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Old 25th February 2011, 07:54   #691
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Had a very bad experience with Kallada yesterday. I had booked on the Ernakulam-Madurai Volvo service. My pick-up point was at Palarivattom. The scheduled time was 21.45 hrs.

The bus (KL-45-E-7929, a 2003 model Volvo B7R, MKII) arrived sharp on time. There were two passengers to board. In all the bus had just 7 passengers!! The driver wasn't very fast - he had to drop off some packet at Angamaly, and wasn't sure how far was Angamaly. After dropping off the packet, the driver kept a very good pace.

The bus was noisy, and the ride quality was very bad. It was rattling like a 10-year old government bus, and the ride was like a bullock cart! We went into Thrissur town, and stopped at Sakthan Bus Station for over 15 minutes to unload huge amounts of parcel. Two passengers joined in - our total passenger manifest was 9 passengers - including three foreigners. All were booked to Madurai.

The bus stopped all of a sudden near Kuthiran Ghats - the bus switched off. When it was restarted, the clutch fails to work. Finally, the driver switched off the engine, slotted to the second gear and then cranked - imagine the starter motor powering the engine to get the bus moving forward! This way, the bus managed to get moving. But, the clutch still failed, and there was no way the driver to shift gears.

We crawled in the second gear for about 30 kilometres, and finally stopped a little after Alathur (about 17 kms before Palakkad). The driver got "clutch fluid" from a petrol pump, and filled it into the reservoir. He now pumped the clutch, but to no respite! The clutch showed no signs of working! Finally, the driver abandoned all efforts to get the bus moving, and at around 1:15, he declared that the bus cannot go ahead.

No body picked up calls at the Kallada offices in Ernakulam, Thrissur or their HQ at Irinjalakkuda. Some person picked up the call when the driver called, and abruptly said park the bus and send the passengers in the bus coming behind! Sadly, ours was the last bus on the EKM-Madurai route, and was also the LAST Kallada bus to leave Kerala! So we had no buses trailing, that could rescue us!!!

Around 2 in the morning, the driver declared he cannot do anything, and asked people to sleep instead! A few of us protested, and he finally tried calling (or atleast pretended to) up their agency in Palakkad for help - but no response! The driver said he'll get us an alternative means int he morning, or we could find out our own way and claim refund from Kallada. Finally a few of us decided to abandon the bus. An Autorickshaw guy stopped (thankfully), who helped us out by getting a cab. He dropped us - 6 of us (the foreigners decided not to join us, and they were returning to Ernakulam. The driver offered to get them into an EKM bound bus).

The 6 of us were dropped at Palakkad - yes! 6 of us in an Ape rick. We got a cab from here, to Madurai. Initially cabbies were apprehensive of getting a night run, but the rick guy went around and explained that we were stuck up after our bus broke down.

The cabbie charged Rs. 16 per km, and the distance turned out to be 238 kms. We started off from Palakkad at 3.10 am, and we were dropped at Periar Bus Station (Madurai) dot at 6.55 am! (just about 55 minutes after the scheduled arrival time of the bus). We averaged around 64kmph - this includes a brief halt at Gopalapuram (at the checkpost, and later at a tea stall) and another one to fill diesel near Dindugal.

The attitude of the crew was terrible! The problem surfaced at 12AM, and the driver chose not to disclose until 2AM - the end result, we ended up losing 2 hours standing in the middle of no where! No body picks up calls at their office! I felt pity for the foreigners who were stranded in the middle of nowhere, entirely dependent on the driver, who couldn't utter a single word in English! I wonder if they would ever come to India!
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Old 25th February 2011, 09:39   #692
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Was it a genuine breakdown? I doubt it only because of the no. of pax traveling in the bus.

I had a similar experience long back in a SRM A/c bus from Chennai to Kochi. We were only three passengers and they started the trip about 1 hour late. The bus broke down just after 30 mins of travel only to cancel the trip and send passengers by their Coimbatore bus after 2 hrs.

