Bangalore to Chitradurga: KSRTC Airavat!

I did not think much before I booked a ticket for this one. This was again an exam duty, and I had been to the same college last year for an examination. I had taken an NWKRTC Express bus last time (read here). Although the journey in itself was comfortable, the thought of waking up early in the morning and then traveling this distance in a 2*3 seater bus made me averse. The first premium bus for the day is this 0655BNGDVG schedule operated by Davanagere-1 depot of KSRTC. Without much thoughts, I just went ahead and booked a ticket on this one - I purposefully avoided booking the first row since I wanted to sleep a bit, and I wouldn't sleep if I sat in the first row.

June 08, 2016:
Although the bus leaves only at 0655, I targeted to reach the bus station by around 0630, atleast. After my last experience with Uber, I decided to stick to the desi option of Ola instead. I got an Ola perfectly on time, and I got to the bus station before 0630hrs - perfectly what I wanted. I did some bus spotting around, before checking which bus would take me to Chitradurga - KA-01-F-4583 of Davanagere-1 Depot was getting ready. A while after I checked the bus, I received the SMS from KSRTC with details of the bus.
The bus.. before boarding commenced..
I did not get into the bus until the AC was switched on. The conductor checked my ticket while I was standing outside itself. The bus was ready for departure much before the scheduled time, except for a missing reserved passenger. The person turned up by 0659hrs and we slowly inched forward. Few NWKRTC Expresses were blocking the exit, and it was 0703hrs by the time we came out of the bus station. The driver was fairly fast from the beginning. The bus was in great shape - all the seats had all its fittings in place - as in, the bottle holder straps and magazine holders. The conductor had attracted a few unreserved passengers as well. He also collected the newly added service tax from all passengers while issuing tickets to unreserved passengers.

Our first pick-up point was at Navarang (0713hrs). They loaded some parcels also here, and started moving by 0715hrs. Traffic was just building up, and we could escape before blocks began. The next and last pick-up was at Govardhan Talkies (Yeshwantpur Railway Station) - at 0728hrs. After this pick-up, the conductor ticked off the chart and signalled the driver to take the elevated highway. We took the elevated road and sped towards Tumkur. I tried hard to sleep a bit now - but the crew had other plans. A movie was played on the AV system. I turned to music on my phone since the movie didn't appeal to my taste. Hunger pangs started by now - It was over two-and-half hours since my day began now.

We pulled in for a break at Kamat near Dabbaspet (at 0812hrs) - this is the routine breakfast stop for KSRTC Volvos leaving Bangalore in the morning. Unlike the previous time, they had service, meaning an A La Carte service. I finished my food quickly and headed out to click some pics. We started off from there at 0838hrs. I watched some movie on my phone for the rest of the time - the movie played in the bus was too loud to let me sleep anyways. We stopped at Hiriyur bypass to drop a passenger (0959hrs). The driver this time was quite fast - he maintained good pace for most of the time, and stuck to the mid lane on the highway. There was a bit of traffic as we neared Chitradurga - mainly slow moving trucks hogging all the lanes parallel.
The well kept interiors.. 
We reached Chitradurga bypass at 1037hrs. The run through the town towards the bus station seemed to take a lot of time - the roads were in bad shape, and for some reason, traffic was very very high - there were traffic cops everywhere, but it didn't help a lot. I was finally dropped at the KSRTC bus station, at 1045hrs - 3h42m after we started from Bangalore, including a 26 minute break for food. Absolutely great timings.

While the bus looked tired outside, and the engine sounded tired after having clocked over 11.35 Lakh kms, the interiors seemed really fresh and well kept. The crew were great - spoke very soft and politely. The driving was even greater - unlike the lug happy Bangalore drivers, these guys do rip (do not exceed 90kmph) but remain sane and constant at their speed. With the run time of 3:42hrs (including a 0:26hrs break), this is absolutely value for money!

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

Ratings:
Maintenance: 4.85/5 [Bruised exteriors, but great interiors]
Cleanliness: 5/5 [Absolutely clean]
Driving: 5/5 [Awesome driving, minimal lugging]
Crew behaviour: 5/5 [Excellent]
Punctuality: 5/5 [Left a lil' late, but reached before time]

Overall: 4.95/5 [Value for money]

Will I take this service again? Absolutely! 

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