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RedKnight 1130: Cochin to Bengaluru

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The search for a ticket to return from Kerala to Bengaluru was vague. I, TW and my parents were travelling - buses weren't an option - I was looking at trains at that point. I hadn't considered flights as an option since we were traveling during peak season (Diwali holidays). As I looked at all the options, I thought of checking flights too - the Indian LCC market leader offered tickets in the 1.2k range, while the world's leading LCC offered even cheaper tickets. Their app offered heavier discounts, and I managed to get four tickets, at what could be called a "steal" - working out to a little over Rs. 800 per pax!

November 08, 2018:
I had checked in through the app earlier that day - the app doesn't let you select seats during check-in. Seats need to be added through the modify booking page - and they charge for seat selection. I had to be content with the seats allotted by the system - our seats were spread over two adjacent rows. I decided to try changing …

TN-SETC AC Sleeper: Bangalore to Coimbatore

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Sometime in June 2018: Tamil Nadu State Express Transport Corporation, the state's long-distance services operator, introduced new Sleeper class coaches - their top-of-the line offering, to date. As luck would have it, one was operated on the Bangalore-Coimbatore route, perhaps the only route where I had even a remote chance of trying them!

Fast Forward to October 2018: I and TW were planning to head to Kerala during diwali - TW is new to her job, and she was unsure of being able to get leaves on the days we wanted. We kept procrastinating our decision to book. Towards the end of October, I decided to bite the bullet and book a ticket. TW made it clear that she wanted a Sleeper coach. Just what the patient wanted - I quickly glanced at the other options I had, and came to the conclusion that the TN-SETC Sleeper coach to Coimbatore was the best option we had. Wasting no time, I headed to their website (www.tnstc.in) and grabbed two lower berths towards the front of the bus. Although…

First on the Celeste! Thrissur to Bengaluru - Kerala Lines

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Prakash Bus Corporation launched their new premium sleeper model - 'Celeste' sometime in October 2017. The new model was built from scratch on the new Volvo B11R Euro-4 chassis. The coach was offered on both, the 13.8m & 14.5m, variants of the new Volvo B11R. Fully built as a Sleeper coach, the coach offered better ride quality and comfort to passengers.

Almost a year since the coach was launched, I was yet to get a chance to travel by the Celeste. My good friends at Kerala Lines had launched their own Celeste coach some time in mid August 2018. The coach was built on the 14.5m variant of the B11R, and had 42 premium berths. This coach was among the first choices as I looked for my return ticket from Thrissur to Bengaluru, after Puja holidays. Fares was low, at the normal weekday rates - I decided to grab this opportunity and booked two berths - I & TW were traveling.

October 20, 2018:
We had planned to leave home around 2000hrs - it was raining through this time, and …

Airavat Club Class: Bangalore to Thrissur

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There were no plans to go home for Dussehra initially. My parents were to join us in Bangalore for Pooja, but the plans went for a twist as the pooja came closer. As it got confirmed that we had to go home for Pooja, and in fact reach there for Durgashtami itself - tickets were being sold at a premium - and I decided to stick to Karnataka SRTC - for two reasons - one, their fares were the lowest, two, they offered a late departure, which suited us the most. The return was booked with a private operator - we were returning on Saturday night, and options were aplenty.

October 16, 2018:
Quite unusually, I managed to leave office on time, and got home well in time to get ready before TW returns from office. TW ended up a little late, and we had to hurry - hurrying out of home is constant, irrespective of how well we plan! We left home a while after 1930hrs, hurried out to the nearest metro station. We missed a train just as we entered the platform - the next one came 8 minutes later. We h…

Changanassery to Bengaluru: Kerala Lines Scania!

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Booking on Kerala Lines was a no-brainer. We had taken Kerala Lines to Kerala on our trip to distribute deluge rehabilitation material. It was a precluded decision to book our return also on Kerala Lines. The tickets were booked when we reached their office for the outbound journey (read here) - the requirement was that we wanted a bus that reached Bangalore first - we were given tickets on the Adoor-Bangalore Scania.

October 11, 2018:
It was a very tiring, but a very content day. We wrapped up the day distributing 'return to school' kits to needy students in the Kuttanad area, and then returned to Changanassery. After confirming our pick-up point, we headed to a restaurant nearby for some good dinner and also to get fresh. We took our time to finish dinner and then headed to our pick-up point by around 1915hrs. I had already received an SMS that the bus had some technical issues with its GPS tracker, and hence it was un-trackable. The guy at the office called up the crew for …

Bangalore to Nedumudy, Alappuzha: Kerala Lines AC Sleeper

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It all began in August - right after the massive deluge hit my home state, Kerala. My students were among the first people to respond with flood relief material - they focused a lot on medicines, and ensured supply of basic medication to the badly affected parts of the state. After the initial response, the students got accumulating funds for the post-deluge rehabilitation work. They contacted a lot of NGOs to identify the needy, and finally a list of beneficiaries was prepared, and based on the funds available, we shortlisted two groups who were the most needy. A lot of relief material was collected as well. We had to find a safe and reliable way to getting the things to Kerala - first up on the priority list was my friend at Kerala Lines - he agreed to transport the material without any cost at the first talk itself - there was no hesitation on his side, and he agreed to make all arrangements.

October 10, 2018:
0930hrs: My phone rings, and its my friend at Kerala Lines. "10 Boxe…

Coimbatore to Bangalore: asianXpress Volvo B9R

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There was only one condition - we had to return to Bangalore on a day service. The only convenient option we had was the Ernakulam-Bangalore service - which seemed to be priced quite high. I quickly looked at options from Coimbatore, and found a service from asianXpress listed with an afternoon departure. They didn't seem to list this service on other days - that made me curious, and i headed to their official site to see if such a service actually existed. It did, and I booked our tickets on that one. The bus departed from Coimbatore at 1400hrs, and reached Bangalore past 2100hrs - acceptable timings.

October 02, 2018:
Coimbatore was a little over 80kms from TW's place. We had decided to take a bus from Palakkad to Coimbatore, and our travel to Palakkad was to be by car. We were dropped at Palakkad bus station a little past 1015hrs. I was on the look out for any bus that would drop us at Gandhipuram bus station - the regular Palakkad-Coimbatore shuttle buses go only until Ukk…