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Old 6th April 2011, 20:09   #736
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

@binaiks

If anything, actually the Volvo was newer than the Mercedes was, atleast going by the odo. So I dont see the bias, as I have actually preferred the older bus to the newer one.

If you mean that the B9R was launched earlier, I think the small design changes can be and are made on the go. No product remains exactly in same specs for even a few months nowadays.

I did not get any glare in the drop down screen on the Merc at all even during daytime running. I would agree the quality of the drop down was not as good as the LCD on the Volvo. But still I prefer the design finesse of the Merc. Quality of screen can always be improved. As for breaking of drop down screens, it is just a matter of taking care.

The digital clock on the Merc was definitely a boon.

One thing that you should keep in mind here is that both buses I experienced are actually operated by Neeta Tours and Travels.

Here I would like to add that, the overall sound quality and quantity of the Merc in both voice and songs was better than the Volvo, which according to you has aftermarket amps and speakers. This just makes the Merc even better in my books.

Similarly, why do you think Neeta had to resort to aftermarket blinds on the Volvo but not on the Merc??

Now that you mentioned, I do remember the drop down blinds that I had experienced a year or two back on a KaSRTC bus. I was in the third row then and they wern't any good at preventing headlight glare.

About the doorway lights, like I said the Volvo was actually newer than the Merc and its lights had probably gone dead already and its door opening mechanism had conked out. Also the single light I remember over the driver's head in the Volvo was far less bright than the ones in the Merc.

Two other things that come to mind now. The Merc had drop down sun visors for both driver and co-driver, while the Volvo had a single one for the driver. The Merc air-con panel had an airline style button, that lighted up on pressing, to request assistance. A very nice touch, though rarely would be used by operators.

Another sweet touch, though of no direct consequence to the experience, was that both the drivers in the Merc had white on black "Mercedes-Benz Travel with the Star" caps. Both drivers were actually using it.

What my point is why does an operator who has left his Mercedes in largely stock condition, has felt the need to modify his Volvo so much after-market?? Again remember here I am comparing buses from the same operator.

Last edited by julupani : 6th April 2011 at 20:19.
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Old 8th April 2011, 09:34   #737
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Default Re: Reviews/Suggestions on late night travel from Chennai to B'lore

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... from Chennai airport on sunday night, and reach Bangalore the next day. What are the options i have? My requirement is, it should not be before 23:30hrs...

redBus mentions Sangita travels Volvo at 23:55hrs
Ticketgoose also mentions the same
The only operator that operates a very late night service to Bangalore, and having a pickup point in Guindy was Sangita travels. I've had a very bad experience, so, was hesitant initially. But no other choice, so I'd booked a ticket in their 11:55pm AC Leyland bus.

I called their Guindy office on sunday night at 11:15pm, to inquire the exact location for boarding. They gave me the location info, and asked me to bargain for an amount not more than 150rs, if i'm taking an auto. Luckily for me, One auto guy who had parked his auto a small distance from the airport gate offered to take me to Sangita Travels' office for Rs.150. I agreed, and got in. The boarding point was near the Butt Road bus stop, off Kathipara flyover.

Their office was one of the more spacious ones I've seen for such fleet operators - some 20-30 chairs, two rest rooms, a refrigerator, and plenty of charging points. I reached this place at around 11:45pm, and my bus was supposed to arrive at 11:55pm.

The guy at the desk informed me that I'm the only person who's booked that Leyland AC bus, and hence, they've arranged to accommodate me in their Volvo bus that was to precede this bus. He assured me that I will get a seat of my preference as the Volvo had a lot of vacant seats.

The bus arrived at 12:15am. It was an old Volvo B7R. Engine noise was very much audible inside. It would vibrate like a Tata bus at idle. Seats were comfy, and there were blankets. The AC vents did not have flow control, but it was kept at a comfortable speed, so it didn't bother me at all. The bus was snailing till Poonamallee, after which the driver went pedal to metal. Reached Majestic at 6:15am.

