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Old 20th November 2011, 09:48   #1246
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Binai

You have give na very good description of why some of us do not pefer the KSRTC Volvos. You dont pay top dollars to reach Bangalore in 13 hours (your bus would not have reached Shnatinagar before 9 .30 am!!!). The Sharma Non AC bus takes the same time at half the cost.

I am no an of SRMs super speed either and when I used to travel between BLR and EKM, the best option for me was always the KeSRTC Tiruvalla Super Deluxe. Most of the private buses AC or Non AC are mostly for the Madviala crowd and I could never find one reliable private operstor who would condistenly reach Kalasipalaym before 7 AM. In fact one of them SPS was notorious for terminating trips at Madiwala half the time (since their garage is somwhere near WIlson Garden) although they are supposed to contnue till Kalasipalayam.


Also I thought the KSRTC Airavaths between BLR and EKM were a single driver operation??? THe last time I travelled on one, (the 6,30 PM from Shantinagar) there was no second driver (or driver/conductor). The TVM Airvaths had a two driver system but has the EKM service also started the same???
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Old 20th November 2011, 09:56   #1247
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You have give na very good description of why some of us do not pefer the KSRTC Volvos. You dont pay top dollars to reach Bangalore in 13 hours (your bus would not have reached Shnatinagar before 9 .30 am!!!). The Sharma Non AC bus takes the same time at half the cost.
I am not fan of KaSRTC Volvos either - but a fan of the corporation for bringing in such buses.

If you had read my post well, you'd have realised that my bus lost over 2 hours at a traffic block in Walayar. During my last trip in an Airavat Club Class (Less than a month ago), the bus did Shantinagar to Thrissur BS in 8 hours flat - that is quite a decent timing considering the shape of roads after Perundurai (Chengampalli, to be exact). And this 8 hours also included two breaks (20 mins and 10 mins - 30 mins in all).

But, the driving was horrible - if the driver was making use of the power properly, we'd have surely reached atleast an hour earlier - thats a fact. It is these horrible drivers who drove me away from KaSRTC a couple of years back. My return trip to Kerala is well likely to be my last trip in KaSRTC for a long time now (unless the driver impresses me with performance).

About the two driver system - these days, every operator is sending only single drivers for trips upto 10~12 hours long (in Volvo/Mercs). KaSRTC sends a driver + driver-cum-conductor. They would exchange places as and when required. From what I saw in the TVM-BNG Multi-Axle, the story was same there as well - I saw only two uniformed guys getting off the bus when it stopped for Dinner near Angamaly. It is possible that the third guy got off later.
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Old 20th November 2011, 20:27   #1248
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My requirement of a Kerala Bangalore bus (Volvo or non volvo- private or public) is a consistent arrival latest by 7 AM. For me BLR is Kalasipalayam or Majestic or Shantinagar as I live in North Bangalore. Anything later I risk loosing half a days leave as I dont have the luxury of Flexi Time.

For all of 5 years when I did this commute the only buses which satisfied this requirement on a consistent basis (7 AM arrival at Bangalore Down Town) was the KeSRTC buses. You name the bus I had tried almost all of them. Only KeSRTC delivered a consistent early morning arrival. All others were consistently inconsistent!!!. Whether it is the first Non AC or the first Volvo, for all private Operators or KaSRTC it was the same. For those for whom Bangalore = Silk Board/Madivala it may be different, but then I do not have to tell you,the later the bus gets into Madivala the longer it takes to reach downtown (many like SPS do not bother half the time).

However KeSRTC had a big problem, the buses which reached early morning were the 8PM/9 PM Trichur Bangalore AC buses, the 9 PM super deluxe from Palghat and the Tiruvalla Bangalore Super Deluxe. Of this only the last was from EKM but you could not resrve a ticket from there (although you could reserve a ticket the other way).

Thankfully I no longer have to do this trip!!!!

As for the Tirvandrum Airavath - there is no third crew - it is a driver and a driver + conductor, alteast during the couple of times I travelled. EKM used to have a dedicated conductor and only a single driver (may be things are different for the Club Class operation).
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Old 21st November 2011, 18:50   #1249
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I returned to Kerala yesterday night from Bangalore - it was the very same Multi-Axle Mercedes Bus that I had traveled in on October 27, 2011 - the bus was KA-01-F-9278.

