Made a trip on Infant Jesus.
This is not a Volvo Multi or a Volvo B7R it is a normal Ashok Leyland non A/c 36 seater Azad built coach. Not sure whether it is a 12m Chassis or normal 10.8m chassis, I think it is a 12m Chassis since there were 7 windows on the side and a door, for normal bus it will be 6 window coach.
My trip was planned from Chennai to Nagercoil on the 22nd May and the return was on 24th May2012.
IJ(Infant Jesus) does not have an online booking facility hence tried from May 1, may 4, May 7 may 10 to get a booking on 22nd May, each time I will get a response as the charts are not opened.
Finally on May 14th when contacted, the agent told the booking is open and asked him to block a seat for 22nd Journey over phone, the agent replied the booking is made I can come and collect the ticket at any time.
Evening went to Perungalathur and told my name and asked for the IJ ticket, he has noted down my name and phone number in a notebook and issued me the ticket on confirming both Name and Mobile, never thought the booking will be finalized over the phone itself as I am not known to the booking agent earlier. Seat was 21 and Fare was 620 Rs for the 6pm Koyambedu departure. Paid him money and collected the ticket.
Booking agent told me the bus will come at 6.30pm at perungalathur but marked the ticket as 6 pm reporting time at Perungalathur. Asked him why he gave seat no 21 even though I have made the first booking on the chart opening day, he told me they have the allotted seats from 21 onwards, so to get a seat ahead we have to reach their CMBT or Egmore office but the ticket mentioned a note for those concerned with the seat numbers states “ AS the bus is an Airbus service seat allotted at the front or rear will have the same effect and there will not be any discomfort”. Asked him why the booking was denied for many days agent told me that the fare is revised hence the booking was not commenced.
On the date of journey took a MTC chengalpet bus from tambaram and reached Perungalathur by 5.15pm and was standing at the front of the booking agent office, on May 22 the bus stand was very much crowded and all the buses entering in to the bus stand left with standing passengers by SETC and TNSTC buses. Thinking that the IJ bus will come and stop in front of the office, thought of sitting inside the agent’s office, just asked him where the IJT bus will come and stop he informed me the bus will not come to service road of the Perungalathur bus stand nor in front of the agent’s office but will halt at a point after the Perungalathur signal about 150 metres away from the agent’s office. Never knew this even on the day of collecting my ticket I saw SRM and Rathimeena buses stopping in front of the agent’s office.
Moved and stood near to the signal and waited for my bus to arrive from 5.35 onwards, there were many people waiting for the private omni buses over there meanwhile Nagercoil TNSTC, SETC nagercoil Kanyakumari Trivandrum trichy and Salem buses were coming and leaving with all seats full. Slowly noticed the timings on the wind shield it was 16:30, 16:45, 17:00 and so on so waiting for the 18:00 departure series to pass by, meanwhile the first omni bus TMR to tirunelveli came and stopped by the road side they stopped for more than 25 minutes and the traffic got held up a police constable came and told him to move, TMR bus went and parked by the side of the road then came Ajith travels.
Slowly 18:00 departure SETC buses started coming by 6.40 pm still my bus was not there I was getting impatient and by 7pm the white beauty arrived TN 74 S 7002 registration came to halt at perungalathur immediately I got inside the second driver asked for my seat number and allowed me to get in, the bus was almost full with 10 seats vacant at perungalathur few more people got in and the bus had 3 vacant seats at the rear.
MP3 song was playing and checked the bus it had 36 seats with calf support, wide seats with lot of leg room no rear glass and the front driver partition is also completely blocked with no window/ glass to view the driver cabin or the road the bus left immediately and the cabin was closed there was no engine noise since the windows were kept open the outside noise and wind noise was getting in. Body built by Azad is very good no rattling noise interior and seats were well laid out, bus had done 49000km still it looked new
I got a window seat tried to place my bag on the Hat rack it had a hand grab bar running which was not allowing the bag to slide in, tried to squeeze my bag with no success placed my bag underneath my seat. Immediately the fellow on the aisle seat asked me what time the bus will reach Nagercoil, Like a TNSTC/ SETC driver I too got irritated by the question, I too believe by informing the time of arrival many times the bus has reached the destination much later, gave him a cold response and told it will take 12 hours. Then immediately he asked me so will it reach at 7 o clock I heard it will reach at 5 am, I gave him another cold stare and told look at the traffic if it reaches early it will be better, meanwhile there was a traffic jam from Vandalur to Guduvancheri the bus was crawling.