I might consider booking this service if I have to stay late in Chennai. At Rs.618 (after a discount of 5% on the Rs.650 price tag), this is a bit higher than other operators, but serves the purpose. If we book through their website, they offer a 5% discount on the fare, for 1-4 tickets, 10% for 5-15 tickets, and 15% off for 15 tickets or more, booked in one go.
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Old 10th April 2011, 00:34   #738
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Took a Sree Kaleshwari Volvo to BLR and back(HYD). Booked the tickets online at www.sreekaleswaritravels.com/

While HYD-BLR ticket costs 850 INR, BLR-HYD costs 780 INR. I have no clue why this difference. Any ideas?

The journey itself was good. Buses were B9R both ways, seemed pretty well maintained/new. It had 2 sets of drop down LCDs, one up front and one in the middle. During the onward trip, bus stopped at some point just after getting out of HYD for dinner but wasn't the case on return journey.

The bus was being driven pretty sedately overall.

EDIT: Oh and yes, they never asked for my ticket even once! Nor name or anything, just the seat number. Like whatever happened to 'Please carry a valid ID', 'This ticket is non transferable' warnings promptly displayed on their site.

Last edited by Dry Ice : 10th April 2011 at 00:38.
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Old 10th April 2011, 17:15   #739
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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While HYD-BLR ticket costs 850 INR, BLR-HYD costs 780 INR. I have no clue why this difference. Any ideas?
Did you book both ways together? Some operators provide a discount for the return journey if one books both ways together - may be thats the case. I am just guessing here.

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EDIT: Oh and yes, they never asked for my ticket even once! Nor name or anything, just the seat number. Like whatever happened to 'Please carry a valid ID', 'This ticket is non transferable' warnings promptly displayed on their site.
This is the case with most operators. I was never asked a ticket or boarding pass during my travels with Kallada or Shama (on the Bangalore-Kerala) route. They just count how many people get in, and tally that with their chart.
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Old 10th April 2011, 18:03   #740
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Did you book both ways together? Some operators provide a discount for the return journey if one books both ways together - may be thats the case. I am just guessing here.
Yes, I booked both ways at the same time. Just checked and realized something. Now it seems, both ways its 780 INR!!! What made them charge 850 INR for that particular weekend? :(

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This is the case with most operators. I was never asked a ticket or boarding pass during my travels with Kallada or Shama (on the Bangalore-Kerala) route. They just count how many people get in, and tally that with their chart.
Exactly. Just a tick on their sheet and you are good to go!
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Old 10th April 2011, 23:01   #741
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

I've read somewhere that most of these operators run their trips as sightseeing trips, and the list of passengers that they present to the authorities would contain Bill Clinton, Obama, Abdul Kalam etc., and not our names

About the amount, the fares are not the same all the time. They may charge a premium if there's a huge rush. The same service for a weekend may be costlier than that for a week day.
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Old 13th April 2011, 01:02   #742
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terrible & horrible experience with kallada travels (EKM-CHE)

Kallada travels is a total rip off, period. I am basing my opinion not upon 1, but 3 separate instances of 'treating passengers like cattle'.

There are 2 services which run EKM-CHE
A) B9R leaving @1630 through trissur-coimbatore-palladam-kangeyam-tiruchengode-salem outskirts-attur-ulundurpet-villupuram-pondicherry-chennai ; arrive @0830 (this is daily service)
B) B7R leaving at 1600 through trissur-coimbatore-salem-krishnagiri-vellore-chennai (this service is only for weekends); arrive @0700

Instance 1) :
after being booked on B9R, reached the pickup point (vyttila office). staff at office @1610 hrs - there is some "permit issue" with the usual bus (readers note : this is the daily vehicle) and there is a replacement bus ("it is volvo saaar, not ordinary bus, so full A/C only dont worry") - and what do i see ? some 50 year old bus with volvo engine (I am not joking, it was that cheap with huge gaps in glass panels & old-AL-truck style remodelled front). The less said about the interior, the better. In fact, this went through route A) and later found that there is only one bus for the day (they cancelled both the regular buses and brought in this antique mark I bus as there were only 19 passengers even after palakkad). Even if this is the shorter and smoother route, the journey took 18.5 hrs to reach chennai @1130 next day.

