Bengaluru to Mangaluru on KSRTC Airavat Diamond Class

As the examination season of 2017 commenced, another season of travel dawned on me. Like every year, I got an examination duty at Mangalore, this year as well. I've been traveling on overnight buses the last two years, and I badly wanted to travel over the day. The examination was originally scheduled for a Saturday, and I had the option of traveling overnight on Saturday night, or taking the day bus on Sunday, or may be hold on for a day and travel back only on Sunday night. I opted to travel back on Sunday night and spend the day in Mangalore. As the date for my exam came closer, I was updated that the examination would be on Sunday, and not Saturday. Since I had already applied for leave and had arranged to be away on Saturday, I opted to take a day bus to Mangalore on Saturday - I wanted to do this since quite long. I ended up having a ticket towards the rear, though.

June 10, 2017:
With my bus departing at 0700hrs, I had to leave home quite early. I opted to leave home by 0555hrs. The tired Indica trundled along the empty roads to Bengaluru, dropping me at Majestic aka Kempegowda Bus Station by 0620. My bus to Mangaluru was already parked near the platform, the boarding was yet to begin, though. I went around clicking some pictures, until I received a message from KSRTC reminding me of the journey. A little after I received the message, the conductor came around and began boarding for the trip to Mangaluru. The bus, KA-57-F-1827 of Mangaluru-2 depot, works a Chennai-Bengaluru-Mangaluru service. After showing my ticket, I remained outside till the AC was turned on by the crew. There were a lot of seat-seekers, and the conductor had a tough time telling NO to them. The bus was fully sold out, as we moved out of the bus station, at 0700hrs - perfectly on time.

The bus - before we started from KBS..

The crew called up passengers having their pick-up enroute and ensured they would be on time when the bus arrives. One passenger with boarding point at Jalahalli Cross was requested to wait at Parle toll gate or at Goreguntepalya instead - the passenger agreed for Parle toll. Meanwhile, the bus headed towards Sampige road, instead of the usual route via Navarang Circle and Rajkumar road. A little into the trip, the conductor came around distributing waterbottles. KSRTC had stopped distributing water bottles for a while. This time, they distributed bottles from the government owend MSIL instead of private labels. Our next pick-up was at Govardhan (Yeshwantpur railway station) - 0722hrs. We took the elevated highway after Goreguntepalya - picked up the passenger at Parle toll (0736hrs) and continued towards Mangalore. I was a little tired from the sleepless night earlier and dozed off for a while.

We pulled in to a hotel near Yediyur for breakfast, at 0837hrs. The place was small and crowded - infact, there was one more KSRTC bus, and a whole lot of cars - the entire seating capacity of the restaurant wouldn't be more than some 50-60! I had no hope of being able to get food if I planned to sit down and eat. The hotel did not have a self-service area either. Left with no choices, I just ordered a take-away and walked out of the hotel. Seeing me do this, a lot of passengers did the same. The hotel packed the food really well, and ensured they kept a spoon inside as well. I picked up some biscuits from a nearby stall as well - who did charge a fixed ₹4 over the retail price on all products! We started off from the place at 0858hrs.
We had this guy for competition, for a while..

We had a race with another KSRTC bus - a Mercedes Benz multi-axle heading to Chikkamagaluru, for sometime. Our driver was in no mood to let them go ahead - and the other bus being from Bangalore crawler division lost the race very soon. We reached Hassan by 1022hrs - the bus did not park at a platform - instead just parked near one, the crew went to get their arrival recorded. We started off by 1029hrs. I dozed off for a while - it was raining while I woke up, and we were on a two lane road. We reached Sakleshpura at 1124hrs - a few passengers got off here. We started off at 1128hrs - it was still raining. The ghat section commenced a little later - it was raining heavily through the ghat section. The driver showed his skills in handling the stretch as we descended the ghat at fairly good speeds.

I enjoyed the ghat section - but the rain was a bit of a worry. I dozed off soon after we finishing the ghat section. The bus kept making frequent stops to drop passengers - the first one being at Uppinangadi (1312hrs). I thought the bus would take a lunch break, but it didn't. We rushed past Bantwal, and made the next stop at Pumpwell circle (1417hrs). The next stop was Kankanadi (1422hrs), then PVS Circle (1432hrs). We pulled into Mangalore at 1438hrs - just 8 minutes behind schedule.
This was my bus - when we stopped for a break..

Closing notes: The bus, KA-57-F-1827, homed at Mangaluru-2 depot had a little over 36000kms on the clock. The bus was quite well kept. The crew were seriously good - very well behaved, and expressed concern about passengers. When some passengers complained that they couldn't get food at the hotel, they assisted them in getting takeaways. With a running time of just over 7:30hrs, that too during the day, the crew did a great job of maintaining timings. I loved the service! I hope to repeat this again soon.

Amenities:
Blanket: No
Water: Yes
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, Worked.
Entertainment: Available, Not used.

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5 (Overall - good behaviour)
Punctuality: 5/5 (Negligibledelays)

Overall: 5/5

Pros: Punctual, Great driving
Cons: Couldn't really find one.

Will I take this service again? Absolutely! Would love to repeat! 

Comments

Arun said…
This is one of the newest buses on the chennai route. The Club class that served for a long time was one of the regular buses my BIL took from Mangalore to chennai and back (Travels every month). A majority of the passengers are supposedly regular ones as per him. Infact he doesnt like the ADC as much as ACC!!!!The bus halts at Majestic for over an hour, but still one of the quickest on either sides of Bangalore.

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