Trivandrum to Mysore by Airavat Club Class

There are very few options from Trivandrum to Mysore - and taking a decision was fairly simple. Once I got into the booking process, it turned to be not so simple as thought to be. There were three options - one Kerala RTC Multi-Axle, one Karnataka RTC Airavat Club Class and one Kallada Multi-Axle, arranged in the order of increasing costs. I wanted to try the Kerala RTC bus, but it was already sold out. The next was the Airavat Club Class - it had two rows available at the back, and I quickly bought a seat on this bus. I got seat #44.

September 14, 2014:
I checked out my room and slowly walked out of the hotel around 6pm. It was drizzling a bit then. As I walked, the rain slowly strengthened. By the time I reached the KSRTC bus station, it turned into a downpour - I got a bit wet by the time I entered the terminal building. This was my first visit to the new terminal building after it was opened. The terminal building seemed incomplete - no shops were opened yet. While I was waiting there, a super deluxe to Kannur turned up. My bus, KA-09-F-4920 turned up right after the Kannur deluxe left. The bus did not seem to be in great shape - boarding commenced immediately. I got into the bus only after the crowd subsided. Interiors were clean and appeared well kept. The first thing that caught my attention was the lack of the rear LCD screen - so there was just one TV for the 49 passengers in the bus - it was impossible for the passengers at the back to watch the sole tv.
The bus: KA-09-F-4920 (Image from Archives)
The crew called up the remaining passengers on the phone, and ensured that all the passengers who had advance reservation were on board. We started off at 1845hrs - a full five minutes before time. Quite a lot of seats were yet to be taken - but I understood that Karnataka RTC offers a lot of pick-up points along the highway. The bus directly headed to Chackai and then turned towards Kazhakkoottam. We started from Kazhakkoottam at 1922hrs after picking up a couple of passengers. By now they had started playing a Hindi movie on the sole TV upfront - I couldn't see what was happening, but from the audio understood it was a record breaking bollywood SRK-Kajol starrer. I spent my time fiddling with my phone. It rained a bit and the bus wasn't able to keep great speeds due to the traffic.

The next pick-up was at Kallambalam (2002) and then Parippally (2013). The bus pulled into Kollam Bus Station at 2052hrs - more than 2 hours after we left from Trivandrum. A few passengers got in, and we continued our journey at 2053hrs. By now I was desperately hungry and was wondering why were did not pull in for dinner yet. Our Dinner break was at a hotel near Krishnapuram (before Kayamkulam) at 2139hrs - the crew announced a 20 minute break and walked out. The restaurant was very lousy - they took a lot of time to serve food. By the time my bill came, the driver was already honking to call back passengers. I rushed to the bus after paying for food - we started at 2209hrs - exactly 30 minutes lost for break. I was tired and sleepy by now. We stopped for a pick-up at Kayamkulam (2211hrs) - the bus did not enter into the bus station, but stopped by at Ananda Travels on the highway.

I had a very nice sleep after this. I woke up briefly when my co-passenger got in (I later realised that that was at Ernakulam). True to the name, the driving was very sleep friendly, and I truely slept "like a baby". I woke up sometime around 0500hrs when the bus was climbing the Wayanad Ghats (aka Thamarassery pass). I continued sleeping, and woke up only when the bus stopped at Kalpetta to drop a passenger (0539hrs). I continued sleeping again, and woke up when the bus was just passing the Karnataka forest checkpost just past the Bandipur forest stretch. We passed Gundlupet at 0722hrs. The driver was showing signs of hurry now. Although the ticket claimed we had a tea break at Gundlupet, I prayed we did not waste time for tea - as if my prayers were answered, the driver skipped the break and continued towards Mysore. We passed Nanjangud at 0756hrs. It generally takes an hour from Nanjangud to Mysore, and by now I was sure we'd reach at the scheduled time.

We stopped by at the Outer Ring road jn before Mysore at 0822, and a lot of passengers got off. We overtook the 1630hrs Trivandrum-Mysore Airavat just before the palace - this bus is supposed to reach Mysore at 0430 hrs - but doesn't have a forest pass. Its high time KSRTC updated its website with the actual arrival time. We finally pulled in to Mysore Bus Station at 0835hrs - about 20 minutes before scheduled time.

End Notes: The bus was KA-09-F-4920, of Mysore Rural Depot-2. The bus had about 3.2 Lakh kms on the odo. The maintenance wasn't really great - the body had a lot of damages. Although the interiors were clean, the interior lights were not working at the rear half and the rear LCD panel was missing. The driving was good - he did lug at times. Being on one of the last rows, I had to bear with the lugging at time. As usual, Mysore crew have a sense of time, and this driver was no different - he managed time really well and did not waste time anywhere. The running time of 13h50m was good for the distance, considering the fact that its mostly a two-lane road with a ghat in between. What shocked me really was that the Kerala RTC Multiaxle reached only at 0930 - even after departing a good 1h45m before us!

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: Yes
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Yes
Entertainment: Yes

Ratings:
Maintenance: 3.5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 4/5

Will I take this service again? Its a good option for the route - a bit pricey though.

