Congratulations on your new twin beasts, Raj. The painting combo done on them look nice, Also the interior and the seating seems to be comfortable but hey, What the name “Aishwarya” is doing there on windshield? Is it the name of Tour & Travel business you run? Did you drove the buses, Must have been an exciting experience. We all are waiting for detailed dealership and initial ownership report which you promised to post and Yes, Don’t forget to update us with a long-term ownership report as well when your buses turn an year old or two.
sure vibs, see Post #42, that was my initial impression about the buses.
yes, the name of the travels is "Aishwarya Travels".
Review about ashok leyland:
the AL dealer in ernakulam was very helpful & they showed us around their yard the different models available & also the pros & cons for each. however, the price they quoted was way higher than the company price.
TVS is the authorized service centre of AL here. they are nothing but useless.
our deal with them for air suspension was confirmed & advance payment was already made. then on the day, the chassis were sent to them for the fitment of the AS, they demanded 12,000 extra citing that the older kits have been discontinued & new kits are costlier! we of course, refused to pay.
the AS they fitted had different valve settings on each side in both the chassis. the result is that, after the body was made in prakash, both the buses had a tilt to the left which was rectified by the "wheels india" technician in bangalore in just 10 mins.
after the buses arrived to kerela, we sent the buses to TVS for a thorough/complete check up before it starts any trips on the road. we also asked them to fit the speed governer which is compulsory in kerela. they asked us to bring the bus by 9am & the bus will be checked & delivered by 5 pm. we rached at 4.45 pm & sadly, nothing in the bus was checked. they had not even removed the tyres! only thing they did was fit the speed governer (which was not over yet) & i was wondering why they called the bus at 9 am then! finally i got the delivery at 7 pm. also, we had complained of a noise from the front wheel hubs during braking. they dint check that too. when enquired, they said the bus is "new" & let it run first. the brake noise dint go & the wheels started getting hot during running. finally, we had to get it rectified from a local garage.
Review about prakash (bus body builders):
90% of the buses you see in kerela are from prakash. their bodies are known to be lighter compared to other body builders (our bus weighs 10 tonnes ONLY!!!) & also long lasting. the panels are made of aluminium, fit & finish is better & rattles dont come in earlier. also, resale value of prakash buses are more in kerela. delivery time is exact & they dont delay much.
those were the pros. the only cons i can think of is that they dont have much customization options. also, some mis-communication happens between the sales staff & the technicians, so we have to cross check everything. for example-
1) sales staff said JBL amp would do & we bought it. then technician says, its impossible to connect this!
2) i had told the sales guy that i want turn indicators on the sides. they dint inform the electrician & this was done at the last moment.
but these are minor things & my overall experience with prakash has been good. they even have their own quality control dept. who checks the buses after its ready & notes down small things to be rectified which they do immediately.
The legal formalities to be done for the registration of the bus-
kerela has it own set of rules for registration of these type of buses-
1) bus should have a speed governor with a speed limit of 60 kmph.
2) bus should have a first aid kit,
3) bus should have white reflectors in the front & red reflectors in the rear bumper.
4) it should have "contract carriage" written in yellow in front.
5) number plates has to be painted & should NOT be stickers.
if all these are met, you are approved of a reg number.
some other info-
1) passenger tax is Rs. 750/- quarterly for a single seat, so in my case, that is Rs. 750x50 quarterly.
2) Vehicle tax & permit comes to Rs. 3500/- quarterly. (Adding both, approx Rs. 41,000 quarterly)
3) if the vehicle has to travel outside kerela state, permit charges is Rs. 450 per seat for bucket seat like ours & Rs. 650/seat if the bus has pushback/reclining seats.
4) Insurance, RTO, etc. charges extra as applicable.
Tools & lubricants for the bus:
1) an 18 ton jack
2) spanner set
3) wheel spanner
4) spanner rod
5) screw driver, etc all of the above costed close to Rs. 5000/-
7) Power steering oil
then some additional items like-
2) floor mop
4) floor mat
5) car shampoo
6) glass cleaning wipers & solutions, etc.
... also, we had complained of a noise from the front wheel hubs during braking. they dint check that too. when enquired, they said the bus is "new" & let it run first. the brake noise dint go & the wheels started getting hot during running. finally, we had to get it rectified from a local garage.
as i had stated above, the wheels of the bus were still getting hot during long trips. what could be the reason? obviously, the local garage was incapable of identifying & repairing the fault, so this time, we took the bus to TVS, kottayam.
THEY ACCEPTED that the new vehicles from AL has a new model/type of brake lining which is not successful & gets hot during running. this happens in all new AL vehicles. so it is their fault.
they say the older model of brake lining was better & they can replace the current one with the older unit in our bus, PROVIDED WE PAY Rs. 6000 per vehicle!
i cant understand why should WE pay the amount. the vehicle is still under warranty & if AL has provided us a defective vehicle, it is their responsibility to rectify the issue without any additional cost.
so we spoke to one of the officials in AL & he spoke to one of the guys in TVS (A.S.S of AL) in kotayyam.
they said they will rectify the issue free of cost. the bus will be delivered to us tomorrow afternoon.