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Old 1st September 2011, 14:29   #1051
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by Zed View Post
Are there Volvo \ other comfortable AC bus services from Mangalore to Coimbatore ( Via Ernakulam or trichur)? If yes are these day or night services ?
There is a KaSRTC Airavat service from Mangalore to Coimbatore. This one leaves at 15:30 from Mangalore, and reaches Coimbatore by 04:00. The bus goes via Madikeri, Mysore, Chamrajnagar.

The route via Ernakulam/Thrissur is longer. There is an Airavat from Mangalore to Ernakulam - but you'd have travel about 5 hrs extra.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 12:12   #1052
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The red color inside matching with the body color. Does Volvo offer interior color customization?
I guess they do. I just reached back in Kerala, on a Kallada G4 Multi Axle. This bus had a brown theme for its interiors. Kallada has a creamish-brown theme for its buses with Yellow exterior colour - So Volvo should be offering colour customisation.

Coming to the Kallada G4 trip:

I traveled in Kallada G4's brand new Multi-Axle Volvo (KA-01-AA-7724) yesterday night. This bus works Bangalore-Changanassery (Via Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha). It departs at 2130 hrs from Madivala. The bus is parked day long at Madiwala, and it starts its trip from there as well. They pick up passengers from Kalasipalayam in a Minibus.

The bus had about 16000kms on its odo - was in mint condition. The interiors were clean and fresh. It had two drivers and one cleaner - all malayalee staff. This bus had its speakers in the AC console - the sound effect is much better than the effect in buses with speakers sitting on the hatrack.

We started off 2134 - late by 4 minutes (thanks to a delay in loading parcels). The driver was upset over this delay. As we pulled out from Madiwala, the Shama Big Bus to Ernakulam, and the Suresh Kallada B9R to Ernakulam were preparing for their run ahead. The driver was very cautious - the top speed we hit was in the range of 105kmph. No rash overtakes - he did not use the horn much during the night.

They played a movie, which ran well upto 12 in the night. We had all of 14 passengers on board. The attendant was attending to all passengers, and responded to requests immediately. The Shawls provided had "G4" printed on them.

We stopped at Hosur (The HP pump with a McDonalds outlet) for fuel - the bus took in a good 458 litres of diesel. I gathered from the crew that they fuel only in one direction - unlike other operators who visit fuel pumps both ways. This measure saves time - a very good initiative. The crew took a very quick break for Tea near Salem - where the Shama B9R joined us.

Now started the cat and mouse game between our bus and the Shama B9R. Both the buses remained around each other throughout the journey. The bus pulled over to the road side around 03:30 - after our driver got a call. The guy on the other side was the Shama B9R driver!

It seems there was a huge traffic pile up at Walayar - and the Shama guy was suggesting we take a detour. The Shama guy returned to the spot where we had stopped (at KG Chavadi). Both the buses took the Velanthavalam route. We traveled Velanthavalam-Kozhinjampara-Palakkad route to avoid Walayar checkpost.

I was dropped at Thrissur at 0558 - the last 99 kms took 2:18 hrs, despite horrible roads between Vadakkenchery and Mannuthy. I am terribly impressed with the service - The crew were very passenger friendly. They had no issues answering my questions when we stopped for refueling. The bus took no other break (other than the 2 minute tea break near Salem). Since we did not go to Walayar, that time too was saved!!

The driver hinted that Kallada G4 might be getting new Volvos soon. G4 appears to be a good alternative to Suresh Kallada - my last experience with them had been sour (mainly due to the awkwardly behaving cleaner).

A pic of the bus attached.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 12:54   #1053
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post

Now started the cat and mouse game between our bus and the Shama B9R. Both the buses remained around each other throughout the journey. The bus pulled over to the road side around 03:30 - after our driver got a call. The guy on the other side was the Shama B9R driver!

It seems there was a huge traffic pile up at Walayar - and the Shama guy was suggesting we take a detour. The Shama guy returned to the spot where we had stopped (at KG Chavadi). Both the buses took the Velanthavalam route. We traveled Velanthavalam-Kozhinjampara-Palakkad route to avoid Walayar checkpost.
Good presence of mind by the Shama driver and also credit to the relationship these two drivers seem to be sharing, may be a bond developed over time.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 13:14   #1054
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Good presence of mind by the Shama driver and also credit to the relationship these two drivers seem to be sharing, may be a bond developed over time.
Very true. It looked like the two drivers were good friends since long. Infact, Kallada G4 used to play around the Shama bus since a long time - even during my ride in the Shama Big Bus back in October 2010, the Kallada G4 Volvo (it was a 2004 Model MK-II B7R then). The 6 year old B7R easily kept pace with the 2010 model B9R - the drivers were co-ordinating with each other even then.