Instance 2) :
this time I had booked on the route B) bus ; it was mark II B7R started late by 30 mins (heavy parcel loading) and suffered battery failure in a nowhere place before salem. Lost 2 hours to find a source (giant batteries arrived in autorickshaw with mechanic) to jumpstart ; some pax asked "why delay" and got shouted upon by the 20 something yr old cleaner (i wanted to thrash him unconscious at that time) and reached chennai 3 hrs late (smack into peak morning traffic approaching chennai city).

Instance 3) :
this time I had booked on route B) bus, only to be told by the staff that the bus is "rescheduled to 1800 hrs start" - upon asked 'why suddenly?', they said "it is implementing just from today saaar" ; then i asked them 'dont you collect phone number etc while net booking, why cant u call and tell me' - they guy says "saar, u should have called up to check whether the bus is on the right time" - I LITERALLY GAVE HIM A MOUTHFUL. This meant I landed in no mans timezone and i had to wait for 2 hrs in front of their office (going home and coming back in the peak evening traffic will consume 1hr40 minutes from the 2 hrs).

On the 2nd and 3rd occasions, I had to book kallada since I travelled on very short notice & all other buses were full (even on the instance 2) day ).
From then on, I have taken a vow that I should never travel by kallada on any route; even if I have to travel in unreserved compartment of train.
Friends, NEVER travel from EKM to CHE on kallada.
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Old 13th April 2011, 06:14   #743
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Kallada is the last option. Next time you try Sona Travels Izusu. It was very good.
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Old 13th April 2011, 09:52   #744
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by venkyhere View Post
terrible & horrible experience with kallada travels (EKM-CHE)


On the 2nd and 3rd occasions, I had to book kallada since I travelled on very short notice & all other buses were full (even on the instance 2) day ).
From then on, I have taken a vow that I should never travel by kallada on any route; even if I have to travel in unreserved compartment of train.
Friends, NEVER travel from EKM to CHE on kallada.
Horrible experience indeed. What I see is that more and more buses fail mysteriously during weekdays ( a/c not working, breakdown, permit issue, accident) and passengers are accommodated into their other services. Even ABT which I personally think as one of the most courteous and honest service out there did this on a recent trip from TRY to BLR when I was fortunately on the "not-cancelled" bus. Passengers from another bus on the same route were accommodated into the one I was traveling that day. To be fair to them I have traveled in the past on ABT buses with only 4/5 passengers.

Worst of all though is that the drivers/cleaners treat passengers with utter disrespect. Last weekend I had taken the BLR-NGL sleeper service of KPN. The bus reached Bommanahalli 30 mins late and started another 15 minutes late from there. At A2B (near shoolagiri), the driver announced that it would stop for 10 mins for dinner. I thought he was not serious, but I was wrong. I came back pretty early ( approx 10 mins) and he was shouting at me to get back in quickly. I gave him an earful and he retorted to the standard " please talk to the office sir, I will have to answer them if it's late". I told him I don't care about "office" and if he was so concerned about timings he should have started early. Most passengers didn't even hear his stupid announcement and came back as usual and after my response he didn't say a word after that. I do not have any expectation from KPN from my personal experience as well as numerous arguments i have seen over a period of time. I would still prefer ABT to KPN due to the fact that they treat passengers with a little bit more respect than most other services out there. From your experiences it seems Kallada would give KPN a tough fight on the poor service count !
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Old 13th April 2011, 10:21   #745
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Kallada are infamouns for the way in which they run their business. The very first rant on this thread in itself was for Kallada.

With them having services to most of the common routes, as passengers we dont seem to have much choice in terms of options. Among the reasons why we started using the car regularly for our drives to Kerala, just coz we couldnt tolerate the train as well as bus madness.
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Old 13th April 2011, 11:45   #746
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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some pax asked "why delay" and got shouted upon by the 20 something yr old cleaner (i wanted to thrash him unconscious at that time)
LOL!! I remember a similar incident with SeaBird Travels from Bangalore to Goa.

