This is another trip report on Infant Jesus Travels.
Date of Journey 28-8-12 Perungalathur to Nagercoil
Dep 18:55 Arrival 5:00 Fare RS 600 Bus TN74 AC 7002 (New Bus Azad Built Coach 24000km on the odo 12m CRS Ashok Leyland with 6 forward 1 reverse gear and 36 seater layout)
Return 29-8-12 Nagercoil to Chromepet
Dep 18:55 Arrival 5:30 Fare RS 600 Bus TN74 AC 7002
Due to a family function have to visit Nagercoil, and son’s school was having a Holiday on 29th August due to Onam, so as usual tried the tickets in the famous Kanyakumari Express and Ananthapuri express the waitlist was running more than 200, I don’t understand everyday what these people will have work to occupy all the seats in the train, each day 4 trains are running between Chennai and Nagercoil and buses are about 30 in numbers including SETC and Omni/Multi range. Still one is unable to get a ticket with 25 days advance booking in train. Everytime I wish I could ask each and every person travelling in the train to elaborate the reason for their travel.
Understand they are just travelling with no reason or else they fear the train service must be withdrawn due to lack of patronage similar to Asterisk believing the sky will fall down!
So the booking for the 28th August travel commenced as usual the choice was Infant Jesus Travels due to good service, convenient timing, comfortable seating and the attractive fare.
To book a ticket I have to go to Koyambedu which will take 3 hours for the commute in the city traffic, or I can go to Perungalathur but the booking agent charges 20Rs more and the seats are allotted after 30.
So informed wife to go to Koyambedu and book the tickets for the 28th Onward and 29th Return on Aug 10, she was also reluctant to go and on top of that asked me directions where their office is located, from BCM bus snap I gave her the telephone numbers.
She contacted their Nagercoil office and asked for the ticket booking, the person told he is away from the office and will reach his booking office by 11:30 am, he had contacted by 11:30 and told our requirement of 3 seats for 28th and 29th return to Chennai, the tickets were booked Chennai to Nagercoil seat 1,2&3 evening 6pm service , and return 29th by their 7 pm service seats 5,6&11. She had told the booking office person that her brother (who resides in NGL) will come to collect the tickets and pay the amount. So easily done it was a good experience. She asked for discount for booking onward and return tickets but the person told no discounts are offered.
Evening her brother has visited the office collected the tickets and had told the booking office person that the Chennai Nagercoil ticket will be sent to Chennai by courier, then the IJT person intervened and told him no need to courier or carry the ticket for the journey, they can board the bus by informing the passenger name and the mobile number. I was pleasantly surprised by this procedure, without leaving the home my wife had made the booking and also no worries about the ticket reaching by courier or not.
Before the journey date I jokingly told her, first time we are travelling without the ticket just make sure whether they have included our names in the passenger list or not, she again contacted the booking office person on 27th to ensure the booking and he reiterated not to worry and board the bus if at all any problem he had asked to give a call to his mobile. I was teasing my wife, on the date of journey the bus person is going to say without ticket I cannot allow you and if you try to reach the person on mobile it is most likely to be out of reach.
On the journey day at 5.30pm received a call from the Agent and asked me where I am boarding I told him at Perungalathur, with that call we were relieved a lot.
As many of them had asked for the GPS tracking I got a Map my India GPS navigator few days ago and tried to understand the working but even with a manual it was bit tricky and all the time it was searching for GPS satellite.
On the Journey date returned from office bit early packed the things took an auto to Perungalathur, moment we started it started to rain, In the auto I switched on the Navigator and it started to get the GPs signal after 10 minutes and started to display the auto speed, WOW I was surprised so finally got the GPS working.
Reached Perungalathur by 6pm and at Perungalathur they have constructed a new bus shelter we were waiting underneath it as it was raining, meanwhile the SETC buses came and left there were many vacant seats they were calling out passengers, saw a SETC 12 m AN 00?2 registration TVS built ultradeluxe to Nagercoil with its departure written as 5.00/5.16 and a sticker stating 12 hours as journey time, then a SETC kulasekaram went, as usual the TMR to Tirunelveli came then I told my wife and son next an Ajith bus will come after that Infant Jesus will come, as told the Rathimeena came at 6.30 then came the Ajith it was for Nazareth and rain didn’t stop we walked out of the shelter to the Omni bus stopping place here no shelter no cover by then there was big pile up at the perungalathur signal on both the directions the IJT bus came at 6.50pm I was surprised it was the new bus which they have inducted on 14th august, it had projector head lamps, white LED day lights, cabin was well lit, as we approached to board the bus, the driver and cleaner/conductor told us to inform our seat number and board, he asked me which seat I told 1,2,3 and boarded the bus, the bus left immediately by 6.55pm there was heavy traffic, the cleaner came and asked for the ticket, told him we don’t have any tickets and told the Nagercoil office person told to inform you the mobile number, that’s all no other questions asked.
The bus was looking new the odometer had 24000km reading the seats were good fabric with calf support and lots of legroom the reclining angle is very good and the entire bus had good LED white lighting video was playing some tamil movie songs. The cabin is completely blocked from the passenger bay so we cannot see the highway.
