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Old 21st February 2012, 20:27   #1456
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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
The bus departed by 1845 and the whole thing was comfortable - blankets, water, staff etc. KSRTC sure knows how to spoil you!
The only grouse about the Airavat/Airavat Club Class service is that they are often unpredictable. One cannot really count on them to arrive on time at the destination. Some drivers are fast, while some others waste a lot of time in breaks.

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Something that struck me : every time the bus was on a descent, the driver used the retarder brake along with regular braking. Each time he enabled the retarded brake, the Handbrake sign came on on the console.
The indication of Retarder is very similar to that of the handbrake. The Retarder indicator has an "R" inside the regular handbrake symbol i.e., (O) symbol.

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I travelled from Bangalore to Palakkad in the 1944-BLR-EKM KaSRTC Airavat Club Class (Merc Multi-axle), on Thursday. The bus left St.John's Hospital junction at 20:20hrs (late by 20min)....The scheduled time of arrival at Palakkad was 0259hrs according to the website, but the bus reached Palakkad only at 04:15hrs. When I enquired with the crew, they said the usual time was around 4 o'clock, and the information in the website is wrong.
Interestingly, the 1944BNGEKM Mercedes Multi, 2110BNGTRC Volvo-Multi Axle and 2120BNGEKM Mercedes Multi all reach Palakkad approximately one behind the other. The 1944 bus would reach around 0415, the 2110 bus around 0430 (this one goes to Palakkad BS) and the 2120 bus around 0445~0500. The 2110BNGTRC is the best service of all - although this bus goes to CBE BS and PLKD BS, this guy lands up at Thrissur by 0600~0630 sharp.

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Old 21st February 2012, 22:17   #1457
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Is the good old Thiruvalla super deluxe still running?? I love the bus for the fact that it always reaches Aluva around 5 AM, very important for me on weekend trips when you need to squeeze out every momemt you get. The crew are also always friendly and I rember the night when India and Pakistan were playing the World Cup at mohali and the Second driver and conductor breaking the news of the Indian victory to the passengers as the bus was pulling into Salem Bus stand on its way to Kerala. As far es the Volvos go (Public or Private), other than the KE/KA SRTC Trivandrum bound Vovlos is there any BLR Kerala service which puts me down at Aluva bye pass around 5-5.30???

I am planning to travel VRL soon between Mumbai and Bangalore. Had posted a query on another thread whether to go for Neeta or VRL and all those who replied all are unanimous on VRL. From their good reputation, hope they start Kerala services soon!!!
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Old 22nd February 2012, 00:07   #1458
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Is the good old Thiruvalla super deluxe still running?? I love the bus for the fact that it always reaches Aluva around 5 AM, very important for me on weekend trips when you need to squeeze out every momemt you get. The crew are also always friendly and I rember the night when India and Pakistan were playing the World Cup at mohali and the Second driver and conductor breaking the news of the Indian victory to the passengers as the bus was pulling into Salem Bus stand on its way to Kerala...
Yes, the BGLR-TVLA Super Deluxe still runs. Departs from Mysore road Satellite Bus stand at 18:15hrs. There's also a BGLR-EKM Super Express that departs from the same bus stand at 16:15hrs. Might be a bit early for you though.
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Old 22nd February 2012, 09:55   #1459
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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As far es the Volvos go (Public or Private), other than the KE/KA SRTC Trivandrum bound Vovlos is there any BLR Kerala service which puts me down at Aluva bye pass around 5-5.30???
The Bangalore-Trivandrum buses of Private guys (SRM, Shama, Kallada) should leave you at Aluva by 5~5:30 AM (these guys consistently cross Thrissur much before 4AM - in fact, these buses would make it to Trivandrum by 7~7.30AM)

The Viji-Yathra B9R (Bangalore-Pathanamthitta) also reaches Ernakulam by around 5AM (from what I heard).
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Old 22nd February 2012, 10:02   #1460
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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The only grouse about the Airavat/Airavat Club Class service is that they are often unpredictable. One cannot really count on them to arrive on time at the destination. Some drivers are fast, while some others waste a lot of time in breaks.
Somehow, all the journeys I've taken with KSRTC have been prompt. In fact, whenever I boarded from Manipal, the bus was bang on schedule. If arrival was at 2129 and departure at 2130, the bus adhered to it!

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The indication of Retarder is very similar to that of the handbrake. The Retarder indicator has an "R" inside the regular handbrake symbol i.e., (O) symbol.
Is this common practice? Or drivers resort to it once the bus has aged and the brakes aren't as effective.
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Old 22nd February 2012, 10:17   #1461
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

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Somehow, all the journeys I've taken with KSRTC have been prompt. In fact, whenever I boarded from Manipal, the bus was bang on schedule. If arrival was at 2129 and departure at 2130, the bus adhered to it!
If you read my earlier post, I was talking of the "Arrival time at destination". In 90% of my experiences, KaSRTC left late from origin itself - due to this single reason, I prefer boarding their buses at origin itself (so that I need not wait endlessly on the roadside - a lot of anxiety builds up if I missed the bus). They've never been on time when it comes to arrival at destination - they either publish a very unrealistic schedule, or their drivers think passengers are traveling for leisure. I've been turning away from KaSRTC for this sole reason these days.

