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Old 24th September 2011, 20:29   #1156
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Default Multi axle : Merc Vs Volvo

Had a back to back travel in Mercedes and Volvo from Chennai to Thiruvananthapuram and back . Here my review goes.

Che to Tvm (lead distance 780 kms):
Operator : Parveen Travels
Coach : Mercedes Benz O 500 R 2436 - 6x2
Reg No : KL 01 AY 5299
Ticket cost - Rs.1150/-
No of seats : 48 (semi sleeper - Last 4 row is semi reclining only)
Sch Departure : 20.00
Act Departure : 20.13
Seat : LH 3rd window seat from last -just above the rear axle (Same seat in to and Fro travel)
Kms covered by coach: ~ 3.3 lk km
Arrival : 0730
Travel time : ~11 hrs (steering hrs)
Total time : 11.30 min ( 30 min break for dinner)
Avg speed : ~ 70 kmph

Travel feedback:
A small kit with a apple juice, pine apple biscut and a 200ml water bottle was provided apart from the shall. Dinner was in a good, neat hotel. Only Parveen's stops here I guess. Movie was played for sometime till dinner( with mild sound) and later it was stopped. Two drivers were there and both were equally rough and had all chances to over take and corner the side vehicles.
Braking was panic and there were 3 to 4 cases. Even post Marthandam he was puching other ongoing vehicle for over taking.

Coach Feedback:
Pros:
-Seat comfort from cushion was good - extremely soft and supportive. (Make - Harita crystal).
- Suspension was very good. Driver was very harsh and he drove very fast over the speed breakers near toll gates. But I enjoyed that as the suspension was very good - Adequate enough to feel comfortable.
- Roll over was highly supressed and chassis was very sturdy.
- Reading lights was nicely focussed (left one focussing on window passenger and right one towards aisle passenger)
- Less drivetrain noise (engine - GB)


Cons:
- High exhaust brake noise intruding into saloon
- AC flaps, hat racks were flimsy
- Side panels in the side walls were flimsy
- Hat racks width is small suitable for only medium size travel bags.
- Idle vibration is midely felt in the last row
- Gangway not sufficiently wider.I am a lean person and it was difficult(or to be careful) for me freely walk in the gangway.
- AC free flow was directed towards the space between side window and hatrack. Quite annoying as the air flow is still there even if you close the AC vents for window side passenger -Major Irritating pain point.

Tvm - Che:

Operator : Rathimeena Travels ( Due to some problem we were asked to travel in KPN from Tvm to Nagerkoil)
Coach : Volvo 9400 XL
Reg no : KL 01 BA 1999
Ticket cost - Rs.1050/-
No of seats : 44 (semi sleeper - Last row is driver berth)
Sch Departure : 20.00
Act Departure : 20.30
Seat : LH 3rd window seat from last (just above the rear axle) - Same seat
Kms covered : ~ 3.3 lk km
Travel time : 11 hrs (steering hrs)
Total time : 11.30 min (15 min break for small break and coach change from K.P.N to Rathimeena in Nagerkoil)

Travel feedback:
In K.P.N, after a long time the driver played 80's Ilayaraja songs. I really enjoyed that 1.30 min travel from Tvm to Nagerkoil. From Nagerkoil we were changed to Rathimeena. Here we were given with a water bottle and shall.
Movie was played but not with a disturbing sound. No panic braking and drive was smooth.

Coach Feedback:
Pros:
- seats(Harita VFX) were supportive but not as soft as the one in Mercs.
-AC free flow was directed towards hat racks and it was a good move by Volvo.
- Side panels and pillars were with anti skid floor coating unlike flimsy vaccum formed panels in Mercs.
-AC vents with flow control was very good.
-Hatracks were rigid and had slighly higher space compared to Merc
- Larger gangway

Cons:
- Engine noise was little higher compared to Mercs.
-Exhaust brake noise was also audible.
-Suspension is little tough as compared to Mercs - In my view the location of tag/dead axle making the difference.
-Side roll was slightly higher.
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Old 24th September 2011, 21:38   #1157
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Default Re: Multi axle : Merc Vs Volvo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
In K.P.N, after a long time the driver played 80's Ilayaraja songs. I really enjoyed that 1.30 min travel from Tvm to Nagerkoil.

+1 to that! The whole travel experience changes with old Raja melodies.


