Finally at home... On the bus from Bangalore to Thrissur

Finally reached home this morning at 0950. The bus slowed down quite badly since morning. We had a short break at Sulthan Bathery for light snacks. So here goes the trip report:

I reached the bus station (Kempegowda Bus Station, Bangalore - popularly called as "Majestic") at around 2035. The bus station was crowded heavily. My bus was to depart from Platform 9/10. I reached the assigned platform, and three KSRTC AC Buses were lined up there! And of the three, two were heading to Ernakulam, and one was to Kozhikode. I quickly checked up with a conductor and found out that my bus was indeed there.

The buses waiting around were: RR214 (KL15-6412, of Thrissur), RR220 (KL15-6622, of Kozhikode), RR204 (KL15-6397, of Ernakulam). Another bus of Thrissur Depot (RR213, KL15-6411) was waiting at Platform 14 (working the 2200 departure to Thrissur). The entire bus station was choked by buses parked in all possible fashions. A steady stream of departures kept the Andhra Pradesh section of the bus station busy.

At around 2100, the doors of my bus was opened. The bus was KL15-6412, RR214 of Thrissur Depot - working the 2130 schedule to Ernakulam. I was surprised to see a bus of Thrissur depot working the Ernakulam route. But, later it turned out that this bus was a spare and the actual bus had faced some problems the previous night. I got into the bus, and left my baggage on the baggage rack over my seat. The Air conditioner was yet to be switched on, and hence I decided to wait outside for a while. I got a bottle of an aerated drink, and then kept howering around my bus.

The crowd of unreserved passengers trying to get a seat was increasing every moment, and I thought it would be better for me to stay put at my seat. I settled at my seat - #13, a Window. The aisle was occupied by a person in his fifties. The AC was still off. The conductor came around with the reservation chart, and quickly checked all tickets. Once that was over, he started accomodating unreserved passengers.

The engine was switched on at 2125, and the AC too was turned on. The bus started crawling out, sharp at 2130. It took a while for our bus to get out of the terminus, since buses were parked at all corners in awkward fashion. The driver did not seem very comfortable maneuvering the bus. This bus (and most other fully built Luxury buses available in the market) is 12 metres long, while the normal buses used by RTCs are not over 11 metres in length. This driver surely had the 11 metre calculation in mind.

We slowly crawled out on to the main road, and joined the crowd at the traffic signal. The Cottonpet main road was crowded as usual, and it took over 20 minutes for the bus to reach the Market flyover. Once on the Mysore road, the driver started picking speed. The bus then pulled over at the Satellite Bus station. About 4 passengers got into the bus here, and we left the bus station at 2214. By now all seats in the bus were taken, and the AC was working full force. The coach was already cold, and the equipment maintained the temperature really well, through the night.

I dozed off for a while. Later, at around 2315 or so, I noticed the bus zipping through Ramanagaram. The vibration levels in the bus was really high. One could feel all the vibrations from the engine, and the body did a poor job at dampening them. The suspension was not smooth either. It was overall a bumpy ride. The brakes, however, did a really good job. Initially the air brakes kick in, and if the force applied rises, the retarder joins the show and the speed gets into control pretty quickly.

I again dozed, and woke up just as the bus was entering Mysore city. We ran through the city, slowing down at the bus station for formality. We crossed the bus station at 0030. I dozed off again. The driver kept up real good pace, and when I woke up briefly a while later, we were running through Gundlupet. The bus covered 61 kilometres in just an hour and 11 minutes - a good show for a bus of this kind. I dozed off once again.

I woke up suddenly when the driver slammed the brakes hard. The lorry just ahead of my bus had stopped suddenly. We were now at the Karnataka-Kerala border. My bus being a state government run one, we did not have to wait at any of the check posts. We overtook a Karnataka state bus just after the check post. Our driver was in no mood to slow down, as we continued flying through at 80-85kmph. All of a sudden, the bus stopped at a junction, and the driver took a sharp right turn. We were heading to Sulthan Bathery bus station.

My Bus - KL15-6412, RR214 of Thrissur Depot - at Sulthan Bathery

The conductor announced a 10 minute break and he rushed off to their office. Almost the entire bus emptied out, and the lone tea stall owner seemed too happy. We reached Sulthan Bathery at 0253, and left at 0309. During our stay there, one Bangalore-Kozhikode Super Deluxe and one Kottayam-Mysore Super Fast came in. WE had to make a brief halt a while after Sulthan Bathery bus station to allow three passengers to alight.

I dozed off again as the bus pulled out. I remember the bus halting at Kalpetta (0336) to drop a couple of passengers. I was woken up with a jerk as the bus stopped abruptly at a hair-pin bend on the famous Thamarassery Ghats (locally called as Churam). The driver could not complete the turn, and the bus was now standing perpendicular to the turn. He had to back up and the turn again. The same mistake repeated at most turns - highlighting the driver's inexperience of handling a bus of this length. He managed the skill of turning around only at the last hair-pin bend.

I went to deep sleep immediately after this turn. We made a brief halt at Thamarassery (0447) to drop a few passengers and then continued our journey. I was woken up just as the bus stopped at Kozhikode Bus station (0526). The halt here was longer than normal. The bus had to queue up for refueling, and this took a pretty long time. The bus was then made to wait at the platform for some time. The crew went for a tea. The news was that the bus would actually terminate at Thrissur, and passengers bound to Ernakulam will be transferred to a following bus. So, this bus was waiting at Kozhikode for the trailing bus to reach there, so that the waiting time for passengers at Thrissur can be minimised.

We finally left the bus station at 0555, just as the trailing bus came to the bus station. (That was the 0600 Kozhikode-Trivandrum service). The driver pulled out of the bus station with full vengeance. The bus easily maintained 85-90kmph through the way. We dropped a few passengers enroute, and also picked a few at Kottakal. Finally, the bus reached Punkunnam (a suburb of Thrissur) at 0805. But a traffic deviation meant that the bus could not proceed directly to the bus station, and we had to take a round-about way to the bus station. In short, we did a 112.76km journey (a normal two-lane road all the way, with mild ghats) in an impressive two hours and 10 minutes!

However, the long route that we had to take meant that I could get down directly at the Private Bus Station (locally called Sakthan Thamburan Bus Station) instead of having to hire an autorickshaw from the KSRTC bus station. I got down from the bus at 0835 - about 30 minutes after we entered the city! I got a bus to my home very quickly, and reached home by 0950.

My return journey to Bangalore is on Sunday (01-March-2009) by the 2000 Thrissur-Bangalore AC service. Will post a note on that trip, and my notes about the Globus service soon.


good one...felt like travelled with u to thrissur. waiting for the post abt globus. all the best..

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