As I’ve traveled several times between Hyderabad and Bangalore by bus, I share my experience with various bus operators, their services, punctuality, comfort and other aspects.
Current ticket prices: Volvo B7R AC buses: Rs 600 to Rs 700 depending on how early you book, seasons, operators etc. Non Volvo: Rs.300-400. Travel time: Volvo: 10-12 hours, Non Volvo: 14-15 hours.(depends on how much time they spend roaming inside city picking up passengers from various places)
Quickly jump to: Raj National Express| HKB| Gee Pee| Chennai-Hyderabad by Bus |3rd Party Online ticket booking websites |
We’ll compare various operators one by one
KSRTC Airavata (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation)
1. Precise punctuality (There will be supervisors in depots who ensure that buses leave on time to make space for other buses. They leave on time.
2. Maximum luggage safety. Luggage cabin once locked while leaving the origin will be opened after reaching destination only. While private operators having multiple pick up points open the luggage space multiple times, rearrange the baggage, may not have proper tagging system etc and hence relatively less safe.
3. They do introduce special services during popular seasons (with extra charges though)
4. Have good number of buses and can replace a bus in case of accident/breakdown etc. Private operators having very few number of buses wont have this advantage.
5. Transparent booking system. (While with private operators there’s every chance that they create an artificial shortage of tickets to sell them for high price last moment)
6. You're automatically entitled for Rs 1 lakh accident insurance with KSRTC when you buy tickets above Rs 20.
7. Government Bus terminals will have additional facilities like Public broadcasting system, drinking water, waiting room, toilets, shops etc which sometime come handy. Private operators who pick you up from roadside may not be able to give you all these.
1. No pickups. You need to go to starting point and board the bus. (In Bangalore you can travel for free in BMTC buses 2 hours prior to scheduled departure if you have a reserved KSRTC ticket. Very few buses do start from places other than majestic)
2. Hesitate to play Kannada movies. (While APSRTC happily plays telugu movies, KSRTC often plays Hindi movies for Hyderabad Bangalore journey)
3. Some Airavata Volvo B7Rs are older than recently purchased buses of private operators. One Volvo was leaking water last year.
4. Cancellation charges are deducted without hesitation. (Private operators often entertain rescheduling requests (like cancel today’s ticket and post pone for tomorrow) without charging extra.)
5. Official luggage charges are expensive.
6. KSRTC has volunteered to get speed governors on its buses- this might make the journey a bit safe but will increase travel time.
October 2009 update: A friend survives a KSRTC Volvo bus accident- read his experiences.
Almost similar to KSRTC, no major differences. (one of the comments indicate that Garuda experience is very bad compared to KSRTC)
Raj National Express:
1. Excellent punctuality
2. Well established name in travel industry. Raj has operations all over India.
3. They do play Hindi movies usually compared to telugu ones in most of the other operators.
1. Limited pick up. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday they offer pickup from Madhapur and Gachibowli while rest of the days you need to go to Mehdipatnam.
2. Some buses are quite uncomfortable-The hand rest between the seats has an protruding object (looks like 12v battery charger) which causes lots of inconvenience while sleeping.
Aslo: Few quick facts about Raj National Travels: Owns over 104 AC coaches (Volvo + Tata Globus mainly), 29 Own departure lounges, Operations in 14 states (Covering left half of India) connecting various cities from Cochin to Jammu, Runs 172 departures and 5000 passengers per day on 132 routes. Raj claims to have served over one million passengers so far.
HKB Tours and Travels:
I don’t know what HKB stands for. I asked the driver-even he didn’t know.
Not that punctual. But once while I was traveling, an elderly gentleman (who seemed like Bus owner or manager etc) boarded the bus, distributed chips and biscuits to all passengers and wished them happy journey. Never experienced that with any other operator.
They have sleeper coach Volvo buses wherein you can sleep on 180 degree flat beds and travel. Quite comfortable.
But beware, if you get sitting seats journey will be horrible. No place to keep luggage, not enough place to stretch your legs and arms, very little space above your head. So insist and cross verify that it is sleeper berth and not regular seats. Also Gee Pee is pathetic when comes to punctuality. If one seat is vacant they don’t mind waiting 2 hours to get a passenger for that seat, and by the time they leave the city limits it can be past midnight. If you have to go to office next day, avoid Gee Pee.
Caution on Private Non AC buses: All operators try to carry as much cargo as possible on top of the bus. (See image) When they load excess cargo, the bus will not be able to clear some height barriers in the city and chances are that they make lame excuses and try to offload passengers at city outskirts (like near Hebbal instead of going till Majestic in Bangalore). Also they don’t hesitate to load excess passengers and make them sit/sleep in the bay between the two rows of seats. Omer is the worst in this aspect. Also majority of them do not honor timings. (No such problems with Volvo B7R since volvo can't carry anything on rooftop)
I have not tried Kallada, kesinenini and several other operators.
Quick Note on Hyderabad Chennai by bus: Distance and pricing is almost same as Hyderabad-Bangalore (700 Rs approx in Volvo, around 12 hours journey)
Dhanunjaya: Efficient service but not that punctual. Once they inserted an mp3 cd and were trying to get video out of it …
Kamakshi: Relatively punctual, but non uniformed staff, entertain excess passengers who sit/sleep in the walkway.
Raj National Express have Tata Globus service between Hyderabad and Chennai for around 450 rupees.
If you have any specific experiences to share please drop a comment.
Quick Summary: Go to TOP
For Maximum Luggage Safety: KSRTC/APSRTC
For Punctuality: KSRTC & Raj National Express
For Multiple pickup points: Gee Pee, HKB
For Full sleeper coach (Volvo): Gee Pee
3rd Party websites that facilitate online ticket bookings for south Indian destinations:
1. Redbus.in (by Pilani Soft Labs Pvt. Ltd.)
Covers most of South Indian destinations -Read detailed review of RedBus.in business model and viability
2. Prasanna Tours P Limited: http://www.prasannatours.com/
South India (Presently Covers the BGL - HYD Sector)
Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Baroda
For buses originating from Hyderabad to all parts of AP, and to Bangalore and Chennai
Disclaimer: Opinions given in this post are based on author’s personal experience when he travelled in these buses. Individual experience may vary and service quality may change over time. Written for informative purposes only. This author is not associated with any of the websites/travel companies
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