currently earn around 15000 only. Moreover, the since the spares are to be imported, the maintenance is becoming a burden on them. But it also had a line saying that soon, TATA and some other companies will be localising the production of spares(can someone tell me what is this?? When did tata collaborate with Volvo in making spares?) so then the overall costs of the bus would come down.
This simply means somebody wants their vehicles to replace the Volvo fleet.

I will translate that into Inglese for you:-

"Volvos earn only 15K per month. You cannot / should not change that (for example, by running more trips or better routes or better timings). Instead, you should buy our buses, since they are cheaper and (will) have spares made in India".
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Old 11th December 2010, 01:55   #567
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Default Re: Update on ABTXTravels

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
This simply means somebody wants their vehicles to replace the Volvo fleet.

I will translate that into Inglese for you:-

"Volvos earn only 15K per month. You cannot / should not change that (for example, by running more trips or better routes or better timings). Instead, you should buy our buses, since they are cheaper and (will) have spares made in India".
I am puzzled. Every time I travel near Tambaram, I see plenty of Volvo's in the depot and almost all are full when they are ready to go. Also the frequency and routes have been increased and one fine day at 10:30AM, I was able to see Volvos at a 3 to 10 ordinary buses ratio.

The losses can be easily adjusted if they increase the fare for the buses. But the Govt will not do it because they want to be in the good books of the voters. I feel this is going to affect TN in the long term.

When KaSRTC is introducing Multi Axle Volvos in their fleet, I think TNSTC should atleast retain the existing ones. Else it would be a shame for TN

Hopefully someone will see sense and do the necessary changes to make this work. Also the need of the hour is a time table for the Volvo fleet. No one is able to give an exact schedule for the day. A bus for every 10/15 minutes seems to be the standard answer whenever we ask for time table.

And we know how strict they adhere to the schedule They should have the time table pasted on the buses atleast. It will definitely improve patronage for the Volvos if people know when they ply through their routes.
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Old 12th December 2010, 15:17   #568
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Travelled last Friday Bangalore to Aluva. Tried my luck without reservation - almost never made it . Reached Kalasipalayam around 7. 30- got big NOs from Sharma/KPN and Kallada. Was resigned to travelling the next day morning when the local KeSRTC guy suggested trying Jabbar who had an additonal service to Trichur. Even that was full but he offered a non ac ticket to CJB on Conti with the bus starting from Madiwala. That made me check directly with the Conti office next door and surpisingly they had a cancellation which popped up on their A/C service supposed to leave at 10 PM with a promised arrival of 5 AM and the bonus of the bus starting at Kalasipalayam itself. Cost was 480 and was glad to snap it up.

Bus was a new Izuzu, turned up only around 10.30 PM, only three boarded from KPalayam - lots of luggage was put in and the bus then proceed at 1045 not to Madiawala as I thought but to Richmond road (which is near their office) where lots more luggage and another 10-12 people got in. Finally reached Madiwalai at 11.30, where the rest of the pax got in- bus was full and shortly afterwards ended up in a massive traffic jam at the outskirts of Hosur. Saw a "Luxuria" going past - the driver was wering seat belts.

Bus was okay - driver was going at speed- no blankets or water -most of the pax seemed to be regulars. Stopped briefly at the outskirts of Mettur for a break around 2.30 and the bus did not make up time and dropped me in Gandhipuram around 6.45 AM. From Mettur it took the Sathy/Annur route and not the NH. Ride was defintely good eventhough I was at the back and the leg room very generous .

I had an approximately 10 seconds transit at CJB since as soon as I got down a Kerala SRTC Express was passing by. Driver did stop at my hopeful waving , scrambled aboard and since the bus destination was Trivandrum , it meant I could get down right at Alwaye. The bus was one of the ancient versions bult at the K (Kozhikode) workshop and less said about the condition the better - took a very painful 6 hours to Alwaye and finally reched around 12 noon.
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Old 12th December 2010, 17:33   #569
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

schumifan, it is a function of not just "load factor" - ie number of passengers per trip. It is also a factor of "utilisation" of a vehicles - kilometers / hours it is used in a day.

I feel if they add a couple of trips (believe a trip may not lost more than 45 minutes, even within Chennai city) the service will become profitable. Only fuel and extra staffing costs will rise. For Volvos, highest component of costs is interest on capital and depreciation. Probably next comes service and tthen taxes. Labour would be far down the list.

On normal vehicles, Highest component of operating costs would be taxes, next capital (interest and depreciation), next labour, next fuel.
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Old 13th December 2010, 12:01   #570
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

@AshLey2

Hmmmm, nice laughing stock that is.

@AlphaKilo:
I find it hard to believe that the Volvos are generating losses. Because the number of Volvos has only increased despite this news being circulated for quite a long time. I wonder why the MTC is not opting for the AL or TM RE AC buses.
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