Back to Bangalore, from Chitradurga, on the Airavat!

I had made a round trip booking this time. I opted for a bus that leaves from Chitradurga around 5pm so that I'd back in Bangalore before midnight. Since KSRTC gives a discounts for round trip bookings, I hadn't thought about another operator much.

June 08, 2016:
I was dropped at the bus station by a teacher at the examination centre, who happens to stay close by. It was all cloudy, and it felt like it was 6pm, although the time was just 1630hrs then. My bus was to arrive at 1700hrs - I had to spent around half-an-hour at the bus station. An earlier bus to Bangalore arrived perfectly on time - at 1650hrs - so I expected my bus also to reach on time. The time ticked past 1700hrs - but there was no sign of my bus. In the meantime, it started raining - began as a benign drizzle and soon grew up into fairly heavy rain. The bus station has a very short canopy - and it was already crowded. As the rain strengthened, more people jostled for space inside - and the wind added to the misery by letting in water.

I got restless as the time went by - I was tired since I had slept very little the last night, and had a long day taking the examination. I, in fact, did not have any free time from the time I reached Chitradurga till I was dropped back at the bus station. Sometime around 1733hrs, my bus slowly rolled into the bus station and parked right in front of me. It was raining quite hard even at that time - and it was a wet experience getting into the bus. There were a couple of reserved passengers from there, and a few unreserved passengers walked in as well. The bus was working a Davanagere-Bangalore-Tirupathi schedule and was operated by Davanagere-1 depot.
The bus arriving at Chitradurga.. 
We started from Chitradurga at 1737hrs. The conductor came around to issue tickets to the unreserved passengers, and also to collect the new service tax from pre-reserved passengers. Water bottles were distributed soon afterwards. A movie was being played on the TV. It was still raining - and water logging was seen at many places. I was quite hungry already - and there were no decent eating options at the bus station, either.
When two Airavats met.. 
We pulled into the regular break stop - Hotel Athithi Plaza near Hiriyur, at 1813hrs. I rushed out of the bus to have something - a very light snack. I stocked up some snacks with me as well. The break stop was full of buses - KSRTC buses of different types, including another Airavat, that was heading to Shimoga. We started from there at 1831hrs. We stopped again outside Hiriyur bypass - to unload luggage! Yes! To unload luggage!! The same routine repeated a little after Sira (1920hrs) - this time a lot of boxes were unloaded. I really wondered if KSRTC has turned into a local courier agency as well! I was busy watching a movie on my phone - the TV was still blaring a loud movie.

We stopped yet again at Tumkur bypass (2010hrs) - it was pouring down heavy here, and the crew had a tough time unloading luggage here - they had to take the bus off the road closer to the shop where the luggage had to be left. I wondered why do they have to carry luggage in a premium bus, and keep stopping everywhere to unload. After all the luggage drama, we pulled in to Goreguntepalya, Yeshwantpur (outside Taj Vivanta) at 2125hrs. It was still drizzling, and we were amidst slow moving traffic. Our next halt was at Navrang talkies - 2143hrs. We finally pulled in to Majestic aka Kempegowda Bus Station at 2157hrs - 4h20m after we started from Chitradurga. We spent 18 minutes for the break - and no less than 15 minutes to unload luggage at different places.
The bus, when it stopped for food..
The bus, KA-01-F-4936 of Davangere Depot-1 was in fairly good shape, even after having clocked over 11 lakh kms. I had travelled in the very same bus, between the same destinations last year in June - back then, the bus was operating Davanagere-Chennai. That service stopped a couple of months later. This time the bus was operating Davanagere-Bangalore-Tirupati. The bus was in fairly good shape - interiors were in good shape, not as good as the one in the bus I traveled in the morning though. The crew were good, as usual. Driving was a mixed bag - he lugged at times, but maintained fairly good pace. He honked very often, even after it got dark. The driving was above average. The end-to-end running time was approximately 3h47m discounting the stops (food break and the three stops to unload luggage) - timings were good.

Amenities:
Blanket: No
Water: Yes - 500ml bottles
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Yes
Entertainment: Available - Movie played

Ratings:
Maintenance: 4.75/5 [Bruised exteriors, but great interiors]
Cleanliness: 5/5 [Absolutely clean]
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5 [Excellent]
Punctuality: 4.5/5 [Delayed at both ends - delay maintained through]

Overall: 4.85/5 [Value for money]

Will I take this service again? Absolutely! 

Comments

vamsi.urs said…
hmm. your reviews are interesting..
Balakrishna Rao said…
A tip.. Avoid buses that go on split trips like DVG-BLR-TPT or MLR-BLR-TPT etc.
These folks operate on a split schedule. Their next trip is considered a separate trip and hence they have a huge gap between the schedules. Most likely the bus from DVG leaves for Tirupati post 11 PM. Hence in order to avoid being stuck in that mess called Majestic, drivers prefer coming in late and directly to the bus station. Most often these buses are delayed.
Face the same issue on the Kundapur-BLR-Tirupati bus. Whereas the other schedules that are not split typically have the same bus returning that night. Hence they often maintain time to the dot. Safe travels!!

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