Comments

Naveen Kumar said…
This review has come at the right time for me sir. I was considering taking this service from Thrissur to Mysore on the coming weekend, the only problem being an odd 0140hours pick-up. I guess I'll take the 2100 hours (from Thrissur) service that commences from Ernakulam, since I have to reach Mysore a bit earlier.
Off late I'm avoiding the Dhimbam route mainly due to rash driving on the return leg on two occasions consecutively by a veteran driver who usually drove well and responsibly. Also once during one of the onward journeys, the driver was on a phone call from Thrissur to Palakkad and from Coimbatore to Sathy, and he was forcing on-coming traffic continually off the road during overtakes. I was on seat #4 and requested him kindly to not speak on phone (I was part afraid he may show the anger on driving, and I got yelled at by my co-passenger), but after I requested he started using earphones, and from his conversation I could understand that the person on the other end was also driving an Airavat.
I mailed KSRTC (during the journey itself) suggesting them to check the call registry of drivers to avoid such incidents in future. The official replied at 2330 hours itself asking me for my trip details stating action would be taken. I gave it after he assured that the driver won't be fired. I was spared the guilt as I did see the same crew on another weekend and was happy when he did not use his mobile when driving.
Binai K Sankar said…
Hi Naveen,

None of the Mysore terminating buses from Kerala will reach Mysore before 8~8.30. All of them wait till 6AM at the forest checkpost and then come to Mysore. Please don't go by the timings displayed on the website.
Naveen Kumar said…
Thank you sir for the info about the time. Could I know which KaSRTC buses have the night permit?
Binai K Sankar said…
Kozhikode-Bangalore.. One multi and one ac sleeper. No permits via gudalur for Kerala buses.
Naveen Kumar said…
I wanted to check whether at least the departure times were right in the website. Observed for two days. The average time and mentioned time ( ) at which the buses crossed Sankarayya Rd. (Thrissur) are as follows.
1900EKMMYS-2200hrs(2100hrs)
2005EKMMYS-2250hrs(2220hrs)
1630TRIMYS-0020hrs(2345hrs)
1850TRIMYS-0120hrs(0140hrs)
I missed the 1830KTMMYS Rajahamsa though.

So I guess only the Trivandrum-Mysore ACC has the right Dep. and Arr. times on the website, sir.


Good review binaiks...


Hi naveen kumar bro, am from Thrissur too. I take the 20:31TCR-BGN via coimbatore mysore, almost every 2 weeks. This bus starts around 8:45pm and consistently reaches mysore at around 4:45am to 5am. (website : 4am)
The drivers of this bus are always good (except once, a lug happy driver). The road is also good (except the palakkad coimbatore sector)
apart from that I have tried the 10pm calicut bangalore rajahamsa, which takes the kutta, mananthavadi route(worst roads for around 40km) which reached mysore at 4:30am, and also the 9:30 calicut bangalore airavat cc which reaches at 4:20am.

Even am looking for a suitable alternative to a good bus which puts me at mysore before 6am.
Naveen Kumar said…
Hi Vineeth sir, thanks for the info. I used to travel by the 2031TCRBNG to Mysore and 2015TCRBNG Ambaari to Bangalore regularly till recently when I started frequenting the 1535TCRBNG (I love this ghat section) I'm leaving saturday night to Mysore, trying the 1900EKMMYS service this time, even though Binai sir mentioned that most buses reach only around 8.30AM. I want to checkout the road conditions since I'm driving to Bangalore from Thrissur in two weeks. I have driven by the other three routes, so thinking of trying this route this time. Also I want to avoid passing through TN with my KA registered car, till things calm down.
Naveen Kumar said…
Completed the Mysore trip. Both onward and return journey were awesome. Onward, the bus scheduled to reach Thrissur at 2100 hrs came at 2200 hrs and as foretold by Binai sir, reached at 0813 hrs. Worthy of mention - During the stopover at the forest checkpost, the chap there came out and triple checked with his torch and asked the crew to pass quickly (and said that the usual guy is out and about already, he was refering to an elephant). He allowed the bus to be parked just beyond the checkpost on the right lane and asked all of us to remain inside as an elephant was in close proximity. The crew then advised the passengers to remain silent and to not click photos with flash in the event of spotting wildlife. We were lucky, the elephant came real close to the bus and was toiling around, we couldn't see very clearly till the lights of a KeSRTC which had permit, arrived. We then realized that he was playing with the left mirror of our bus. The crew were not surprised but were praying he doesn't end up breaking it. They did nothing to chase him though (really appreciate that). They mentioned that this elephant was frequent at this time and that he broke the windshield of a KeSRTC a month ago. The KeSRTC driver who had the permit also switched off the headlights and waited patiently. Just then the Bangalore-Kozhikode ACC turned up from the opposite side, and from the light we realized the elephant had walked forward a few yards. The ACC crew intimated the chap at the checkpost to come out of the shelter and let the two buses pass. At that time the crew of our bus let the AC run for a while and shut it down.
The return journey was uneventful, really good driving. The bus left Mysore at 1900hrs, crossed the forest checkpost at 2045 hrs following a short pee break just before the checkpost, halted at Sulthan Bathery bus station for dinner break at 2200hrs. I was dropped at Sankarayya road, Thrissur at 0337 hours.
On both the journeys the buses stopped at kozhikode for nearly 20mins. The journey was so good on both directions that I was awake throughout.

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