Opportunities to travel by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation is never to be missed. I simply love those red monsters. Last week, I had been to Trivandrum on some personal work. I wanted to travel by the City buses there, but had to leave the plan due to extreme time crunch. The next opportunity came in the way of a loooong journey back to Kodungallur by bus... but I had to half-mindedly choose a train - I had never traveled on the route via Kottayam earlier. I had to take the 6525 Bangalore Express from Trivandrum. However, the chance to travel by bus still remained!
I took a bus from Ernakulam Jetty to reach my home in Kodungallur. The bus was TP36x of Guruvayur depot. It was a TATA bus, and I was seated right behind the driver. His driving skill was unique - he shifted gears quickly. The bus, however, performed marvellously, and he kept speeds in the range of 60kmph all the way. That was a journey all at night, and I was damn tired to enjoy the trip....
The next trip occured just a day later. This was longer than the first. After almost a day full of railfanning, I decided to take a bus to Alappuzha from Ernakulam instead of slugging out in a train. Although the train would've taken me to Alappuzha in much less time than the bus, the charm of traveling by bus was something that I did not want to miss! I took out some time to bus fan at the bus station before I chose a bus to reach my destination.
This is the bus that I took....
I took a Tenkashi bound Fast Passenger bus from Ernakulam. The bus was RRC447 (KL15-6626) of Alappuzha Depot. It was a TATA chassis, and I got a seat right next to the driver. My initial plan was to get down at Alappuzha and change buses to reach my destination. I later discovered that the bus was indeed going via my destination! The bus left EKM (Ernakulam) at 1715. We got stuck up in traffic jams often. The driver was desparate till the time he hit the highway and kept honking all the way. The driving was awesome, and he was real quick! The crowd in the bus too was good.
We made a brief halt at Cherthala bus station. The bus had some problem with the horn, and the driver was desperate to get it corrected. He tried his hand at Cherthala, but could not satisfactorily restore it. The traffic on the highway was medium, and he kept speeds in the range of 60-70kmph all the time. The bus finally pulled into Alappuzha depot at 1910. The bus was about 10 minutes early. The driver managed to utilise that time to get the horn attended.
An attempt at night photography ;-)
The bus pulled out of Alappuzha bus station at 1925, and left me at my destination at around 1945. The crowd after Alappuzha was meagre, and the bus had lots of empty seats.
The approximate schedule of the bus is like this: EKM Dep: 1720, ALP Arr: 1920 Dep 1925; Tenkashi Arrival: 2355.
In the return direction: Tenkashi departure 0600; ALP arr: 1220 dep: 1420; EKM arr: 1620. The long wait at Alappuzha is since the bus is based there and is taken for maintenance at this time. Direct tickets are not issued from TSI to EKM, and the trip is treated as seperate TSI-ALP and ALP-EKM services.
Images of that short bus fanning this time in Kerala are here...