The bus works 2120 Bangalore-Ernakulam Schedule - the Multi-Axle Mercs have drop at Thrissur BS, while the Multi-Axle Volvo goes through the bypass. Since I had to be at home by 0800, I had no option but to take the Mercedes again.

This time I was seated in Seat #29 - it was seat #36 last time (just one row ahead). Interestingly, I was in Seat #29 for both ways of the journey - so this would be a Volvo-Merc Comparision - sitting at the same point in both the buses.

The seat in the Merc was cramped - once the guy at the front reclined compeletely, my leg was hitting the bottle holder everytime I moved - the height adjustable leg rest is a big pain - it never locks in the mid positions. I had my leg dangling almost all the way. Thankfully the aisle seat was empty, and I had two seats at my disposal (that has been the case in all the three Merc Multi-Axle rides I had till date!)

The bus started at 2126 from Shanti Nagar (6 minutes late - the conductor was desperately trying to woo in more passengers). We had pick ups at Dairy Circle, Madiwala and Electronic City - noticed for the first time that KaSRTC has posted Inspectors at all these pick-up points. The conductor had to get his waybill signed at each point (that is time taking though).

The bus stopped for Dinner at Krishna Inn/CCD/McDonalds at Shoolagiri - this seems to be the regular place for most KaSRTC buses now. Interestingly, the driver did not switch off the engine during the break - it was more cold outside the bus than inside, and hence I prefered staying inside the bus (after the customary photo shots). They had played a 2011 release Bollywood flick - a slapstick comedy movie (forgot its name, but revolves around a beauty pageant, and two romeos (one is Tushar Kapoor) trying to woo a girl. The break was from 2252 to 2316.

I tried desperately to sleep - but no such luck. Sleep was intermittent - the ugly always airvents made matters more complicated. The cramped legroom added to the woes. The engine wasn't as loud as it was last month - may be the engine settled down after its running-in. It was still loud - noisy compared to the Volvo B9R. The transmission made a lot of "Grrr" noise - the retarder was loud as well. The noise is well controlled in a B9R (I was sitting at exactly the same seat/row in both the buses - so a fair comparision).

Ride quality - again, the Volvo was slightly better. The roads in Kerala are the best testing track for any bus - take my word

The bus took yet another break in the morning - from 0410 to 0423. We were 16 minutes late compared to my earlier journey, at this point. It appears that every KaSRTC bus on this route stops at "Hotel Amirta" (yes -it was "Amirta") at Ettimadai (right next to the road that leads to Amrita University Campus) in Coimbatore.

I slept a bit after getting into Kerala - there were no traffic blocks at Walayar and we could make it to Thrissur by 0630 (last month, the same bus had reached at 0558, despite a 30 minute delay in departing from Bangalore!). The crew were courteous - the conductor came to the rear and pulled down the rear LCD screen so that people at the back too saw the movie well.

The AC was left on during breaks - people who were asleep were not disturbed. There were about 38 passengers in the 47 seater bus - not bad for a bus running in the "opposite" direction (All the crowd on Sunday is from Kerala to Bangalore, and I was traveling Bangalore to Kerala).

The driver was sane - no rash overtakes. He maintained steady speeds most of the time - the top speed according to my GPS is 104kmph. He did not use the horn much at night. They had installed a curtain to save passengers in the first row from headlamps of the oncoming vehicles - this curtain wasn't there last month. The bus did much higher speeds last month - so I guess they've installed speed restricting devices, with 100kmph as the set speed.

Merc seriously needs to get ergonomics right - the aisle is too narrow. The seats felt very cramped this time - may be that was an issue with the row that I was in - but row-wise variations shouldn't happen as well. The overhead rack is truly a "hat" rack - nothing bigger than a normal Laptop backpack would sit in there. Its too shallow as well. The messed up Aircon vents need to be changed - the reason for having Air-con vents near the windows is beyond me. I was seriously thinking of stuffing paper into the vents - but later moved to the aisle seat instead.

I repeated my promise again - not to travel by the Merc again.

Attaching a few pics - just random shots.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 09:30   #1250
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Originally Posted by binaiks View Post

The seat in the Merc was cramped - once the guy at the front reclined compeletely, my leg was hitting the bottle holder everytime I moved - the height adjustable leg rest is a big pain - it never locks in the mid positions. I had my leg dangling almost all the way. Thankfully the aisle seat was empty, and I had two seats at my disposal (that has been the case in all the three Merc Multi-Axle rides I had till date!)