If given the choice, which bus would you take again? My question is based on how you feel when the bus is cruising at top speed? Vibration/is engine note strained or smooth? In Ashok Leyland intercity cruisers, at top speed you have this awesome exhaust note that I enjoy all night; did you have a similar experience with the Merc and Volvo?
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Old 24th September 2011, 22:03   #1158
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Default Re: Multi axle : Merc Vs Volvo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
Coach : Mercedes Benz O 500 R 2436 - 6x2
- Roll over was highly supressed and chassis was very sturdy.
Coach : Volvo 9400 XL
-Side roll was slightly higher.
I felt exactly the opposite! The Merc Multi-axle literally threw me side-to-side, while the B9R was well behaved. My observations were on the Kuthiran Ghats.

Interestingly, in a recent ride in a new Volvo B9R, the ride was even worse. Volvo suspension is going in for a toss - the newer ones are very rough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
Cons:
- Hat racks width is small suitable for only medium size travel bags.
Very true. When I took the Merc, the attendant asked me to leave by bad in the undercarriage - It was a small bag, and still he did not let me take it into the cabin. I realised on getting into the coach that he was right! The hatrack is too narrow, and its very flimsy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
- Gangway not sufficiently wider.I am a lean person and it was difficult(or to be careful) for me freely walk in the gangway.
+1. I thought I felt it due to my XXXL size! The gangway is very narrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
- AC free flow was directed towards the space between side window and hatrack. Quite annoying as the air flow is still there even if you close the AC vents for window side passenger -Major Irritating pain point.
+2. This is exactly the point I had highlighted in my earlier review. Its very annoying. I had kept the air-vents closed, but the airflow from the vents directed at the window panes were irritating. I developed very bad cold by the next morning after the continuous assault from this vent.

This vents also cause a lot of condensation on the window panes.
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Old 25th September 2011, 08:58   #1159
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Now VRL is starting Chennai Mumbai via Pune from 1 Oct. Wish they had started it 10 years back I would have gladly taken it consdeing the horrible train alternatives I had (arriving in th middle of night on trains tailored to reach Mumba in the early morning is not my favorite Chennai Pune timings).
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Old 25th September 2011, 10:01   #1160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKMCE View Post
Now VRL is starting Chennai Mumbai via Pune from 1 Oct. Wish they had started it 10 years back I would have gladly taken it consdeing the horrible train alternatives I had (arriving in th middle of night on trains tailored to reach Mumba in the early morning is not my favorite Chennai Pune timings).
Was wondering for a long time why no one was looking at this option. Could be easily covered in 20 hours if the bus does not get into Bangalore. Start at around 2 in the afternoon you could be in Mumbai by about 10 in the morning.
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Old 25th September 2011, 11:57   #1161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftdiesel View Post
+1 to that! The whole travel experience changes with old Raja melodies.
That's a true statement!
Memory will last for long!


Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftdiesel View Post
If given the choice, which bus would you take again? My question is based on how you feel when the bus is cruising at top speed? Vibration/is engine note strained or smooth?
In highway crusing though B9R was little swaying, its not to the level that I will not go for that. YOu may also understand all these are noted and mentioned just to give a overall feel and you really cant differentiate much to the extent that you should avoid them again.
Though overall I will have a slight inclination towards Merc but need not be always (quite confusing right !)

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftdiesel View Post
In Ashok Leyland intercity cruisers, at top speed you have this awesome exhaust note that I enjoy all night; did you have a similar experience with the Merc and Volvo?
Merc and Volvo exhaust notes are not that pleasant and was disturbing only.

BTW,I am with you for the AL 12M's exhaust note but you cannot anything similar of that kind in Merc and Volvo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
.... Now its Bangalore-Ahmedabad of VRL.
Travel time as I was told is about 30 hrs.
Seriously they should operate 12M sleepers instead of Semi sleeper from Volvo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
Tvm - Che:

Operator : Rathimeena Travels ( Due to some problem we were asked to travel in KPN from Tvm to Nagerkoil)
Coach : Volvo 9400 XL
Reg no : KL 01 BA 1999..
Kms covered : ~ 3.3 lk km
...
This coach has covered 1.75 kms only.
Error from Copy and Paste!

Last edited by GTO : 26th September 2011 at 11:50. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 26th September 2011, 18:36   #1162
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Took KPN A/C Sleeper from Coimbatore to Chennai and reached today morning. Started at 8:40 PM and reached Koyembedu at 7:15 AM. Normally the bus used to reach at 6 AM - I think after the horrible accident KPN has reduced the speed. Surprisingly,Apart from the driver there was a cleaner present in the bus.

The coach was an AL 12 M, built by VEERA, Manufacturing date as OCT-2007. The single berth on the left side was horrible, the width was insufficient and a thin guy like me was finding it hard to sleep there. I used to find the singlr berth in Prakash made buses comfortable.