I started to switch on my navigator and started to track the speed as the traffic was bumper to bumper it was crawling for some time stopped at the Eraniamman temple Vandalur and the cleaner rushed to the temple offered the offering in the hundial and took the kumkum and came back, slowly we reached Guduvanchery and bus was picking up speed we must have crossed 60km in speed, somewhere near Kattankulathur heard a thud sound followed by a hard braking the bus turned to an angle and all the engine noise was down and the bus stopped at the 38km mark of NH 45, I feared the worst, some two wheeler or something got hit and dragged??, both the drivers and cleaner got down and went to the rear and then inspected the LHS rear last two panels I was peeping from the window, no serious issue then a two wheeler who came by the bus side told to the driver “why can’t you see that fellow getting in to the road” not sure whether it was a vehicle which brushed us or we got sidelined so as to hit a parapet wall of a culvert, there were no sign of any other vehicle stopped nearby. So after waiting for some 15 minutes the bus started but I think the event had shaken the driver, by now the bus was running in a normal speed of about 70-75km.
Meanwhile movie Alakarsamiyin kuthirai was being played this movie title itself had some scenes of the movie being played don’t know what the driver thought whether the movie is not being played properly or was it shown in the previous trip he asked the cleaner to switch to the next movie, now Singam Puli Jeeva starrer movie was on, as usual the print quality was excellent.
We reached Chengalpet few passengers boarded here now the bus was almost full I think
Before Ulundurpet the bus stopped and here 2 more passengers boarded.
Then we reached the Ulundurpet Hotel Arunas by 21:45 and the cleaner announced the bus will stop for 15 minutes, I got down for the bio break and had food packed from the home after finishing the dinner got out and inspected the bus last two panels on the LHS bore a deep dent mark the metal sheet had rolled/teared a bit.
Now the driver change happened and the other driver took over while one passenger complained to the driver “don’t you have a good place to stop, the hotel fellows are waving with a stick”, it is common in these motels one person will be doing rounds with a stick in his hand and will shoo away passengers who take a leak other than the toilet.
Now the bus started the journey, as usual during the halt the engine was not switched off there were no other omni buses at that time in the motel, we gained speed and we were doing 94 to 97 kmph in my GPS then slowly the GPS started showing 100 102 reading, now the GPS battery is down I plugged in to the socket near the TV screen but the plug point was not having supply so switched off the GPS, Rain has also stopped near Maduranthakam.
As I was seated in the first row had enough legroom I could stretch my leg very well.
Now coming to the built quality of AZAD body, the Bus didn’t have any rattling noise the seats were well laid out the interior lighting was all with white LED lights. What I like the most is the night lamp of IJT I don’t know who has suggested it but surely he must be a connoisseur the whole passenger bay will have 4 lamps and in each lamp only one blue colour LED will be glowing just enough to assure the passenger that there is light it will not hinder in any way for sleep. But the interior panels above the window is not match finished properly there are gaps between the panels and also there is an aluminium rail covering over the window sill where our elbow rest it had the paint peeling out already. Driver cabin had a wide berth for the driver and the engine is covered with a cushion seater the front dashboard is similar to BS4 digital odometer with twin large Speedo and RPM meter lit by green light, there was space for the driver to keep his mobile cigarette pack and a lighter automatic door closer 3 step entry I think this bus is bit high due to the Volvo type luggage compartment bay, whenever we overtook all other buses were looking the other buses low in height, Air suspension in all its four wheels is so good, so always the bus was floating and never had a jerk except while passing over the speed breakers at the toll plazas.
I think the driver smoked at the night I could smell the matchstick burning smell and followed by cigarette smoke I looked in the passenger bay to see anyone is smoking or not but I couldn’t see anyone.
The truck traffic was very heavy nearing to Trichy we had to slow down and follow for few minutes at a reduced speed to overtake those trucks. Around Trichy I think the 7pm Nagercoil to Chennai IJT was crossing I guessed it because both the buses gave the horn salute to acknowledge each other it was around 23:50, now I was waiting to hear the same greeting with the other two services but was not able to hear it again
At 1 am the bus stopped just before Melur and the driver change occurred the bus was stopped the hand brake was released the first driver took over here for his second shift, the bus started with a 3 minutes stop, the sleep must have relaxed the driver he started to rip the road, the AL Engine is having a different tune not the usual Ashok Leyland sound, it is much more refined and when the speed is more in the range of 110 to 115km it sends a unique whistling or whining sound it is a delight to hear it, and the driver was driving amazingly we overtook many buses. The TMR bus overtook us and the driver honked us signaling see I have beaten you, I thought immediately we will overtake him but there were so many other buses and trucks before us so after a full 2 5minutes the TMR was overtaken but the speed of TMR was no match to us we crossed in a jiffy. We overtook a KPN semi sleeper, Sreejothi travels and many more.
Not sure bus entered Madurai bypass or Madurai town there were many speed breakers.