While calling Ernakulam office, they also cancelled the Ernakulam-Chennai bus due to less capacity.
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Old 25th February 2011, 10:18   #693
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

@ Sridhar K- You have realised only now Sridhar, but KPN's actual face was shown to me much 4 years back. To be clear KPN is almost like STU's who replace the buses quickly for the high frequency routes and send their aging buses to other smaller routes. Same way KPN is also adopting. They give least preferance to some routes and never replace them with new buses.
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Old 25th February 2011, 10:55   #694
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Have seen the ABT buses these days and they seem to be better maintained. Any feedback from the folks here on ABT and other equivalent provider.
I haven't done Chennai-Dharmapuri, but Chennai-Coimbatore in ABTX Travels. They have a fleet of 205bhp AL 12Ms, well maintained and manned by a very cordial crew. They are punctual too. Their buses would start from their Guindy office at the scheduled departure time, and would reach the destination without much delay.

Since the buses have a powerful engine, they don't lack pickup nor would the drivers turn off the AC at any point. The AV vents have flow and direction control, IIRC.

@binaiks, good to hear that you reached safe. At 700 rupees and 4 hours from Palakkad to Madurai, it was not bad. Which vehicle was it - an Innova?
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Old 25th February 2011, 19:35   #695
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Was it a genuine breakdown? I doubt it only because of the no. of pax traveling in the bus.
I guess it was genuine. The bus ran over 100 kms, and the engine idled for over 2 hours for nothing! The driver was ready to keep the engine idling until a replacement bus, or mechanics arrived!

And, I just enquired at the Kallada office in Madurai - the bus was repaired, and it reached Madurai around 5 in the evening. the bus would work the Madurai-EKM schedule today night.

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@binaiks, good to hear that you reached safe. At 700 rupees and 4 hours from Palakkad to Madurai, it was not bad. Which vehicle was it - an Innova?
It was Rs. 1000 a head (238*16=3808, which was rounded off to Rs. 4000 to include the toll and "bribes" paid at two check posts). The car was an Indica Vista Terra (TDI). The ride was pretty good, and the driver kept steady pace around 60~80kmph (depending on the road conditions).
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Old 26th February 2011, 10:09   #696
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
We crawled in the second gear for about 30 kilometres, and finally stopped a little after Alathur (about 17 kms before Palakkad). The driver got "clutch fluid" from a petrol pump, and filled it into the reservoir. He now pumped the clutch, but to no respite! The clutch showed no signs of working!...
Surprised that he was able to drive the vehicle for 30 kms in second gear.
I believe he engaged the gear and cranked the bus and kept going.
Then he should have tried engaging still higher gear and cranked so that he could have continued driving.
I was just kidding and I am sure he should have tried all the possibilities.But was he alone or with any other cleaner with him
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Old 26th February 2011, 18:29   #697
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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I believe he engaged the gear and cranked the bus and kept going.
Exactly. Wouldn't that harm the Starter motor?

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I was just kidding and I am sure he should have tried all the possibilities.But was he alone or with any other cleaner with him
He did try a lot. Later on, he said that the clutch fluid level was low when the bus pulled out from Ernakulam, but did not expect the clutch to stop working on the way. He got fluid from a petrol pump and tried repairing, but things did not work out.

There was cleaner - that was a "kid" (He did not seem older than 18 years to me). That guy was hardly literate. But that guy seemed to be a regular on the route, since he was updated on the regular fueling place, parking place, etc.
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Old 27th February 2011, 23:51   #698
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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And, I just enquired at the Kallada office in Madurai - the bus was repaired, and it reached Madurai around 5 in the evening. the bus would work the Madurai-EKM schedule today night.
I saw the same bus with the same driver today at Periyar "Complex" bus station at Madurai. Spoke to the driver. He said the foreigners were sent back to Ernakulam in one of their buses. The bus was repaired in the morning, and the bus came down to Madurai around 7 pm.

The bus had only around 12 passengers today, and an empty luggage carrier!

Kallada did one thing good: They issued me a free ticket to return to Ernakulam, as compensation to the breakdown on the way to Madurai.
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Last edited by binaiks : 27th February 2011 at 23:53.
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Old 28th February 2011, 08:27   #699
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Exactly. Wouldn't that harm the Starter motor?
It would defintely harm the starter motor. You cannot crank continuously more than 15 sec. If you continue to do so first thing is your starter motor will fail and next if you do repeatedly for more time your battery will also get drained.
But what I understand is he has engaged in second gear and cranked the bus and further he started moving in the same way.Only by this I asked you, he could have started the bus in a higher gear and continue moving..
Quote:
Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
He did try a lot. Later on, he said that the clutch fluid level was low when the bus pulled out from Ernakulam, but did not expect the clutch to stop working on the way. He got fluid from a petrol pump and tried repairing, but things did not work out.
Eventhough the clutch fluid is low, just by adding few more liquid will not solve the purpose. Since it has reduced completely, clutch bleeding shoud be done properly for clutch to work normally. Though he would have done. I am just sharing this info. ANyway happy that you reached safe!

