Here I come with another awful travel experience, but this time with a private bus service on May 26, 2014!
Usually, I book my bus at the last minute, as my travel is usually sudden. My favourite is goibibo.com over redbus.com, as I get better offers over the latter one.
I was looking for the cheapest travel for my commute that weekend from Madurai to Chennai. As usual, I got this Rajalakshmi Roadways getting listed on the site.
FF : I made it on time to Mattuthavani, Madurai bus terminus and couldn’t find the bus. It was supposed to be parked amongst the other buses at the entrance of the bus stand, but wasn’t. I had to call them and with much struggle, I managed to find the bus parked way further than you could ever guess. Maybe I missed it at the first glance because Rajalakshmi Roadways wasn’t mentioned anywhere, except in the frame of the bus as ‘RR’ (If I remember correctly). Finally, I boarded into the bus after passing the most lethargic driver I’ve ever met.
The condition of the bus was so pathetic. One could very easily find that the bus was remodeled to make some sleeper berths. The clothes were so awfully maintained that the next day, I found rashes all over my arms and shoulders.
The bus was supposed to leave at 10.30, but left the place only by 11.30 despite the passengers losing their patience and started yelling at the driver. They finally left the place around 12.15 after filling gas and waiting once again for one stupid passenger loosing something and taking it back on the way.
My happiness wasn’t to last for long. The bus was moving so slowly that even a bullock cart could overtake. I managed to get some sleep and at around 2AM, the bus had passed Trichy and halted along the highways. I woke up and found the driver trying to fix something in the engine. Over an hour has passed and he slowly informed few passengers that he is giving up and that he wants to look for other buses in the middle of the pitch dark highways. There were neither cab services nor bus services ready to be arranged for us. Interestingly, the Driver absconded soon after the situation took a turn for the worst! The cleaner slowly left the place too after hinting to us that the owner of the bus service wasn’t picking up the call and switched off the phone.
After waiting for an hour, we managed to get a Delux bus with the help of the Highway Patrol at around 4.30AM. I had to cramp my legs and sit among the crowd. The next day was so spoiled because of this and I could only reach my office by noon.
I had tweeted instantly about this here – https://twitter.com/ijeyanthan/status/470704040431460354
Interestingly, the next day, I received a call from RedBus and Goibibo support asking for an explanation. They promised me a refund. Soon after a few hours, I got a call from Rajalakshmi Roadways themselves apologising for the inconvenience caused. They’ve explained the reason behind the incident and promised a refund of the whole money. I chose the option of transferring the money to my bank account, as I had no time to go to their centre which was located about 20 kms away from my place.
Despite many reminders, I haven’t had my refund sanctioned. By reporting this back to Goibibo, I had received a partial refund after many twitter DMs.
This incident made me realise the power of social media and the fact that not all the private buses are maintained well.