******
Ride quality - again, the Volvo was slightly better. The roads in Kerala are the best testing track for any bus - take my word

************
Merc seriously needs to get ergonomics right - the aisle is too narrow. The seats felt very cramped this time - may be that was an issue with the row that I was in - but row-wise variations shouldn't happen as well. The overhead rack is truly a "hat" rack - nothing bigger than a normal Laptop backpack would sit in there. Its too shallow as well. The messed up Aircon vents need to be changed - the reason for having Air-con vents near the windows is beyond me. I was seriously thinking of stuffing paper into the vents - but later moved to the aisle seat instead.

I repeated my promise again - not to travel by the Merc again.

Attaching a few pics - just random shots.

cant agree more .
I think the culprit is sutlej bus body builders.
I feel that the ride quality , the ergonomics everything is due to their below merc standard quality . I have used merc buses in UK and the experience was much much better.

I had posted in the Mercedes benz thread my review on the Merc Multi axle that i took from Hyderbad to Bangalore . Honestly I was surprised by the bad ride quality of these buses .

On another note , I travelled by Rajahamsa from Calicut to Bangalore on this Sunday . Oh my boy , never ever travel in this bus if u want to reach your destination within the expected time .
We started calicut bus station at 10 .10 and was expected to reach Bangalore atleast by 7 . We met another Rajahamsa in the ghat section , it was having an overheating issue and so our driver stopped to help his colleagues . After 30 - 40 minutes we left , but then we were following the other bus which was going at less than probably 10 Kms / hr speed .
Well I got bored of this and fell asleep .
I woke up at 5 am in the morning expecting that we would be in the mysore - blore highway . Again Rajahamsa surprised me , Mysore was still 1 hr away ! . And the break was almost 30 minutes long , I went to our driver and asked when will we reach blore , he said atleast 9:30 or 10 !!! .

Well I lost all my hope of reaching office on time , so went and had a coffee , did some chat to the locals about weather in my broken Kannada .

Finally after all struggle , we reached Shanthinagar bus station at 10 in the morning .

So folks travelling in that direction never ever use Rajahamsa. Only Airavat or Corona sleeper if you want KaSRTC .
You can even take KeSRTC super delux / super express/ super fast , but never Rajahamsa if you want to reach on time .
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Old 22nd November 2011, 10:17   #1251
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You can even take KeSRTC super delux / super express/ super fast , but never Rajahamsa if you want to reach on time .
I would replace "can even" with "should". KeSRTC generally takes you to the destination faster, and they mostly stick to their schedule. Haven't seen them take extended breaks too

The Super Delux and Super Express (with Air suspension) buses are more comfortable as well, compared to the Rajahamsa buses. I found the leg-room in the Super Delux buses to be better than that in even Volvos.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 10:45   #1252
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We started calicut bus station at 10 .10 and was expected to reach Bangalore atleast by 7 . We met another Rajahamsa in the ghat section , it was having an overheating issue and so our driver stopped to help his colleagues . After 30 - 40 minutes we left , but then we were following the other bus which was going at less than probably 10 Kms / hr speed .
Well I got bored of this and fell asleep .
I woke up at 5 am in the morning expecting that we would be in the mysore - blore highway . Again Rajahamsa surprised me , Mysore was still 1 hr away ! . And the break was almost 30 minutes long , I went to our driver and asked when will we reach blore , he said atleast 9:30 or 10 !!! .
Any idea what route did the bus take? AFAIK, KaSRTC Rajahamsas do not have a "pass" to cross the Muthanga Check post at night. They use the passes for their Airavat/Ambaari buses.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 12:34   #1253
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I would replace "can even" with "should". KeSRTC generally takes you to the destination faster, and they mostly stick to their schedule. Haven't seen them take extended breaks too

The Super Delux and Super Express (with Air suspension) buses are more comfortable as well, compared to the Rajahamsa buses. I found the leg-room in the Super Delux buses to be better than that in even Volvos.
Yes I agree , but then booking the tickets online , is that possible ?I know there is a website but when I checked it , my browser was mentioning its infected with virus and asked me not to proceed . If you had some experiences please share .

Another factor is that KeSRTC stops its service at mysore satellite bus stand and its very far for us the IT junta .

Super deluxe buses are really comfortable , but never got a chance to see how it is for the super express .