The 18 something cleaner literally threatened a middle aged man who was traveling with family to get off the bus in the middle of no where.

The gentleman kept quite and the cleaner went around with an attitude.

Once we got to Goa, I asked the cleaner to apologize to the man. He said jo karna hai kar le (do what you want).

So I did. Thrashed him right there. Now the hunted was in his own den.

The SeaBird Travels guys didn't bother. I handed him over to the police. By now he had lost all his attitude and was crying non stop.

The cops kept him in the station for a day. He missed the return trip, had no money and the last I heard he was begging with the SeaBird guys to take him back.

I too have started using the car often now because of this crazy madness. I miss Raj Travels.
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Old 13th April 2011, 12:21   #747
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I too have started using the car often now because of this crazy madness. I miss Raj Travels.
Tell me about it! I miss their service, neatness and fleet quality as well! Bus travel almost reached the levels of airline service with them around. Pity they couldn't sustain it.
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Old 13th April 2011, 15:11   #748
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My wife and my kids travelled recently Mumbai-Bangalore by VRL MultiAxle Volvo. She generally travels by train bcos with kids trains are a better bet but this time we couldn't get train tickets, hence tried VRL.

Excellent service to say the least. The bus was barely three months old hence in excellent condition. The drivers and conductors were very polite. They didn't take even one additional person on board during the journey even if the seats were empty. The bus came on time and reach Bangalore on time.

Overall an excellent trip. She is now insisting that I cancel her return train tickets and book bus tickets as the travel time by bus is less (17 hrs) compared to train (24 hrs )

Last edited by f1fan : 13th April 2011 at 15:15.
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Old 13th April 2011, 18:16   #749
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My wife and my kids travelled recently Mumbai-Bangalore by VRL MultiAxle Volvo. She generally travels by train bcos with kids trains are a better bet but this time we couldn't get train tickets, hence tried VRL.

Excellent service to say the least. The bus was barely three months old hence in excellent condition. The drivers and conductors were very polite. They didn't take even one additional person on board during the journey even if the seats were empty. The bus came on time and reach Bangalore on time.

Overall an excellent trip. She is now insisting that I cancel her return train tickets and book bus tickets as the travel time by bus is less (17 hrs) compared to train (24 hrs )
I also had very good experiences with VRL (Bangalore-Mumbai-Bangalore route). I heard that they have multiple check points and are not allowed to drive very fast or too slow.
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Old 14th April 2011, 06:53   #750
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

CHE-EKM (700km) in 9 hours running time in SRM B9R chennai-thiruvalla volvo ( this must be a record for this route; avg speed ~ 78 kmph )

I just arrived at home an hour back and I am writing this immediately, lest I forget the details

19:00 - start from koyambedu sharp on time (occupancy = 42)
19:15 - break for dinner (forgot the name, its in poonamalle, near sadayappa thirumana mandapam)
19:45 - resume journey
23:45 - krishnagiri T-junction
- continue via dharmapuri, salem & approach coimbatore, avoid the horrible avinashi stretch by deviating from chengappalli, then go via uthukuli to tiruppur, then palladam & now travel towards coimbatore on NH67, join coimbatore bypass and continue towards palghat, trichur, ernakulam
0200 - join coimbatore bypass
0245 - palghat bypass
0255 - ppl who are getting down at palghat wake up startled (usually palghat is around 0400) and it takes 10 minutes for all of them to collect belongings and finish exit from the bus.
0345 - trichur bypass
0445 - ernakulam vyttila drop off, bus continues to thiruvalla

The strech between coimbatore and trichur is horrible, still coimbatore to ekm in 2hrs 45mins is mind-blowing.

Bus condition was ok (a few rattle noises here and there); but the amount of torque B9R has, is amazing. The guy was driving it as if he was driving a toyota camry or skoda superb. No downshifting needed for any overtaking (spot, equalize to the slower vehicle, spot opening, overtake - this would normally require downshifting) - the torque vs rpm plot for the B9R engine should look very "flat"

Overall, just mind-blowing & i did not sleep at all (was in virtua-drive mode in the 1st row left side window seat ) - going to crash now..
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