Monday, December 05, 2005

KPN monopoly and pathetic customer service

KPN Travels India Ltd is one of the most prominent night service travels that connects Bangalore to almost every other place in Tamil Nadu. Though there are quiet a few other travels (Sharma, Conti, GokulRaj, etc) they do not provide connectivity to the extent KPN provides. It is fair to say that KPN is a monopoly operating regular night bus service to various places from and to Tamil Nadu. For those who are not familiar with KPN, it is something similar to GreyHound services in US.

With the IT boom, KPN has also grown over the period of time. With their business flourishing and growing leaps and bounds and with no competition in the field they had started taking advantage of the situation.

Firstly the ticket charge is very hefty compared to train charges. There is no control over the ticket charges and the customers are left to the mercy of the management. They have kept revising the rates often. For instance, three years ago, the ticket fare to Erode from Bangalore is Rs 190 (distance is 280 kms). Now it stands at Rs 250. Train fare is just 180 Rs. And during festival times when most of the people move to their hometowns, you need to really haggle around for the tickets as the cost skyrockets abnormally.

Secondly they never manage time properly. You would be asked to report at a particular time and the bus will arrive to pick you up an hour or so later. Until then you need to wander aimlessly on the pavements along the road or wait in the dungeon that KPN madiwala provides. For instance this week I was made to report at 11:00 pm and the bus arrived at 12:00 am. One hour I had to stand on the pavements.

Thirdly they do not have any proper hassle free arrangements to enable customers board the bus. Since there are umpty buses leaving for different places at the same time, it is left to customers responsibility to go and find their own buses. KPN management doesn't provide you either a boarding pass with bus number or other means to properly identify a bus, nor there are any public announcement to help the inconvenience. It is always a mystery. This has let many passengers missing their buses for which management claims no responsibility.

Fourth, they have very little respect for the customers as they are under the pretext that even if one turns away, there are much more unsavy customers to pick up the seats. This happened to me over the last week. My seat was in the last row and behind my seat in the empty space they have filled luggages in such a way that I cannot push-back my seat. Even after complaining to the ticket checker, nothing really happened. They did not even mind if one shouts.

I have seen unruly scenes almost every time I travel through KPN for one reason or the other. It is a total pathetic service worth nothing for the big bucks you spend. I have made up my mind to move away and I swear that I will not travel by KPN here after. I knew a couple of my friends keep up this promise for quiet a while. It is time to move on and teach them a hard lesson.


coolkrishnan said...

Well said.

Once, I and Raj were waiting for the KPN bus to Coimbatore in the opp. side of Madiwala office. The bus did nt come for one and a halh hours. Being a festival weekend, the road was really crowded too. We kept asking the KPN fellows often who 'help' the passengers to 'find' their buses. Finally, Raj spotted the bus which was standing quite far and I too rushed to the bus as the bus was about to leave. The 'friendly' KPN guy standing there said 'WE' were late and that our tickets have been alloted to other people. and that we will be allowed to take the next bus after half an hour or so. We should have a made a big fuss, but we did n't, so we were left to wait for more time. Finally another bus came and we were given seats at the back though our original booking was slightly more forward. We complained to the driver, ticket checker. None seemed to have the sense of hearing. We were really enraged, but did n't have any option but to sleep in anger.

After that I have mostly avoided KPN and taken other smaller bus companies.

Monopoly is dangerous, where customers could become dogs.

KPN sucks.

I believe that the permenant solution is in the hands of the govt. Either regulate the private sector with customer oriented policies or introdue more trains.

Swarupa Chowdary said...
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