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Any idea what route did the bus take? AFAIK, KaSRTC Rajahamsas do not have a "pass" to cross the Muthanga Check post at night. They use the passes for their Airavat/Ambaari buses.
Our rajahamsa took the Mananthavady , kutta route . Yes the Airavat and Corona buses pass through the Muthanga check posts .
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Old 22nd November 2011, 12:45   #1254
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Yes I agree , but then booking the tickets online , is that possible ?I know there is a website but when I checked it , my browser was mentioning its infected with virus and asked me not to proceed . If you had some experiences please share .
What browser are you using? The Kerala SRTC online booking site is still open on my computer and there is no virus attack. You can try using this direct link. See if this helps.

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Another factor is that KeSRTC stops its service at mysore satellite bus stand and its very far for us the IT junta .
Thats right - but then KaSRTC operates a very frequent connection bus between Satellite and Majestic - although this means changing many buses, i guess you would still save a lot on running time. In case you stay anywhere near Jayanagar/Silk Board/ORR area, you just need to get off at Nayandahalli junction and you can get one of those 500 series Volvos.

They have a Bangalore-Kozhikode Super Deluxe running over night, but they don't have one on Kozhikode-Bangalore route (the service in this section is over the day).

About the Super Express - its another 2x3 seater bus, but with rear air-suspension.

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Our rajahamsa took the Mananthavady , kutta route . Yes the Airavat and Corona buses pass through the Muthanga check posts .
The Tholpetty-Kutta-Gonikoppa section is existent - so don't expect quick runs! But yes, KaSRTC is infamous for taking too many breaks. KeSRTC is better off in this respect - they usually take only one break (or may be two if the run is longer)
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Old 22nd November 2011, 12:50   #1255
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Yes I agree , but then booking the tickets online , is that possible ?I know there is a website but when I checked it , my browser was mentioning its infected with virus and asked me not to proceed . If you had some experiences please share .
The website, for some reason is shown as unsafe. But 95% of my KSRTC tickets are booked online from that site itself. The payment and associated pages are Verisign certified, and you can verify their authenticity at the verisign website too. No phishing there.

This is the direct link to the Online reservation site:
http://210.212.239.117:8080/KsrtcOnlineR/


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Another factor is that KeSRTC stops its service at mysore satellite bus stand and its very far for us the IT junta.
Depends on which route you take. If you're taking the Coimbatore-Salem-Hosur route, you can very well get down at Bommanahalli, E-City, Madiwala, etc. All KSRTC buses start and terminate their services at the Satellite BS. Similarly, all SETC buses start and terminate services at Shantinagar BS. It's a part of the directives issued by the Bangalore Traffic Police, AFAIK.

However, if you can endure a cramped mini-bus ride from the Satellite road BS to Majestic for 15 minutes (yes, that's all it took me on a busy monday morning 11 o'clock) and you can have a comfortable ride in any Volvo towards the southern side of the city, you can take the Mysore route too.

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Super deluxe buses are really comfortable , but never got a chance to see how it is for the super express .
Both the Super Deluxe and Super Express buses have air suspension at the rear only. Ride quality is the same in either. Since the SEs have a 3x2 seating, seats are a bit cramped compared to the 2x2 seating of the SDX. I find the Tata Super Express buses a bit more loud, compared to the AL Super Deluxe buses

Last edited by silversteed : 22nd November 2011 at 12:54.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 13:02   #1256
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What browser are you using? The Kerala SRTC online booking site is still open on my computer and there is no virus attack. You can try using this direct link. See if this helps.

yes its working , I created one profile as well . Lemme try it out may be next time . Thank you for that information



Thats right - but then KaSRTC operates a very frequent connection bus between Satellite and Majestic - although this means changing many buses, i guess you would still save a lot on running time. In case you stay anywhere near Jayanagar/Silk Board/ORR area, you just need to get off at Nayandahalli junction and you can get one of those 500 series Volvos.

But I live towards East Bangalore , Indiranagar . So I will have to go to Majestic and catch a 314 / 335 series volvo buses .Overall time taken should still be less


They have a Bangalore-Kozhikode Super Deluxe running over night, but they don't have one on Kozhikode-Bangalore route (the service in this section is over the day).

About the Super Express - its another 2x3 seater bus, but with rear air-suspension.