The Drive was okay, but the driver started honking heavily from 5 AM onwards on every vehicle in front literally making every one in the bust to wake up.
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Old 29th September 2011, 08:25   #1163
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

KaSRTC inagurates its Merc service to Ernakulam, Hyderabad and Vijayawada today. They are also coming with new series called "Karnataka Vaibhav" (?Veera built) to nearby destinations.
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Old 29th September 2011, 10:41   #1164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolclouds View Post
KaSRTC inagurates its Merc service to Ernakulam, Hyderabad and Vijayawada today. They are also coming with new series called "Karnataka Vaibhav" (?Veera built) to nearby destinations.
Six MB's are delivered and another 4 are expected to be delivered in October.
Intercity Bus travel reviews-ksrtc.jpg

Last edited by Ashley2 : 29th September 2011 at 10:43.
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Old 29th September 2011, 11:41   #1165
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
That's a true statement!
Memory will last for long!




In highway crusing though B9R was little swaying, its not to the level that I will not go for that.

Merc and Volvo exhaust notes are not that pleasant and was disturbing only.

BTW,I am with you for the AL 12M's exhaust note but you cannot anything similar of that kind in Merc and Volvo.


Travel time as I was told is about 30 hrs.
Seriously they should operate 12M sleepers instead of Semi sleeper from Volvo.

On swaying ,dunno if others feel same way ,but the Isuzu bus does make one feel very uncomfortable .I always have this feeling that this particular bus could always topple with the amount of swaying I see when on the winding ghat roads

12M sleeper buses would mean one has to always lie down .And doing this for 30 hours will be a pain for sure .BTW i dont understand as to why would a B9R take 30 hours to reach Ahmedabad .I just hope they dont enter Mumbai or Pune ! That would be a real shame .

On exhaust notes,my favorite ones are the ALL Viking/Cheetah buses during the pre-Volvo era on an uphill stretch .I also remember Telco buses with TC engines and ACGL bodies ,which used to be so silent in the nights when in top gear .

The present lot of buses just suck when it comes to the exhaust notes !
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Old 29th September 2011, 13:22   #1166
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
Six MB's are delivered and another 4 are expected to be delivered in October.
Attachment 817491
"Karnataka Vaibhav" seems to be built by Veera on TML LPO1618 chassis.
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Old 29th September 2011, 14:05   #1167
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
Six MB's are delivered and another 4 are expected to be delivered in October
What's the difference between the Rajahamsa class and the Karnataka Vaibhava class of services? There used to be some Meghadoota (AC coaches built on AL 12M) buses, but these are not seen now a days. Are they phased out?
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Old 29th September 2011, 21:02   #1168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
What's the difference between the Rajahamsa class and the Karnataka Vaibhava class of services? There used to be some Meghadoota (AC coaches built on AL 12M) buses, but these are not seen now a days. Are they phased out?
Karnataka Vaibhava class of services have 48 seats with limited recline, as compared to 44 seats in a Rajahamsa with better recline. Vaibhava is basically the "Rajahamsa Compact Seat" with a new name.

Meghadoota are on their way out - this was supposed to be replaced with "AC Rajahamsa" - but my sources say that service was not a big success. Perhaps KaSRTC is re-thinking on the AC Rajahamsa part.
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Old 29th September 2011, 21:28   #1169
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I used to travel a lot between mumbai and bangalore in volvos, preferably run by VRL. I liked their service the most. Sharma was my 2nd choice if I failed to get good seats in VRL. But then one day on my way back from bangalore (was travelling in my car for a change) I saw a VRL B9R which had a very nasty accident. Started having second thoughts of travelling by volvos! And to top it all very recently, on 1st Sept (remember the date coz it was the starting of ganesh chaturthi), saw 2 B9R meet with accident. One was a head-on collision with a red KSRTC that was moving in the wrong lane, right in front of my eyes! It was shocking. And if that was not enough, a few hundred kilometres down the road saw another B9R that had an accident. This one just OVERTURNED!!!! Couldn't believe my eyes. How does a multi axel B9R volvo just overturn even after having traction control and height and suspension rigidity adjustment and all that stuff??!! Stopped travelling by volvo since then.

Both the volvos were under Sharma Travels.

Last edited by Amartya : 29th September 2011 at 22:19. Reason: Merged back to back posts.
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Old 30th September 2011, 09:35   #1170
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

To my observation, in Sharma Travels, the same two drivers, take the vehicle from Bangalore to Mumbai and drive it back. Say driving for 42 hours could certainly have some impact. In between they have 3 to 4 hours interval. If they are delayed for any reason, they may not have any rest time also. May be, for a quick shower and starting yet again.
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