Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shared shuttle/van services in Chennai - hard to find!

I recently moved to a new job and my office is in Thoraipakkam, now. For the last 2 weeks, I have been desperately looking at various commute options to work. Right now, I'm driving my own car and I end up spending approximately 2 hours on the road everyday. The following are some options that I'm exploring:

Also read: Self-adjusting traffic - a miracle on Indian Roads

1) Employing a driver - Costs approximately Rs.10,000 a month. However, the driver wouldn't have anything to do during the day time and he would just idle around in the car park. Moreover, I don't want him to sleep in my car or switch-on the A/C (i.e., engine) when the car is not in motion. I'm afraid of the problems that may come with the driver :)

2) Renting a driver - Renting a driver to and fro also costs approximately the same money. There are a number of "call a driver" services in Chennai. They charge approximately Rs.250 for 4 hours. However, I do not want different drivers to drive my car everyday. Moreover, I'm worried about 'how they would handle' my car and the safety aspects (Since, they are typically paid by the hour, I'm afraid that they may drive fast)

3) Using Call Taxi services - This option works out to be very expensive for now. I am thinking of considering this as a last resort.

Also read: Driving on Indian roads - pleasure or pain?

4) Bus Services - There are indeed a few Chennai MTC buses connecting my home with my office. However, getting a seat in the bus is not guaranteed and I can't imagine standing with my laptop and lunch bag for an hour :)

5) Shared shuttle services - A number of IT companies are running their own shuttle services for employees. They subsidize the transportation cost for their employees. I do see a number of private vans/vehicles carrying passengers on the road in the morning and in the evening. However, an Internet search doesn't reveal any of those services. I did get a couple of leads through my contacts, however they are not operating from Choolaimedu/Nelson Manickam Road to Thoraipakkam. I am still on the lookout for Shared Shuttle/Van/Cab Services. If you know of any, keep me informed :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gemini Circus, Chennai - Not worth it !

"Let us go to Gemini Circus, today". When I said this, my daughter got very excited. I took my family to Gemini Circus in Chennai, today. We were hoping to have a stellar experience. However, I was totally disappointed by the end of the show. In fact, after an hour into the show, my daughter asked "Dad ! When are we going back home?".

(Also read: Drive through McDonalds in Velachery)

Here is the list of things that I liked about Gemini Circus:

  • The tickets for the show was available at various price ranges - Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.150, and Rs.250 (affordable for everyone).
  • Uniformed men were selling snacks throughout the show - popcorn, biscuits, chocolates, cool drinks, cotton candy etc., 
  • The gymnastic performance was very good. I was quite impressed by circus crew's potential.
  • Time management was perfect - the show began and ended on time (kudos to the folks who did the back stage management)
  • The background music was great
  • Car parking rate was just Rs.40

Here is the list of things that I hated about Gemini Circus:

  • The floor was uneven and filled with rubble and debris
  • They had plastic chairs for everyone, which were put on top of the rubbles (Imagine, how stable the chair would be)
  • There was no proper ventilation. There were a few pedestal fans. However, it was not adequate for 2000+ people
  • Nothing has changed in the last 20+ years. In fact, it has gone for the worse. I remember the days when we used to have wooden railings for people to sit. It was very convenient. I hated those plastic chairs.
  • There was no proper parking space - we have to park the cars over the debris
  • Crowd management was poor - after the show, it took about an hour for us to come out of the venue
  • No lion/tigers/elephants/monkeys were involved during the show (Though I was happy that animals were not disturbed, my daughter was very disappointed :))
  • No online booking (you've to stand in the line to get tickets). They do have a website.
  • No proper signage near the venue. We had to stop in between several times to find the place.

"Will I go to Gemini Circus again in Chennai"? The answer is a STRONG NO. I would rather watch recorded circus programs in my TV.