The Tholpetty-Kutta-Gonikoppa section is existent - so don't expect quick runs! But yes, KaSRTC is infamous for taking too many breaks. KeSRTC is better off in this respect - they usually take only one break (or may be two if the run is longer)
At the same time any private services between Calicut and Bangalore take the same route and reach atleast by 7 AM in Bangalore . The best service till date in a non - volvo bus was Kalpaka Travels . On time , very very comfortable ( doesnt even have the rocking motion that some of these buses have )
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Old 22nd November 2011, 13:09   #1257
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However, if you can endure a cramped mini-bus ride from the Satellite road BS to Majestic for 15 minutes (yes, that's all it took me on a busy monday morning 11 o'clock) and you can have a comfortable ride in any Volvo towards the southern side of the city, you can take the Mysore route too.
Cramped Mini-bus ride? They are history now. KaSRTC has replaced those rickety mini-buses with brand new BS-III Ashok Leyland Viking buses - these buses have the regular city bus layout (like the ones in BMTC's Suvarna design). These buses are branded as "Samparka Sarige" and they run every 10 minutes from Satellite BS and Kempegowda BS (Majestic).

The frequency would be erratic if there is a traffic block - the end to end running time is often around 20~25 minutes depending on the traffic. The fare is Rs. 7, and the service runs non stop between KBS and MSBS (Satellite). There are some 10 buses doing this circuit now, and there would be atleast one bus waiting at the Bus stations at any point of time (unless there is a major traffic jam and the buses remain stuck on the route).

Some images of those buses:
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Old 22nd November 2011, 13:49   #1258
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The best service till date in a non - volvo bus was Kalpaka Travels . On time , very very comfortable ( doesnt even have the rocking motion that some of these buses have )
I'm surprised that the Kalpaka non-AC bus is so comfortable! Because, that particular bus doesn't have an Air suspension at all. I see their bus leave Madiwala every single day, and each time I used to think about the condition of the passengers on the route.

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KaSRTC has replaced those rickety mini-buses with brand new BS-III Ashok Leyland Viking buses
Thank you, Binai for those pics :-) I would've preferred some SLFs or LFs there, instead of regular vikings. Most people would have luggage, and lifting a heavy bag up 2 steps is easier than 3 steps. If dreams and wishes were horses...

Last edited by silversteed : 22nd November 2011 at 14:11.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 14:01   #1259
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I'm surprised that the Kalpaka non-AC bus is so comfortable! Because, that particular bus doesn't have an Air suspension at all. I see their bus leave Madiwala every single day, and each time I used to think about the condition of the passengers on the route.
Well even I was surprised all throughout my journey . But I found that the bus is smaller than some of the other buses . May be it was a brand new bus ? Next time i see it , I am going to take the pic and post it here .

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Cramped Mini-bus ride? They are history now. KaSRTC has replaced those rickety mini-buses with brand new BS-III Ashok Leyland Viking buses - these buses have the regular city bus layout (like the ones in BMTC's Suvarna design). These buses are branded as "Samparka Sarige" and they run every 10 minutes from Satellite BS and Kempegowda BS (Majestic).

Some images of those buses:
Wow thats a truck load of information with pics . How you manage to get these . T Bhp really helps souls like me to get the best information . Thanks Binaiks . Next time I wont be hesitant to catch a Kerala Ksrtc from Calicut just because it stops at the Mysore satellite bus stand .

Quote:
Depends on which route you take. If you're taking the Coimbatore-Salem-Hosur route, you can very well get down at Bommanahalli, E-City, Madiwala, etc.
Well , as we come from the other side of the state , via Mysore , its the first and last point within the Bangalore city .
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Old 23rd November 2011, 18:31   #1260
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18 KPN Omni Buses failed fitness test in Chennai RTO and denied permit.

Now after the recent fire accidents, TN RTO had finally woken up. Anyways good start at least.

Source,

18 omni buses fail fitness test, denied permit - The Times of India

The news Says,
Quote:
CHENNAI: Last week, officials from the K K Nagar RTO rejected the fitness certificates of 18 Volvo buses belonging to KPN, a private omni bus operator, on the grounds that the emergency windows did not comply with the Motor Vehicles Act. They said that a recent Madras high court has asked them to be strict with emergency exits and speed governors.
"We realized that the windows in these buses could not be opened," said a RTO official.

The KPN management has accepted this and says that they have no choice but to comply with the order.
"We are trying to see if we can rework the body and then come back for inspections," said the manager of KPN, Periyanan.
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