At Shankar nagar the driver got down here at 3.20 am and the other driver change occurred we left the by pass and took the city roads to reach Tirunelveli at 3.45am. At Tirunelveli many passengers got down, I don’t know what they will do at this unearthly hour as the local buses will start only after 4.30am, few passengers got down and purchased Halwa from here after a 5 minutes halt the bus started and it slowed down near a tea shop the cleaner got down and took 2 tea cup from the shop and the bus moved, then it stopped at the new bus stand, now in the driver’s cabin he started playing the CD player the speaker was on only in the cabin, as I was sitting in the first row I could hear the songs it was all Ilayaraja songs good collection it was entertaining me well.
Then few passengers got down at valliyoor and another passenger got down at Kavalkinaru within n otime we reached nagercoil Bus stand around 4.50 to 5:00 am.
I will summarize the timing at the toll plaza which I had noted down
Paranur (Chengalpet)Toll plaza 19:45 Km run 31 (from the previous location Perungalathur)
Athur (Tindivanam)Toll Plaza 20:35 Km run 55 (from the previous location Paranur)
Vikravandi Toll Plaza 21:15 Km run 43
Sengurichi (Ulundurpet) Toll Plaza 22:15 (after a dinner halt of 15 minutes) km run 45
Thirumandurai (Tholudhur) Toll Plaza 22:50 km run 54
Padalaur (Samayapuram) Toll plaza 23:35 Km run 60
Viralimalai Toll Plaza 00:10 Km run 40
Vellaripatti (Melur) Toll Plaza 01:20 Km run 93
Sattur Toll Plaza 02:30 Km run 93
Kayathar Toll Plaza 03:10 km run 52
Nanguneri Toll Plaza 04:10 Km run 62
Vadaseri Nagercoil Arrival 05:00 Km run 52
Now comes the interesting part we had to go to Temple at Amaravila near Neyyatinkara so took a Thiruvannathapuram bus at 8am from Vadasery bus stand while waiting at the bus stand kathakali orange was entering, IJT which service was not sure he was leaving from Vadasery bus stand SRS multi, KPN multi was entering Vadasery bus stand.
Around 9am SRM multi was crossing at Amaravila, After returning from Amaravila to nagercoil around 10:30am saw another SRM Multi, Kesineni Multi from HYD around 11:00am both proceeding to Thiruvanathapuram.
The driving and gearshift were so smooth, only once while downshifting heard the GRRR sound of the gear. The bus was always riding in the 6th gear it was downshifted only when it was crossing the speed breaker or else no gear change at all.
Return Journey Nagercoil to Chennai the Bus came at 6.35pm at vadasery bus stand boarded the bus at 6.40pm gave the ticket and balance ticket money of Rs 1300 (Yes ticket was booked only by paying 500rs) to the Bus agent, the person from the Infant Jesus office came to the bus handed over money and other documents to the cleaner, then he came inside and asked me whether I had travelled the bus the previous day, I told him yes then he asked did you hand over the ticket, I told him that I informed only the name and boarded the bus as no ticket was issued then he left.
Bus started by 6:50pm it was same crew for the return trip also, reached Kavalkinaru the cleaner rushed to the Mary Church offered a garland to the Mary statue, offered money to the offering box prayed and came back. Bus reached tirunelveli by 8.20pm passengers boarded at the old bus stand Bluwings and SRM multi was waiting, started 8.30pm Movie Eppadi manasukkul vanthai was screened the passenger next to me expressed his delight stating the film is released only few days ago, I didn’t watch the movie, stopped at Highcourt Madamsamy temple to offer prayer and the cleaner picked up a water bottle bubble top from here and paid to the person, do they use it for their cooking/ drinking at Chennai?
Came to sankar nagar the Second driver boarded from here the bus started and must have travelled 5 minutes or so it was stopped immediately the sankar nagar driver got down and was inspecting the dent scratch made in the previous trip, then suddenly the bus was reversed Yes in the divided carriageway the bus was reversing for a good 200 metres then it stopped and waited some passenger was boarding or he missed the boarding point or some known person the bus was waiting for 15 minutes then a bearded person boarded the Bus, afterwards it left and stopped for dinner at a lonely place near nalattinpudur, here all the buses were there SRM, ARC, MKK, SreeJothi, ABT, Universel and many more but the hotel looked like a thatched roof set up but all omni buses stopped here.
Driver change took place here after that the bus was flying.
Return journey timing Nanguneri toll plaza 19:55 km run 52
Kayathar Toll Plaza 21:15 Km run 62
Sattur Toll plaza 22:10 Km run 52,
Afterwards had a sound sleep, not sure when other driver change and toll plazas were crossed while awake the bus was at Tindivanam for dropping passengers then it reached Chromepet at 5:30 am as usual got down in the front of the house and waved off to the cleaner and Driver.
A word in praise particularly for the cleaner, he was well organized he checked the tickets called all the passengers at the dinner halt quickly helped with the luggage for the passengers to alight, t nagercoil he was urging the bus agent to give the documents to leave quickly and above all truly secular he sincerely offered the prayers at the Church and the Temple with the same reverence. I was truly touched by this.
The GPS log recording I am not sure whether it got recorded or not sure how to retrieve, but the GPS navigator battery life is so poor it will not run for more than an hour.