A quick trip to Mysore

January 5, 2014, Sunday:
The first weekend of the new year. I wanted to make a visit to Mysore since long. But everytime, the opportunity got missed between the cup and the lip. This time everything went fine until Saturday evening. But some other got scheduled for Sunday morning, and I saw another miss this time. Sometime towards noon (around 11AM), I decided to head to Mysore. I left my vehicle at Shantinagar BS, and headed straight to A2B restaurant there for a quick brunch. Getting to Satellite BS from Shantinagar is a helluva task. Despite being an important terminal, there is hardly any link between the two bus stations (except for a very infrequent bus route - G6). I had to travel via Majestic (of course, I could've gone via Market as well). I made it to Satellite BS around 1205hrs.

I did some photography of the Kerala buses parked there - saw the interiors of the new Tata Super Deluxe for the first time. I finally entered into the bus station at around 1230hrs. I was already too late to go to Mysore - but I still decided to do it. I had a caveat though - It has to be a Multi-axle bus! I walked to the Mysore platform, and saw one Multi parked in the queue. There was one run down Airavat waiting for departure ahead of the Multi - the Airavat left at 1245hrs. In the meantime, the Ernakulam bound Super Deluxe of Kerala RTC was parked at Platform 6 - had a confusion whether to take the Deluxe or the Airavat Club Class. Club Class it was! I headed to the ticket counter and got a ticket to Mysore - Rs. 290 was the fare for counter bookings (for online bookings, they charge Rs. 300 plus reservation). The lady at the counter marked "F-4919" on my ticket.
KA-09-F-4919 standing at Bangalore Satellite BS.
Yes! It was KA-09-F-4919 of Mysore Rural Depot-2 that was ferrying me to Mysore. The lady had 200408.3kms on the odo, and a board reading "Hyderabad-Bangalore-Mysore". My favorite seat in the first row was already taken - left with no choice, headed to the third row and took a window seat on the left (a big mistake!). The driver was saying that he'll reach Mysore at 3.30 (oh? how come?). There was no sign of the bus moving, even as the clock ticked past 1300hrs. The bus was quite empty - until a KIA-10 Airport Volvo came in - that bus emptied, and almost every passenger walked into our bus. We finally left at 1326hrs. The driver was fast from the word go - the typical Airavat style lugging was suprisingly absent. His overtakes were well signalled, and cautious. Given the number of speed breakers on the route, the driver was very cautious. Being a "Non-stop" service, the bus did not have a conductor, and no movies/songs were played. A water bottle was provided, and AC was set to very comfortable temperature.

I had to keep my curtain closed for most part of the journey, since Sun was perfectly on my side. I sat down enjoying some videos on my phone, and did not notice much of the journey. I was expecting him to reach Mysore atleast by 4, if not the promised 3.30. At 1530 we were somewhere around Mandya. The first drop was at Srirangapatna (1550hrs). The next stop was at the junction of ring road - at 1602hrs. I expected some traffic in the city, especially since it was a Sunday, but thankfully the roads weren't too crowded. We finally made it to the Suburban Bus Station at 1612hrs - 2h46m after we started from Bangalore. The odo read 200539.8 as we got off the bus - so that is 131.5kms. KSRTC charges for 144kms though (as mentioned on the ticket).

Remarks: The driving was great. No rash brakes, but was honking throughout. Otherwise the driving was quite sleep friendly. He did not waste time anywhere, and did not lug the engine anytime. This driver surely knows how to drive a Volvo. I regret not asking the guy's name - he deserves appreciation. The bus was quite new, and well kept. Interiors were really clean.

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

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Staff: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Return Journey:
I thought of trying out the Kerala SRTC Super Deluxe to return - there was one bus coming from Kozhikode, passing Mysore around 5.30. But the attitude of the crew seriously put me - they did not bother entering the bus station, nor trying to get a few passengers from near the exit. Seriously bad attitude for a corporation that is sinking, and burning public cash rapidly. I was back inside the bus station, trying my luck at getting some Multi-axle (again!). There were three Airavats to Bangalore lined up for departure - the first two were old, run down buses, while the one at the end of the queue was a fairly new bus (a 9400). I had an eye on this bus as I stood waiting for an Airavat Club Class. As the clock ticked past 1820, I was afraid I might get held up in Mysore. I decided to get into the 9400 finally.
KA-01-F-8541 before starting the trip.
So it was KA-01-F-8541 of Mysore Rural Depot-2 having the honours of bringing me back to Bangalore. The bus was working a Mysore-Bangalore-Ooty schedule. So the bus had a Driver as well as a Conductor. I took my favorite seat - #4. The driver was at the wheels, while the conductor was out hunting for passengers. The advantage of this bus was that it would drop me at Shantinagar, and not Satellite BS. The ticket was for Rs. 270 (Rs. 260 if getting off at Satellite BS). The bus finally started off at 1853hrs - with a ETA of 2200hrs. This driver too was fast from the word go. I was falling in love with the driving style of Mysore crew. My previous trip in a Mysore division bus was also rocking. These people know how to drive a speed-locked Volvo, without lugging the engine. This driver was no different - he changed gears at the right RPMs, and maintained speed for most of the time.

Traffic was on the higher side - normal for a Sunday. We picked up a passenger from Srirangapatna. A movie was played - Mysore division plays movies using USB drives and not CDs! It was a Bollywood movie. The TV screen was damaged, and the viewing angle was awful - the images looked quite bad to me. I concentrated on the road instead. Traffic slowed us often - but the driver did not lose momentum. A traffic block due to an accident near Maddur made us crawl for some time. After some high-speeds bursts, we finally reached Kengeri around 2115hrs. We stopped outside Satellite BS at 2143hrs. We were on time as of now - but Bangalore had something else in store for us. Traffic thickened as we passed Town Hall. Road was jammed after Town Hall - reducing us to a crawl. I was finally dropped outside Shantinagar Bus Station at 2216hrs - 3h23m end-to-end. Quite slow for the distance, but the driver did his best.

End notes: The bus had about 10 lakh kms on the odo (1064105.6 to be exact - noted as I got off the bus). The bus did show its age, but maintenance was good. The driving was great - minimal honking, well signalled overtakes and absolutely no rash driving. He did have to brake hard a few times - all thanks to the crazy weekend drivers. This guy too knew how to drive a Volvo - he kept maintaining 90kmph wherever he could - absolutely no lugging of the engine, and correct gear shifts. I'm lovin 'em.

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

Ratings:
Maintenance: 4.5/5
Staff: 5/5
Punctuality: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Will I take these services again? Sure. There is no need to think beyond KSRTC in this route.

Comments

Sunup said…
Kudos to your bus-fanning spirit! Though I consider myself as a bus fan, I would never have undertaken such a journey just for the heck of bus-fanning. Wish you had taken that Tata Super Deluxe. Would have gotten a genuine review.
Binai.K.Sankar said…
@Sunup.. My intention was to travel in the TATA Deluxe - but that attitude of the crew was a real put-off. "Travel if you want" attitude is a real no-no for me. But I am trying the Leyland Deluxe this weekend, and probably will try the TATA one in the near future.
Mac said…
Hi Binai,

i am a regular follower of your writings for 2 years now.

I should say the attention to detail and passion you carry in your reviews is what interests me the most,being a hardcore fan of KaSRTC i quite get excited to read your reviews about ACC or Airavat and always wait for one !

Wish you a very happy new year and hope i get to read a lot of your writings this year !

Mahesh
Bangalore

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