This morning, the Shama was trailing our Kallada G4 bus all the way from Kozhinjambara to Thrissur. In fact, our bus stopped near Palakkad bypass to check an hit on the left side of the body (our bus scraped against a stone on the way) - the Shama driver too stopped, got off to check damage!

In fact, there were three vehicles in our convoy via Kozhinjambara - Kallada G4's B9R followed by the Shama B9R followed by the Bharathi Multi-Axle Mercedes!
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Old 2nd September 2011, 17:11   #1055
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
This morning, the Shama was trailing our Kallada G4 bus all the way from Kozhinjambara to Thrissur. In fact, our bus stopped near Palakkad bypass to check an hit on the left side of the body (our bus scraped against a stone on the way) - the Shama driver too stopped, got off to check damage!
Camaraderie among drivers, even though they belong to the competition, is very much there. Once when I had taken an SRM multi-axle, it had stopped enroute to help out a Sofia multi-axle which had had some brake trouble. These guys ply the same route every day, and its natural for them to hit it off.

KPN multi-axles, plying the Kotayam route and Alleppey-Trivandrum route are getting notorious for late arrivals. A friend who took the KPN muti-axle for Kayamkulam, reached at 9am, with the bus starting at 7pm (bus was scheduled to leave at 6pm, and got delayed due to loading of parcels).

On a different note, what happened to Sofia Lines? They just went off the map one day. I had seen their multi-axles parked in a Padikal owned garage near Attibelle, this was 6 months back or so.

Last edited by unni.ak : 2nd September 2011 at 17:25.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 17:31   #1056
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Staying on the subject of KPN travels, I happened to book a Madurai - Cochin seat on KPN through redbus a couple of days back.

The departure time was given as 20:30 hours on my ticket. When I turned up at 20:20 hours, I found out that the bus had left at 20:15. The guys at KPN told me that the departure time had been revised a month ago and the same had not been updated on redbus.

Not only were the chaps at KPN dismissive of my requests for alternative travel arrangements (in such situations they usually put you on another bus plying on the same route), but were quite rude when I asked them why I had not been informed by phone, despite them having my contact number. I gave them a piece of my mind before leaving.

I have since written to redbus, asking them for a refund. Let us see what comes of it.

One word of advice - stay away from KPN, far away.

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Extremely Pathetic and disgusting service from one of the reputed Travels - KPN
Extremely pathetic buses with an even worse customer care. Please avoid it if you have a choice.
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KPN has grown beyond any reasonable control, the buses are no more owned directly instead a lot of guys have leased these buses to KPN for a daily share of the collections. They are living on borrowed time with the brand and network created in the earlier days.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 17:31   #1057
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Quote:
The driver hinted that Kallada G4 might be getting new Volvos soon. G4 appears to be a good alternative to Suresh Kallada - my last experience with them had been sour (mainly due to the awkwardly behaving cleaner).

A pic of the bus attached.
Good write up Binai. Was a regular passenger in Kallada G4 from starting days. Have to say that they had some very passenger friendly crew, many of them are with SRM & SHAMA now a days.There were some rude ones also, expecially cleaners..Seams like these guys are not with them these days.

In long distance trips, we can see such comaradeship among Bus crews, and no one knows when such comeradeship comes handy!!!!!!!

Last edited by GTO : 5th September 2011 at 14:30. Reason: Fixing quote tag
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Old 2nd September 2011, 17:56   #1058
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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I have since written to redbus, asking them for a refund. Let us see what comes of it.
I don't know how easy is to get a refund from Redbus in such situation.

I once booked Chennai - Kochi on a weekend a/c bus at much higher than normal rate but the bus provided was regular non a/c. My request for difference amount refund not happened even after months.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 18:14   #1059
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Staying on the subject of KPN travels, I happened to book a Madurai - Cochin seat on KPN through redbus a couple of days back.

