Chennai to Coimbatore: National Travels GliderZ AC Sleeper

This journey came up at the last minute. I searched all over the booking portals for interesting options for traveling from Chennai to Coimbatore. I wanted to try a new operator - and did not want to repeat any operator. While searching for new operators, I found a lot of them. I even found two GliderZ buses listed among them. I decided to pick-up the newer one among them, and finalized National Travels. They also had single lower berths available - which is always my most preferred.

GliderZ is a premium sleeper model built by MG Bus & Coach, based in Belgaum, on a BharatBenz OF1623 chassis. I haven't tried this model earlier, and this was an opportunity to try this model as well. I was quite excited to have grabbed this opportunity. National Travels in a Chennai based operator, operating on various routes in Tamil Nadu - and is different from the Bangalore based National Travels. This operator is usually identified as "National Travels Chennai" on most portals.

August 16, 2019:
It was a very productive day - a day that went through fairly well. We (I & my colleagues) had gone for some shopping after our official work, and returned to our hotel only by around 1830hrs. They were returning to Bengaluru by a bus that departed around 2315hrs, and my bus was at 2300hrs. Both the buses departed from different places, and we decided to check-out of the hotel by 2200hrs, and proceeded to a nearby restaurant for supper.We parted ways after supper, and I walked into the 'private bus' terminus in Koyambedu. My bus was to depart from 'Platform 1' - I saw the bus parked in the bus station as I neared the shop. The other option that I had considered (No. 1 Air) was parked next to it. Boarding hadn't commenced at the time. The driver was around, but waiting for the attendant to come with the boarding chart. Boarding started soon after the attendant came - I had to leave my bag in the baggage hold - the attendant helped me with that.
The bus...

I got into the bus after that - the interiors were clean and fresh. A pleasant air freshener was used. I was in the fourth 'row', on berth L12. The first impression about the berth was that it was narrower compared to my previous sleeper rides. The berth length was sufficient. There was no pillow, except the one that comes with the berth - although it was a piece of cushion, it was fairly soft. The berth had a LED screen - on which a welcome message was being played. The AC was left at the highest blower speed - each berth had two air vents - one at the head end, and other at the leg end. Both the air vents were completely closable, and had direction control as well.

We started off at 2304hrs - about 4 minutes behind schedule. A welcome video was played as soon as the bus exited the bus station. Announcements were made in Tamil, followed by English. A fairly detailed announcement about the entertainment system was also made - it said a movie would be played on the screens, and passengers who don't find it interesting could use the free WiFi based entertainment system to watch other movies. I was fairly tired, and slowly set my berth to sleep. In the meantime, the movie commenced - although I could turn off the speaker, there was no way I could reduce the sound. However, I could hear the sound from the speakers on the other berths even if the speaker on my berth (placed near the head-end air vent) was turned off.
Before we started from Chennai..

The next pick-up point was at Maduravoyal (2320hrs). We got to Porur toll gate by 2329hrs - there was some delay here, and we got moving only by 2333hrs. I was half asleep by now - but the movie was a little engrossing, and kept me awake. I was awake till we completed the pick-up at Perungulathur (2354hrs). I slept soon after that - I made it a point to turn off the TV (had to struggle a bit to find the switch) and the speaker before I slept. I slept fairly well - and woke up hearing the pre-announcement chime - the PA system now made announcements that the bus had stopped for a 'break' (0256hrs), and the bus was expected to depart in 10 minutes. The bus had pulled in to a hotel in a place called 'Sendhamangalam' near Ulundurpet. I used the restroom and returned to the bus - we started off at 0311hrs. I slept soon after the bus started.
Going away after dropping me in Gandhipuram...

I had another nice long sleep, and woke up hearing another announcement chime. This time the announcement was about our arrival at Tiruppur (0722hrs) - we were fairly behind schedule! The bus had to be at Coimbatore by this time going by their announced schedule. I slept soon after we left from Tiruppur. I slept fairly well, and woke only as the bus started from Hopes College (0813hrs). The next stop was at Lakshmi Mills (0827hrs) and finally reached Gandhipuram at 0833hrs - two hours and 3 minutes behind their announced arrival time. The overall journey time was 9h29m - roughly the time taken by most other operators for this distance.

Remarks: The bus, NL-01-B-1579, had run about 9000 kilometres. The bus was fresh and in great shape. The interiors were premium - the warm-tone LED lighting perfectly complemented the brown-beige themed interiors. The berth cushion was comfortable - but the berth appeared quite narrow. The fittings in the berth was of great quality and finish. The air vents for the AC was perfectly placed - and they had good throw as well. The reading lamp was kept off by the crew. The entertainment system was great - maybe an option to control the volume could've been great. The window area was too less - it was impossible to see the outside world unless one gets up fully. The crew were great - the driving was excellent as well. Overall a good journey with National. I'd give GliderZ another try before having a decisive idea about them!

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: Yes
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, Worked.
Entertainment: Available, Movie played.

Ratings:

Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 3/5

Overall: 4/5

Pros: Good bus, efficient, comfortable
Cons: Delayed!

Will I take this service again? Will surely give them another chance!

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