Mangalore to Bangalore on Durgamba Volvo B9R

I was sitting lazy in my hotel room contemplating about my return journey from Mangalore to Bangalore. I wanted to be in Bangalore by 6AM, preferably. I did not want a sleeper bus - I wasn't very comfortable at the prospect of taking a sleeper bus on a ghat route. The options were very limited - a plethora of KSRTC buses, and a handful of private buses. The fact that I wanted to be in Bangalore early in the morning narrowed down options - I finally booked on Durgamba, using a third party website. Booking went through without a glitch, and the mTicket sms popped up in my inbox in no time. The bus works a Kundapura-Mangalore-Bangalore-Bangalore Airport routing, and Durgamba calls it Route #30. An SMS from Durgamba came in sometime around 1900hrs with details of the crew. My pick-up from Mangalore was at 2155hrs.

July 28, 2015:
I left the hotel room quite early. I really liked the hotel - the bell boy ensured he hired a rickshaw for me by the time the receptionist finished the check-out formalities. I had an auto waiting for me as I walked out of the hotel. I was dropped at the pick-up point by the auto guy sometime before 2100hrs. I just confirmed that I was at the right spot, and the timings of the bus before heading to a nearby hotel for dinner. I felt I should've eaten at a better place before coming here - because there weren't any good joints nearby! I had some food from a hotel nearby - it wasn't great, but did serve the purpose. I was back at the Durgamba office - at City Plaza - sometime around 2145hrs. The bus turned up soon after I reached back there.
The bus - KA-51-B-1235
The bus for me that night was KA-51-B-1235 - the very same bus that I travelled in last time. Boarding commenced immediately. I left my bag in the boot, and got into the bus. The bus was clean inside out, the interiors were very fresh - a very subtle air freshener was used. The occupancy was fairly good as well. I was on Seat #27 - I settled down. It was not very cool at the seat - so I just tried setting the air flow controller - I was in for some shock, when I realised the knobs were gone! They had applied a duct tape on the opening, and left a small opening for some air to flow through! Most seats behind mine were empty - so I just decided to wait till all the pick-ups were over and then probably shift my seat. We got moving from there at 2157hrs - two minutes late.

We had pick-ups at Jyoti Circle (2200hrs) and Kankanadi (2204hrs) - the attendant did a final headcount at Kankanadi. A guy from the Durgamba office too joined in. Once the headcount was done, the front curtains were drawn, lights off and we got moving towards Bangalore. Although I wanted to change my seat - one because of the inexistent ac knob, two because the seat ahead of me was fully reclined, and I felt too congested in my seat. But, I was too sleepy to get off an move. I fell asleep soon after. I had one very nice long sleep - till the lights were switched on, and the attendant shouted out a break! It was 0130hrs - we were parked outside a hotel. I switched on GMaps to find where I was - I figured out that we were somewhere past Kushalnagar, on the road towards Kunigal.

I took a stroll outside, stretched a bit, came back and decided to shift a row behind. We started moving again at 0140hrs. I fell asleep in under 5 minutes of starting off after the break. This was another continuous stretch. I did not wake up till the lights came on again, and the attendant shouted at the top of his voice... "Yeshwantpur... Yeshwantpur"!! The time now was 0531hrs! Whoa! We were in Bangalore's door steps already!! I dozed off intermittently, till we passed Malleshwaram, and turned towards Central Talkies! I had to get off at their Hotel Swati office - I still wonder why didn't I opt to get off closer to Majestic though. I was busy hunting for a cab on the app of a very famous cab aggregator. A cab was booked, and the ETA of my cab was about 5 minutes. I was dropped at the Swati office of Durgamba at 0544hrs - 14 minutes late, from the scheduled arrival time of 0530!

Seven and a half hours for a 360kms journey - perfect, smooth driving with no hard brakes, no honking. The bus was in good shape - except for the missing AC Knob. The bus was clean inside out. A no-nonsense service. I can vouch for Durgamba after the two rides I had with them. Perfect on timings as well!

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: No
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, did not use
Entertainment: Available, not used

Ratings:
Maintenance: 4/5 (How can you not maintain the AC knobs!)
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Will I take this service again? Why wouldn't I ??

Comments

Ashith Shetty said…
Good to see bus reviews after a long time..

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