Reasons why I prefer KSRTC over private buses!

If I have to travel between Chennai n Bengaluru, my first preference will be train. But unless planned few months in advance, getting weekend train ticket is near impossible. For last minute travel I always prefer state run KSRTC over private buses. Many of my friends prefer to book private buses using redbus or other sites, but after trying a few private operators, I felt KSRTC is far more reliable, on time and convenient. In this post, I am explaining why I prefer KSRTC over private buses.
Factor
KSRTC
Private Buses
Remarks
Revenue source
Passenger tickets
Passenger tickets + cargo (parcels)
Waiting for cargo bookings & loading adds to time
On time performance
Mostly on time/minor delay. Delay is usually because of some passengers not turning up
Delay is almost always guaranteed, as they try to fill every seat and also take parcel/cargo load as much as possible + too many pick up points

Pickup points
Usually 2-3 more other than starting points
Multiple- may involve a pickup by smaller vehicle
With private bus you may be able to board closer to your home, but usually more waiting by the roadside shops
Bus cleanliness
Very Good
Usually good

Crew behavior & Courtesy
Very good, but few may ask extra money for luggage
Occasionally good, but usually once they get your money, no concern for your time, comfort etc

Refreshment stops
Pre-approved restaurants only
Random

Drop off points
Pre-defined stops/on demand
Pre-defined/on demand but can be few kms away from designated area

Price
Competitive, Govt controlled, reasonable
Can shoot up 3x to 5x during holiday season

Breakdown assistance
Good, as KSRTC has 1000s of buses
Depends- alternate bus may not be easy to arrange

During festive season, private buses literally loot passengers with 3 to 5x normal ticket rates. KSRTC usually deploys extra special buses at slight premium price.

Main reason for me to go for KSRTC is their on-time performance. Not 100% on time but usually no drastic delays. Private operators never care for reaching on time. They have to fill every seat, take as much cargo n parcel as possible, have too many pick-up n drop points all over city, causing major delay. Once they get your money they don't care much for your time n comfort. If I have to go to office next day or some other time bound activities, taking KSRTC gives me a fair chance of making it ontime. Private buses almost always result in few hours delay than claimed arrival time.

One main reason many prefer private buses is pickup points closer home. KSRTC buses usually start from select points only like CMBT in Chennai, Shanti Nagar in Bengaluru and just one or two more pickup points along the way. Private buses usually offer lots of pickup points- closer to travel agent with whom you booked the tickets or more designated pickup points inside city, making it more convenient for passengers with family and luggage to board. But this option has its drawbacks-Lots of time is wasted in city traffic. Plus you've to wait by the roadside for the bus. Sometimes operators send a mini bus or pick you up in a different bus and make you board correct bus at a hub. Private bus operators also try to maximize their income by taking parcels and cargo- this means more time waiting for all possible cargo they can get, more time spent in trying to fill up every possible seat. With KSRTC, I can take local train/metro to Koyambedu, board the bus and sleep. Most of the time buses will be there before time. Departure delay is usually caused by late passengers (or late incoming bus, if the bus is not starting at the city you're boarding). KSRTC doesn't take parcels and cargo and don't care if few seats are empty.

Some drawbacks with KSRTC
  1. Some conductors ask for extra fee for luggages- usually 50/100 rs, illegally. Of course you can stay stubborn and refuse to pay.
  2. Some drivers refuse to stop at places other than designated points. (like if you need to get down halfway between Electronic city and Silkboard, driver may refuse)
  3. Bookings open only 14 days in advance. Website is not able to handle high volume. Transaction failure rates are relatively high. Customer support is non existent. 
My experience with few private players:
KPN: During my initial years in Chennai, once I traveled in KPN. They have multiple designated pickup points, which is good. Onward journey was uneventful, but return journey was not good. Approximately 1 hour delay in pickup + we were dropped off in Poonamalle high road, some 2 kms from Koyambedu bus station. I took one share auto, but it was going towards Anna Nagar, so had to get down and catch another share auto to reach Koyambedu. To save some time and fuel, they refuse to fulfil their commitment of dropping at designated point. After having paid in full, I felt helpless and cheated. Lost time n money because they didn't drop me next to Koyambedu, despite offering Koyambedu as drop off point. This was the last time I ever booked KPN.

GeePee: They took more passengers than number of seats in the bus, making people sit on plastic stools or on the floor, causing major inconvenience and around 3 hour delay in leaving the city.

Seabird: No major complaints. Tried it once BLR-Goa during Tata Tiago event. On time and comfortable. Only thing they stopped at a small, overpriced hotel for breakfast.

Accidents: Of course there've been accidents and bad experiences involving KSRTC buses, but then, so is with private players. Given that KSRTC operates 1000s of buses, % of incidents are very very low. There's always a small risk involved in traveling.

What has been your experience with KSRTC? Do you prefer them or private players? Why?

Similar: One night at Krishnagiri * Hyd-Blr by bus- Comparison of operators * City buses around the world * Copenhagen to Berlin by bus

20 comments:

  1. agree with you at every point. after traveling in APSRTC,KSRTC,SETC .. KSRTC is always my fav and preference. the main reason is they stick to time.

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  2. After reading this post, my perception about govt run buses is slightly changed. I'm always private bus traveller. Let me try govt buses as well. :)

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  3. I agree with you. I don't like govt. run buses of Maharastra so I assumed all the govt. run buses must be the same--tardy, and unruly. Five years ago, I had the occasion to travel to Belgaum via KSRTC bus. I was very apprehensive, but I had a pleasant surprise. The bus was much better than any private bus I have travelled, and the operators were courteous too. Since, then KSRTC has become my favourite.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Kiran Acharya

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  4. More than all some of the private bus operators are rude.

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  5. Makes sense.
    The attention that Karnataka gives to KSRTC (and BMTC) IS quite impressive.

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  6. No doubt always KSRTC is good, when you choose ksrtc it will be starting from specified location or busstand, incase of private buses they have different office and different location it will be in congested places like kalasipalya and in gandhinagar and difficult to locate some time or as you said they take in different bus/minibus to different place it will be difficult rome around with luggage.

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  7. KSRTC Karnataka is much preferred. Karnataka and Kerala road transport corporations have same name KSRTC.

    We can book 30 days in advance in KSRTC website now. Website ksrtc.in doesn't seem to have much issues after its maintained by AbhiBus. Earlier many issues like site used to work only with Mozilla browser and not with Chrome. It allows multiple payment options now from debit and credit cards and internet banking which was not the case earlier.

    Even refunds are quite faster in case of transaction failure and cancellation.

    Earlier they had much more flexible cancellation charges now little changed.

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  8. Always a KSRTC traveller - for the same above reasons. Never travelled in private buses (except for the shor 1-2hrs journey near by Bangalore).

    ReplyDelete

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