On the other side there were another two passengers seated they started talking on the mobile loudly I don’t understand this when someone is not able to hear properly on the mobile they immediately start to raise their voice, in a bus due to outside noise the voice will be feeble but their voice will be clear on the other receiving end still they shout at their highest pitch. So this fellow started to give the update to his receiving party, his conversation was like this, I didn’t get the ticket in our regular bus and hence I am travelling in this infant jesus bus they are telling the bus will reach tirunelveli by 4.00 am so I will get down at tirunelveli and take my next bus at 4.45 you don’t worry I will call you at tirunelveli. The message was so clear that the entire bus heard it. I thought so the bus will enter in to the tirunelveli so no bypass ride so it is going to take still some time.
Meanwhile the aisle seat passenger again started asking me where I am working, I told him I work at guindy then he replied he works at ayanavaram or something stays in chengalpet, meanwhile the bus crossed Paranur toll plaza as usual there was pile up at toll booth cleared and entered in to the Chengalpet underpass service road, I was shocked is this bus entering in to chengalpet even TNSTC villupuram buses skip chengalpet I started to groan, but the bus stopped at the service road of the underpass and picked 2 passengers and immediately came to NH45 I was so relieved and didn’t know that there is this short cut for Chengalpet pickup. Meanwhile at the SRM college they have made a good pickup point and booking office, many travels are stopping there to pick passengers. My aisle seat passenger chipped in my house is here only at chengalpet and showed me a road informing me that road goes in to chengalpet town I heard without interest.
Now the bus was full and the cleaner came and collected the ticket stub, we were crossing chengalpet bypass and the run was getting speed, the air was coming in now. Outside was dark and the bus started overtaking other vehicles I was enjoying the run, soon after we entered in to the chengalpet Bridge hardly we must have crossed 50metres in to the bridge there was a big traffic jam and vehicles were moving on the wrong side of the other bridge and going towards Villupuram we got stuck and I peeped out of the window there was a continuous line up of head lamps indicating vehicles are standing in a pile up. With so much honking and stop go stop go movement finally we came to head on with a Cement bulk carrier this vehicle has entered the bridge and coming on the wrong side and was causing all the Jam. The bridge is just enough for 2 vehicles we crossed that the vehicle and soon started cruising. The bus had such a pickup that I didnt hear the engine revving sound the gearshift were smooth and there was no downshift and raising the engine RPM, the bus was cruising at around 90 km I believe this I came to know from the overtaking vehicles speedometer many indica and Tavera overtook us the speedometer needle were at 12 o clock position checked with a Tavera speedometer later and found at 12 o clock position it is 90KMPH so the bus was running at 85 kmph.
After CGL they played the movie ARAVAN, the print was Malaysian print the clarity was good, the speaker volume levels were not so high the film was audible, TV was a LCD tv, the movie was interesting in parts and had good suspense element I was watching it intermittently and gazing outside to see the speed of the bus.
Reached ulundurpet Royal restaurant at 9.30pm and the bus stopped for dinner, there was Ajith, Rathimeena AL padmapuri, TMR, and other few travels. The break lasted for 30 minutes and we left at 10 pm, all through the break the engine was not stopped it was running at idle speed, the second driver took to the wheels from here, soon after we left we were at the toll plaza were there was a huge jam with 5 to 6 vehicles standing in each lane and were honking continuously, it disturbed so much, but none of the toll plaza fellows were regulating nor the queue was moving after a good 20 minutes of cacophony we edged a lorry and went ahead to the toll plaza, after crossing the toll plaza found a a police jeep and a policeman who was not at all perturbed by the happening. Then we were running towards trichy we crossed the other 2 toll plazas tholudur and padalur there was a queue but we could sail it in 7 to 9 minutes, crossed trichy around 12.15 pm, crossing the flyover we crossed viralimalai toll plaza I thought now the driver change will happen but the bus was cruising non stop, there were no kilometer stones from trichy to Madurai road, one sign board showed 90 km to Madurai, I thought now atleast the driver change should happen but the bus never stopped and not sure when the driver was relieved.
I slept and soon at 3.15 am the cleaner shouted Kovilpatti, I was surprised, after crossing kovilpatti and 4 am we entered Tirunelveli after alighting the passengers continued to nagercoil at all these points no halting it was just stopped to alight the passengers immediately we started.
