I travelled by SAM Tourist on 03 Jan 16 from Bangalore to Coonoor. This was my second trip with this operator.
The pickup time from Anand Rao Circle was 9.30 PM and departure from Kalasipalayam was 10.30 PM. However,even after repeated calls till 10.15 PM, I was told that the bus is "on the way". Finally, a bus arrived at 10.20 PM and took us to Kalasipalayam. After a 20 min wait there, told that the bus to Ooty will depart from Madiwala and not Kalasipalayam. Another bus took passengers to Madiwala and enroute we had to wait in Wilson Garden for 15 min. Finally, we reached Madiwala at 11.20 PM. The bus was waiting there.
Upon entering the bus, I found that the bus was not cleaned. The mattress of the seat had dust and it was crumpled. The blanket used by the previous passenger was left crumpled in one corner. The crew said that water bottles would not be provided since they had stopped it. However, the website still shows that water bottle is provided.
The bus finally left from Madiwala close to midnight (one and half hours late). The bus was half empty. The driver and conductor stopped at all the main bus stops (Electronic City, Attibele, Hosur, Krishnagiri etc) and called for ticketless passengers to board the bus upto Salem, Coimbatore etc. As a result of this constant stopping and shouting for passengers, no one could sleep in the bus peacefully.
The bus reached Coimbatore at 5.30 AM. Between Coimbatore at 5.30 AM. Between Coimbatore and Mettupalayam, the bus stopped twice for Tea Break - once for a driver/ cleaner who was driving from Coimbatore to have tea and the second time when the actual driver who was sleeping to have tea when he woke up.
The bus reached Coonoor two hours late. On the highway, the bus was driven very fast and much beyond the normal speed limits.
I think this operator does not have enough buses. So, when one bus gets delayed on some route it has a cascading effect on other trips.
The practice of the driver and conductor picking up passengers at all bus stops is very irritating. They keep shouting for passengers and the constant movement and talking of people entering and leaving the bus prevents a passenger from sleeping peacefully during the journey.
Kindly avoid travelling by this bus.