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Is this common practice? Or drivers resort to it once the bus has aged and the brakes aren't as effective.
Drivers are advised to use retarders, since it would increase brake life and also make the journey comfortable for passengers - but most drivers prefer not to use retarders due to the additional effort required to pull the lever (in the old variants).
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Old 22nd February 2012, 12:10   #1462
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Other than the KE/KA SRTC Trivandrum bound Vovlos is there any BLR Kerala service which puts me down at Aluva bye pass around 5-5.30???
The basic idea is not to book a bus ending service near your destination. Majority of buses will end their service before 7am hence if you book a Kollam/Pathanamthitta/Trivandrum/Kottayam bus, they will definitely drop you at Alwaye around 5am (though there are exceptions)
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Old 22nd February 2012, 15:20   #1463
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For the past 1.5 months I had to work from Pune & travelling back & forth to Bangalore was the last thing on my mind until I realized that it should be worth my while to come home on weekends rather than stay in Pune & do nothing. I had travelled once in Dec 2010 from Pune to Bangalore in a multi-axle Mercedes Benz from Neeta Bus & the bus reached Bangalore in 13 hours.

So when I found that I would be lonely in Pune for the year end (Dec 31st weekend), on the spur of the moment, I checked the redbus website (which by the way is pretty impressive) & booked up & down tickets by Neeta which was the multi-axle Volvo, didnít find that they operated Mercedes buses on this route which they did earlier. I was charged Rs. 1500 - Pune to Bangalore & Rs. 1800 - Bangalore to Pune since it was a last minute booking but quite outrageous, nevertheless happy to be home.

The only issue that I encountered when boarding from Pune was that this time the bus did not come to Mitra Mandal Chowk(Swar Gate) like they did in Dec 2010 but sent a Swaraj Mazda to pick up all the passengers & take them to Khatraj, a good 10-12 kms away which was fine. The bus finally came only at 9pm when the website stated it was scheduled to leave at 7:30pm. I reached Bangalore by 9am which was pretty good. The next day, I boarded the bus from Yeshvanthpur at 7pm, as expected, with a delay of 30 minutes which was ok since I could spend that much more time with my wife & daughter who had come to drop me off. 1 litre water bottle & a blanket were provided by Neeta. He reached Pune (Khatraj) at 6am the next morning, this time I could feel speeds were atleast over 100-110 kph. Overall, I would rate them good except for the delay in scheduled timings, their bus comes from Mumbai & picks up passengers from Pune (one canít really comment on them being punctual since nobody has control on traffic jams), but overall the buses are neat, seats are comfortable, they play movies, maintain AC at about 24 degrees which is quite comfortable & they reach early in the morning (which was convenient for me).

For the next weekend, I booked the KSRTC Airavat multi-axle Volvo onward to Bangalore @ Rs. 923/- & return by Neeta Volvo @ Rs. 1000/- & the remaining 4 weekends, it was only through KSRTC which used to cost me Rs. 1756/- since there was a 10% discount on the return ticket.

Well, I loved the KSRTC Airavat multi-axle Volvo buses, they were neat (even the tyres were jet black in colour, I donít know how they manage to do that, I have a tough time maintaining the tyres on my car, theyíre always muddy), comfortable seats, provide half a litre water bottle (which was sufficient) & since they start from Pune, they were punctual. The only grouse that I had was that I felt that they somehow had to get into the 5th/6th gear in the shortest possible time (looks like both the drivers were competing) by the way there were 2 drivers in both KSRTC & Neeta. This was not apparent in the Neeta bus, only in the KSRTC. The drivers would get into the final drive without the appropriate speed & then you could feel the entire bus vibrating (obviously the engine is not able to take the load at that low speed), not sure why they were doing this.

I used to board the 7pm bus from Pune, they would drive for about an hour & stop for dinner at Hotel Natraj by 8pm & start again by 8:30pm driving non-stop till about 2:30am. The driver would then hand over the bus to the 2nd driver who would drive non-stop till he reached Nelamangala or sometimes till the end of the journey I suppose since I used to get off before the last stop. Speeds were consistently maintained at about 80-90kph (I used to peep into the speedometer when I used to wait near the driver to get off at my stop).

I travelled by 2 buses (registration numbers 9166 & 9177) & both these buses had done in excess of 3 lakh kms, yet there was no indication of any age on them. Kudos to KSRTC for maintaining their buses well & their initiative of m-ticket which is an sms & can be shown as proof of the ticket along with a valid ID proof. Saw quite a number of movies on these journeys & some of them twice.

All in all, a very beautiful experience , Volvos have changed the way we travel. The road from Pune to Bangalore through Satara, Kolhapur, Dharwad, Hubli, Davanagere, Sira & Tumkur is super silk smooth (except for some stretches near Sira which is undergoing some sort of repair/upgradation) & contributed to the journey being hassle free & arriving home (Bangalore) fresh.