At 5.25 am reached Nagercoil bus stand bus stopped in front of the booking office. So in all it took 10 hours from Perungalathur to Nagercoil after deducting 30 minutes dinner break, the service is non stop.
There were no rash overtaking, sudden braking or down shifting gear to show aggression, it was controlled drive, still the engine was having so much power the speed was not at the engine’s peak rpm, still it had reserve power.
We overtook all the SETC/ TNSTC buses one TNSTC bus I spotted at perungalthur TN 74 N 1495 was overtaken at thovalai I suppose it was the 4.30 / 5 pm departure from CMBT magenta colour super deluxe, this bus has also maintained consistent speed shich we were able to overtake at thovalai only. Rathimeena was overtaken at viralimalai.
After getting down the bus and walking towards the home the next seat co passenger walked up t o me and was telling “didn’t I tell you it will reach at 5pm, you only told it will reach at 7 pm” . I silently nodded him.
Return journey was also by Infant jesus on 24th 7 pm Nagercoil departure we reached the bus stand by 6.30pm, Infant jesus with steel alloys was standing on the bus stand thought that must be bus but after enquiring at the booking office I was told 7 pm bus is a marthandam departure,the NGL dep is at 8 pm, I asked the booking office person when they will introduce on line booking and Volvo service, he replied they are not interested in online booking wherein he says many people book and don’t report for the journey in that way genuine passengers are not able to travel, Volvo 1 bus they have purchased or about to purchase but it is a KA registration due to tax issues they have not pursued further. He told at present they are concentrating on punctuality and customer service, my return ticket was 600 RS, I told him that I paid 620 through his agent at perungalathur he told their fare is 600rs only, and advised me to book at their CMBT office for the right fare.
There was universel sleeper ARC, ABT were readying for departure that day due to petrol hike there was bandh in KL, not sure but Jeppiar Volvo, Parveen snooze, Parveen Benz Multi, Tippusultan sleeper and Bharathi multi were all at nagercoil in the evening 6.30 pm. There was one more Multi Volvo Jaibharathi not sure where it is bound to.
My bus from Marthandam came at 6.35pm, the ABT, Perinbavilas A/c, and ARC were blocking so it was at the far end of the bus stand, I went to the bus and asked the driver wether can I board the bus he asked me to get in, ther e were already 6 passengers then slowly halted at the entrance of the bus stand after universel’s departure at 6.50pm bus rolled out there were hardly 10 to 12 passengers, bus then stopped at tirunelveli and almost all the seats got filled, one fellow changed his seat and occupied at the seat behind me, the cleaner was counting the seats and informing 1 fellow has not turned up, they were checking the ticket bookings and wasting time, finally one more person from the cabin came and told the other cleaner that this fellow (seated behind me )has changed his seat then he asked him to occupy his sea and the 2 seats got filled up. We left tirunelveli and strted racing after reaching the bypass. At tirunelveli, bluewings, perinba vilas, ARC ABT and 1 SRm multi were all standing near the bus stand.
Before reaching Tirunelveli ABT came to overtaking us once , but we went ahead and it never followed. Stopped at sattur( not sure) at 9.30 pm for dinner, afterwards we started at 9.55 pm, again the run continued we were almost overtaking all the buses, the ABT also was overtaken, but however 1 professional courier 407 and a ST courier Eicher they overtook us, ST courier we were able to over take it twice, but professional courier was not at all to be touched. I don’t know what modifications they carry out, on many occasions I have seen the professional courier van racing like anything.
Movie OK OK was started at Tirunelveli, this time too good quality print, my son enjoyed the movie thoroughly.
AS usual in the return also there was a big line up at Padalur,uludurpet, tindivanam and chengalpet toll plazas, the bus never stopped for the driver change or for any other break, not knowing how the driver change occurs. Reached perungalathur at 5.45 am and asked the driver that I need to get down at chromepet the driver stopped right in front of my house at 6.05 am, I thanked and waved him. The other driver was sleeping in the cabin. Return journey took 11 hours the tirunelveli mixup took almost 45 minutes. Overall good quality bus no noise vibration rattling, good suspension in all the four wheels and more legspace. Definitely good service, good crew and good timing.
The return was in TN 74AB 2007 air cracked wind shield, Onward was TN 74 S 7002( not sure of the regn numbers)