The departure time was given as 20:30 hours on my ticket. When I turned up at 20:20 hours, I found out that the bus had left at 20:15. The guys at KPN told me that the departure time had been revised a month ago and the same had not been updated on redbus.

Not only were the chaps at KPN dismissive of my requests for alternative travel arrangements (in such situations they usually put you on another bus plying on the same route), but were quite rude when I asked them why I had not been informed by phone, despite them having my contact number. I gave them a piece of my mind before leaving.

I have since written to redbus, asking them for a refund. Let us see what comes of it.

One word of advice - stay away from KPN, far away.
KPN is the worst possible thing that ever happened to this industry. They suck to the core now a days. I had a much similar/worser experience with these guys. You can read about it a few pages back.

Travelling by KPN is the last thing I ll do.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 18:33   #1060
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Originally Posted by unni.ak View Post
Camaraderie among drivers, even though they belong to the competition, is very much there. Once when I had taken an SRM multi-axle, it had stopped enroute to help out a Sofia multi-axle which had had some brake trouble. These guys ply the same route every day, and its natural for them to hit it off.
True. Even I had witnessed something like this. I was traveling from Bangalore to Gulbarga on a KSRTC Airavat. The bus broke down in the middle of the night near Manvi (IIRC). The driver was frantically calling his depot workshop to check if anything temporary could be done, but his calls would not get through due to bad signals. After a while, A VRL Volvo going to Bidar stopped and the driver came out to check the problem. Apparently the VRL driver knew how to fix the problem albeit temporarily, so he did some temporary fix and made sure that our bus started off before he left.
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Old 2nd September 2011, 23:50   #1061
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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..
We stopped at Hosur (The HP pump with a McDonalds outlet) for fuel - the bus took in a good 458 litres of diesel. I gathered from the crew that they fuel only in one direction - unlike other operators who visit fuel pumps both ways. This measure saves time - a very good initiative.....
Though you may right from what crew has told you but all B9R can take upto 500 liters (200+200+100) with fuel filling on both sides.
And such a high capacity fuel tanks are provided only to facilitate one time fuel filling.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 16:57   #1062
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Though you may right from what crew has told you but all B9R can take upto 500 liters (200+200+100) with fuel filling on both sides.
And such a high capacity fuel tanks are provided only to facilitate one time fuel filling.
Operators usually fill up smaller amount of fuel, so that they have send smaller amounts of money with the driver/cleaner. In the case of my bus, the bill came to Rs. 20500.40 - that is a huge amount to be sent with drivers. I've noticed that the usually fill around 250lts of diesel each way - I guess they are given money before each trip.

A small correction - Volvo B9R comes with 600 lts tank capacity - the tanks are 300+150+150.

Side note: The Volvo website has finally been updated with brochures of all models they sell in India.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 17:27   #1063
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In many cases, operators tie up with specific petrol pumps and deal directly with them so that they dont have to send out cash with the drivers.
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Old 3rd September 2011, 17:56   #1064
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...
A small correction - Volvo B9R comes with 600 lts tank capacity - the tanks are 300+150+150.

Side note: The Volvo website has finally been updated with brochures of all models they sell in India.
I stand corrected Binai!!
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Old 4th September 2011, 18:00   #1065
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Went to Hyderabad on Friday by the SRM Multi Axle. The bus had only 6 passengers, despite that the bus left after a delay of about 30 minutes at Chennai Koyambedu, the delay was on account of a passenger who was insistent on booking luggage along with him. The drivers did not want to carry luggage as the feared issues at the Checkpost. Finally the passenger was shifted onto Bharathi with his luggage.

By sheer coincidence we were stopped by the Sales tax team who let us off after realizing the bus carried almost nothing in terms of passengers & luggage. While going I was feeling the ride was not very comfortable, I thought the road condition was bad. In the morning the driver was wanting to take it to the service center because he felt the bus was wobbling a bit and jumping, good to hear the driver thinking pro actively about checking problems rather than go back to Chennai and inform his office about it. I feel SRM is a good option now on the Chennai - Hyderabad and Chennai - Vizag routes. Now for the best part at Rs.775/- for Chennai - Hyderabad SRM is the lowest among Multi Axle rates.

With KPN & SRM now running Multi Axles on the Chennai - Hyderabad route, Parveen getting ready to introduce the first Mercedes Multi Axle on the route shortly, this sector is seeing some much needed competition to churn things around.
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