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I saw the same bus with the same driver today at Periyar "Complex" bus station at Madurai.
This photo is really good to see! Nice shood indeed!
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Old 28th February 2011, 10:57   #700
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

OT Binai Did you spend time bus spotting in Madurai. Like Coimbatore & Erode Madurai is one place where you get to see a variety of private buses.
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Old 28th February 2011, 13:01   #701
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Default My Experience with KSRTC Pune - Bangalore Travel

Let me share my recent experience of Travelling on Pune - Bangalore route.
Yesterday, I took 7.00 P.M. B9R Airavat KSRTC Volvo ( Club Class ) for Pune. Following are the highlights of the experience:
  • The bus was brand new. It was neat and clean.
  • We were provided with a small bottle of water and a blankate. Blankate was properly washed - did not smell foul.
  • The driver and attendant ( who was also co-driver ) were well dressed ( in neat white uniform ) and were well mannered. They could communicate in Hindi ( Not fluent but could understand and reply in Hindi as well) as well as English.
  • Bus played one Hindi movie on the move. The quality of the DVD played was quite good.
  • Bus left 30 minutes late from Bangalore. However it reached Pune one hour before scheduled arrival time of 10 a.m. ( @Swargate )
  • The driver and co-driver ( attendant when we started from Bangalore ) exchanged their roles mid way. This transition just took 5 minutes without any passengers getting off the bus.
  • Both drivers drove very maturely and sensibly. There was no rash overtaking or manuovering. Not a single incidence of panic bracking either.
  • Bus took dinner halt somewhere near Tumkur. The food quality was OK. The taste was below average.
  • @7.45 a.m. the bus stopped at Hotel Natraj, Near Katraj for tea.
  • In my view,B9R was in no way more comfortable than the B7R. The extra support provided below legs did not provide any adidtional comfort to me. Infact, I found it more comfortable to keep it folded only.The road between Pune to Bangalore is super smooth. Hence, I do not see any point in spending more money to travel 'Club class' and 'Multi Axle' in B9R.
  • The ticket booking thru KSRTC online was quite easy. However, they have listed 'Pune' as 'Poona' in their database. Hence, it took quite a time for me to search for the intended bus.
I have earlier also travelled on this route by KSRTC volvos. I would rate their service on this route as 4/5.

Last edited by pranav_mankad : 28th February 2011 at 13:04. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 28th February 2011, 13:26   #702
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Default Re: My Experience with KSRTC Pune - Bangalore Travel

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  • In my view,B9R was in no way more comfortable than the B7R. The extra support provided below legs did not provide any adidtional comfort to me. Infact, I found it more comfortable to keep it folded only.The road between Pune to Bangalore is super smooth. Hence, I do not see any point in spending more money to travel 'Club class' and 'Multi Axle' in B9R.
I have always felt uncomfortable with the calf support ( I guess that's the name for the thing ??). Unfortunately most of the buses I travel these days ( KPN, ABT) have this calf support. May be its the wrong setup only for someone my height ( 5.11) or may be I am settling into a wrong posture. I always keep it folded and even then I feel some pain in my knees the next morning. Recently I took KaSRTC to Madurai and got an old volvo I guess where this was missing and I could feel the difference the next morning, there was no pain at all. Also I took another service recently where this was missing and again felt comfortable. Anyone else feels the same or is it just my mind playing games?
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Old 28th February 2011, 16:59   #703
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

@sbkumar- Are you speaking about the calf supports problem.For me when its there I feel ok, when its not available like KaSRTC MB's I feel uncomfortable. I actually hate buses without calf support
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Old 1st March 2011, 09:31   #704
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@sbkumar- Are you speaking about the calf supports problem.For me when its there I feel ok, when its not available like KaSRTC MB's I feel uncomfortable. I actually hate buses without calf support
Yeah, I feel exactly the opposite. Somehow it doesn't feel comfortable at all and the next day I feel pain in my knees. As said earlier, either it's not the right set up for my body type or I am doing something really wrong!
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Old 1st March 2011, 09:46   #705
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.. As said earlier, either it's not the right set up for my body type or I am doing something really wrong!
It should be something with your body!
But you have nothing to go really wrong with you, it is custom specific!
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