A picture of my favourite bus parked at Hotel Natraj, on one of my journey home.
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Old 22nd February 2012, 16:38   #1464
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....Is this common practice? Or drivers resort to it once the bus has aged and the brakes aren't as effective.
Its always safe to retard using retarder and then use service brakes.
In Mark1 it was manual and in all the recent versions, they are coupled with the brake pedal itself.
Once the driver applies brake, invariably the initial retardation will be from retarder and next service brakes comes to picture. This increases the brake pad life upto 300%.
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Old 22nd February 2012, 22:39   #1465
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Traveled from Chennai to Bangalore today. Finished off work and went to Koyambedu and got a ticket on Seabird's Chennai - Goa Volvo, which was ready for departure. I don't know the exact departure time but today started at 3.15pm. Stopped for 30mins dinner break at Krishnagiri and reached Electronic city at 8.15pm. The bus looked aged from outside but not that bad inside. The A/c too was efficient. Overall, the drive was good except for honking.


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. As far es the Volvos go (Public or Private), other than the KE/KA SRTC Trivandrum bound Vovlos is there any BLR Kerala service which puts me down at Aluva bye pass around 5-5.30???
You may check A1 non a/c bus to TVM, starts at 5pm from Madiwala (I guess). I saw this bus today at Krishnagiri today around 7.15pm stopped for dinner so I hope it will easily reach Alwaye before 5am. The bus looked neat.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 00:25   #1466
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Default Re: Intercity Bus travel reviews

Interesting about Chennai Goa. I think Paulo is also operarting the route. And while VRL seems to have pulled out their Chennai Mumbai schedule, GeePee is advertising a bus on their website (via BLR).

Also has anyone travelled on HKB Travels?? They seem to have been around for a long time as I remeber them operarting quite a few trips on the Hyderabad Bangalore route about 6 years back and they have a Mumbai Bangalore service as well. Along with the Airvaths their buses seems to be the most well maintained (from Outside!!)
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Old 23rd February 2012, 01:11   #1467
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Also has anyone travelled on HKB Travels?? They seem to have been around for a long time as I remeber them operarting quite a few trips on the Hyderabad Bangalore route about 6 years back and they have a Mumbai Bangalore service as well. Along with the Airvaths their buses seems to be the most well maintained (from Outside!!)
A close friend of mine used to be a regular traveller in HKB. Owing to work commitments, he had to move to Bangalore while his wife couldn't manage a transfer for a couple of months. So, he would shuttle between Bangalore and Hyd every weekend in HKB's buses. According to him, HKB is a reliable operator, and the buses are well maintained.

If there's any private operator that I wish to have services to all places that i travel to, it will be Orange Tours. At present, they have only Bangalore-Hyd services. They manage their service very professionally, pamper the passengers and also remain punctual. The best part is, they do not charge exorbitant fares for these fringe benefits.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 10:05   #1468
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If there's any private operator that I wish to have services to all places that i travel to, it will be Orange Tours. At present, they have only Bangalore-Hyd services. They manage their service very professionally, pamper the passengers and also remain punctual. The best part is, they do not charge exorbitant fares for these fringe benefits.
Orange has a couple of services on the Chennai - Hyderabad route as well. If they are able to sustain I think it would be good for travellers to have somebody like them available as an option on most routes. Most reasonable fares, very well maintained buses and finally very good time management.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 11:14   #1469
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....
If there's any private operator that I wish to have services to all places that i travel to, it will be Orange Tours. At present, they have only Bangalore-Hyd services. They manage their service very professionally, pamper the passengers and also remain punctual. The best part is, they do not charge exorbitant fares for these fringe benefits.
Mostly service level reduces when the fleet size increases.
Orange, HKB are still very small in fleet size and so they could manage- its only my view though.
Kesineni / VRL is some exception though.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 12:18   #1470
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Just travelled couple of days back in a VRL Isuzu from Blr - Chennai. The pickup was punctual at Madiwala while the actual service starts from Anandrao circle. This was my first experience in a Isuzu and I must say I was positively impressed with the best legroom that I ever had in a long time IMO better than even the club class (not exactly measured though) though felt the seat width was slightly narrower. The overhead bins were also very sleek almost aircraft like. There was some blaring movie playing till Hosur. Also I was mighty impressed with the pickup and power the Isuzu engine packed and felt similar to Volvos in road munching abilities.

The driver shot to his destination right from the word go. He was speeding like nobody's business, braking hard and wafting through the traffic. Definitely very jerky drive. He was honking continuously on the trucks in front and here i would say that though the engine noise and vibrations were low for a rear engined bus, the noise did filter through and all the honking did make it an uncomfortable experience to sleep well. Also the driver cut off the A/c around an hour before Chennai making it stuffy for all. On insistance by passengers he again switched it and off again. Don't know who has instructed him to do so!

All this quick drive resulted in the bus reaching Chennai by 5 AM and dropped just before Koyembedu near the Toyota showroom. The bus was maintained ok but had cracked windshields all over. Wonder why do they not change it even after such damage. Will it not be a safety hazard to passengers in case there is another hit on the weak spots.

Overall the experience was good in this bus but for the jerky and noisy driving. Hope there is some feedback mechanism to get this corrected.

Last edited by girishglg : 23rd February 2012 at 12:20.
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