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Showing posts from October, 2015

Pune to BLR: on a Niner Whisky B738

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I hadn't flown a Jet Airways B738 anytime before this trip. I had to opt for a Monday morning flight since Sunday evening flights were selling at astronomical rates. It turned cheaper to stay overnight at Pune and take a Monday morning flight instead. The cheapest flight of the day was an IndiGo, and the next was a Jet Airways - the fare difference being under Rs. 300! It made sense to pick Jet over IndiGo - since I'd anyway spend that difference in another way. Ticketing was done on the Jet Airways website itself, and the eticket popped up in my mailbox within minutes.

October 05, 2015:
I was wary of Pune's traffic and hence opted to leave my hotel early. I was also wary about the last minute availability of cabs in Pune (my previous experience was scary). I prebooked a cab the previous night itself, and opted for a 0900hrs pickup. The cab arrived perfectly on time, but checkout from hotel took longer than expected. We started off from there around 0905hrs. As expected, t…

Shirdi to Pune, via Nagar: An MSRTC Experience

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I wanted to reach back in Pune before it was too dark - and I wanted to have a very peaceful sleep before I head back to Bangalore on Monday morning. I had the option of taking a private Volvo, or trying my luck in the long distance Volvos that operate out of Shirdi towards places in the South. I ruled out both, and briefly thought of taking a non-ac bus through to Pune from Shirdi. The lure of travelling in an MSRTC Shivneri after long 8 years kept me in suspended animation. Since there were no direct Shivneri services to Pune from Shirdi, I had two options - one, to go to Nashik and take a bus from there to Pune (adds to my travelling distance and time), second - to catch a Shivneri from Ahmednagar (Nagar) - this was the most feasible of options. 
The MSRTC online reservation website is a bit confusing - it doesn't show the pick-up timing at your pick-up point when you search for buses. On searching for Shivneri buses from Nagar to Pune, a list of 15 services popped up - I init…

MSRTC Asiad: Pune to Shirdi

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I was very confused when I sat down to book tickets from Pune to Shirdi. I first checked on RedBus and found that only one operator had buses on the Pune-Shirdi route - that was an operator I did not want to travel with. I turned to the MSRTC website, and found no premium buses on the route, but plenty of non-ac buses. I decided to select a bus leaving over an hour after my flight lands - I wanted to be in Shirdi before midnight, since I had opted for an early darshan at the samadhi. I selected a hotel that was right opposite the bus station - so that I'd not have to hunt around for the hotel at night. I finally selected an MSRTC Asiad (now called Hirkani) bus that leaves Pune (Shivajinagar) at 1830hrs, and was scheduled to reach Shirdi sometime before midnight.

Asiad buses are 2x2 non-airconditioned buses operated by MSRTC across the state. These buses were technically called "Semi-Deluxe", they were popularly called Asiad buses since they were introduced around the tim…

First Flight on a Jet Airways B738 - BLR to Pune

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Shirdi Calling! It was almost 10 years since my last visit to Shirdi Sai Baba Samadhi. I've never been a hardcore devotee, but always cherished this dream of being in Sai Baba's abode once again. My plans of going there never happened for a long time. I had almost booked my ticket once - but had to drop it since it was rush time at Shirdi then. After rejecting a lot of dates, I finally decided to do a quickie to Shirdi - a weekend was opted, and I had the task of getting tickets. Taking a bus was out of question - for two reasons: They were expensive, and I didn't have as much time to spare. After the routine hunting around for good fares, I got them on the Jet Airways website. The outbound and return tickets were ticketed seperately.

So finally my trip looked like this:
9W2847 BLR PNQ 1545 1705 October 03, 2015
9W2842 PNQ BLR 1125 1255 October 05, 2015
- And a few bus journeys thrown in between to connect to Shirdi from Pune and back.

I was excited from the moment the e-…

The Silver Line Jet - on my long journey to Kannur..

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It was a very confusing decision. I had to travel from my hometown, Kodungallur to Kannur. Its a short journey, and has very few comfortable options. I had the options of taking a train from Thrissur (ruled out since no tickets were available), taking an overnight bus (ruled out since I wanted to be in Kannur well in time - and taking an overnight bus could be a major risk), or going bus hopping - this is the option I chose. I wanted to try my luck with KURTC - Kerala's official Low Floor bus operator. There were no buses at the time, I wanted. While casually browsing the Kerala SRTC reservation website for tickets from Kodungallur to Kozhikode, a Silver Line Jet popped up - the bus operates a Changanassery-Kozhikode schedule. Without wasting much time, I went ahead and booking a ticket (I got the ticket on my fourth attempt only - the banking transaction timed out everytime due to poor network connectivity).

What is this Silver Line Jet?

Long ago, when I was a Kid, Kerala SRTC u…

Kannur to Bangalore: KSRTC Airavat

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I did not quite realise that it was a very long weekend. I was quite late to start searching for tickets - almost all the good buses were sold out - the private ones were full, barring a few exhorbitantly priced special buses. Even the later buses of KSRTC were sold out. There weren't too many options left, and I chose to book a KSRTC Airavat that leaves very early from Kannur. This particular bus is operated by Mysore division, and operates only upto Mysore Road Satellite Bus Station. With a very early departure (1845hrs) and a very early arrival (0330hrs), this bus finds very few takers and is usually the last to fill. Half the bus was filled when I booked my ticket, and I had to be content with a window seat towards the rear half of the bus.

September 20, 2015
I decided to leave my room a bit early, so that I could have some refreshments before getting into the bus. However, so issues with my booking at the hotel delayed by check-out, and I could leave the hotel only by 1750hrs…

The Low Floor revolution in Kerala: A short trip from Alappuzha to Kochi Airport

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Low Floor buses were first introduced in 2009 - as part of JnNURM funding. The basic intention of these buses were to modernise city transportation in the cities of Kochi and Trivandrum, where they were launched. Operations of these buses were handled by KSRTC, who felt they made losses in city routes and put them on longer intercity routes. While the passenger response in these routes were good, the basic purpose wasn't served. This led to some legal issues finally leading to the High court of Kerala issuing orders restraining KSRTC from operating such buses beyond the project area. Considering the fact that urbanisation in Kerala is widespread and not confined to certain areas, the Kerala government divided Kerala into clusters of 2-3 districts and received funding for clusters than cities. A new subsidiary was formed under KSRTC, called Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) to handle JnNURM buses.

With JnNURM-2 funding, there are Volvo services across the state now. …