Bangalore bound, on Kerala Lines

Kerala Lines is a new entrant (not really) in the field. Travel Centre - a fairly old Thrissur based agent - operates Kerala Lines. They've been operating weekend specials from Bangalore to Kerala since quite some time. They were handling the services of Shama Transport from Kerala earlier, then moved over to operating some other operators. A couple of months back, they started operating two new Volvo Multi-Axle buses to Pathanamthitta. The white beauties kept attracting quite often, but since I've not been traveling often these days, the opportunity to try them kept eluding me. Meanwhile, the service gained popularity and started getting really great reviews. My chance to try the service came in the form of my Niece's birthday celebrations at my home town. Not wasting any time, I got a seat blocked from the Travel center office in Bangalore. So it was Kerala Lines for my next Thrissur-Bangalore journey.

December 10, 2013:
After the celebrations at home, and a visit to our neighbourhood temple, and a sumptuous dinner, my brother dropped me at Thrissur, around 2130hrs. The bus was scheduled to leave at 2200hrs. As I reached the office, the guy at the counter informed that the bus would be late - it had some tyre problem at Changanassery and left late it seems. 5/5 for keeping the passenger updated. I headed to the KSRTC bus station to see something and spend some time loitering around. I was back in Travel Centre's office after sometime. It was terribly hot in Kerala - more so since I came from Bangalore. Heat and the humidity took a toll on me in that short waiting time. The bus rolled in at 2232hrs. It was KA-01-AC-0927 for me that day.

I was given C1 initially, but I found that seat already occupied - was immediately given H4, but I chose to head to K4 instead. The entire last two rows were vacant. I have a fetish for hearing the grunt from the B9R engine, and choosing the last-but-one row was a no-brainer of a decision. The seats had Rexine upholstery (fake leather kind) and was quite comfortable. We got moving at 2227hrs. The bus took the road via Sakthan stand instead of going via Swaraj Round, which is the norm. We stopped briefly at East Fort - and then headed towards Mannuthy. We stopped at a fuel station past Mannuthy at around 2257hrs. The bus took in some 300 lts of diesel - the drivers got water bottles as freebies (some kind of an offer from IndianOil) after refueling. We started from there at 2304hrs. Headed back to the seat, and all I remember was pushing back the seat to maximum, and closing my eyes.
The bus, during refueling.
I vaguely remember seeing the bus stop somewhere (a break?), but then slept continuously. I woke up around 0600hrs - my window was fully fogged up. We were near Attibele then. The driver maintained constant speed throughout - not hard braking and no unwanted honking. We stopped at Bommanahalli, just past the BETL flyover, around 0649, dropped a passenger and got moving again. I'd have normally gotten off here, but since it was holiday, decided to head to Madiwala instead. We stopped at Silk Board around 0650 and left a minute later. Finally, I was dropped outside TC office in Madiwala at 0654 - 8 hours and 22 minutes after we left from Thrissur.
The bus after dropping me at Madiwala
End notes: The bus, KA-01-AC-0977, had about 86000 kms on the odo. Maintenance was perfect. Some rattles from the rear suspension were present, but did not disturb my sleep though. The crew deserve some appreciation - especially the Attendant boy. A joyous guy, who helped out passengers with their baggage. A water bottle was provided to all passengers. The bus is speed locked, but did reach Bangalore in reasonable time. I heard there was some confusion during the break the bus took on the way, which delayed us a bit - not sure of the details since I was deep asleep. Not certainly the fastest, but among one of those good memorable journeys I had in the recent past.

Amenities:
Blankets: Yes
Water Bottle: Yes (500ml)
Snacks: No

Ratings:
Maintenance: 4.5/5
Staff: 5/5
Punctuality: 4.5/5 (4.5 despite the delay, only for informing upfront that the bus is late)
Overall: 4.5/5

Will I take this service again? Why not? I am not a fan of arriving post 0630 though. Recommended for the end-to-end guys.

Comments

Krishnaprasad said…
Just now boarded the same bus from Madiwala! The seat adjustment is a problem-I travelled four times consecutively in this now and twice my first row seat was moved off towards second or third due to Online bookings (including today my A1 is now B3!)
Rest everything goes good!
Vijay Madhavan said…
They will cancel the trip if they find less customer for bangalore to cochin in last minute it happen to me last week, my humble request please avoid kerala lines
Roy Thayyil said…
Travelled twice - from pala and from Muvattupuzha to Bangalore. Both times 1 hour late. Both times same excuse-breakdown. It was an old bus. Did not have the comfort of multiaxil bus. No seat cover. Uncomfortable rexin seat. Ended journey at Madiwala. These guys are trying to exploit travellers.
Binai K Sankar said…
@Roy.. Kerala lines doesn't operate from Pala. And, neither of their buses are "old". I am not sure which operator are you talking about.
Manuel Anto said…
its good service staff behavior was verry good that guy name was alphin and another fat man . his name was amal both guys are very good manners and good behaviour they know how can handle a passenger and bus was nice good drivers bus was so neat and clean nice driving and very comfortable journey for me and my family

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