Bengaluru to Kalaburagi: VRL Volvo B9R

The third of my series of examination duties was at Gulbarga (Kalaburagi). I had been to this place twice earlier, and the last time I had taken a bus to get there. I decided to repeat the same this time, primarily due to lack of tickets by train. The options were limited, and I had to book Vijayanand again. My previous experience (in December 2016) with them was great, and this made my decision making process very easy. I had some other plans for the day, and had opted Anand Rao Circle as my boarding point, but the day turned over and I had to change my plans.

June 19, 2018:
It was one very busy day at office - I hardly had time to think of anything through the day. I left office later than usual, and had to hurry with packing and getting ready to office. I was in the middle of a very busy week - I had reached from Raichur that morning, and was traveling to Kalaburagi that evening! It was almost 1900hrs by the time I was ready. Reaching Anand Rao circle was not an option anymore, and I decided to board the bus from Yeswantpur (Govardhan) instead. I took a BMTC bus from my place to Dasarahalli metro station, and then a metro train to Yeswantpur. The next stop was Hotel Halli Mane for a sumptuous dinner, and then headed to the VRL office near Govardhan talkies.

I had received the tracking message from VRL already, and I knew that KA-25-C-7503 was taking me to Kalaburagi that night. Although the bus had already left Anand Rao Circle, I did not receive any call from them even though I hadn't boarded. I got a little scared, and checked with the office if the bus would stop there for pick-up. I told them that my original boarding point was Anand Rao Circle (the VRL website doesn't have the option of changing the boarding point) - the guys at the office told me all buses would stop there, and I could wait worry-free.
The bus after dropping me at Gulbarga..

The bus rolled in to the boarding point at 2058hrs - I got into the bus, and headed to my seat towards the middle of the bus. We got moving from there by 2104hrs - about 4 minutes late. I was terribly tired by now, hangover from the previous nights' journey. We reached the Goreguntepalya pick-up point by 2115hrs - this office is the last pick-up point - they called up all pending passengers at this point. The traffic at this place forced the crew to start off by 2125hrs - one passenger was still to come. They took the circular route behind the office, and returned to the highway - stopped for a while for the passenger to come, and later started off  at 2130hrs.

As mandated by the traffic department, we had to take the elevated highway - we got to Parle by 2136hrs, just stopped and started from there. I was really tired by now, and dozed off in no time. I had a fairly nice sleep, and was jolted awake by the passenger behind as the bus pulled in to the Vijayanand Hotel past Tumkur (2244hrs). I got off the bus, took a stroll, used the restroom, then headed to the stall there to pick up a bottle of water and some biscuits to run the next day! I liked the fact that all the items were sold at the printed price, and not overpriced. But I disliked the sale of cigarettes there. We started from here at 2305hrs. Although the idea of a dinner break this late in the night is not great to think about, the break is quite appropriate for pax to use the rest rooms, and take a stroll.

I had another long and deep sleep - woke up just as the crew pulled over for a short tea break. I couldn't find where the place was, but I did get off the bus, take a stroll and return. We started from there at 0420hrs. The driver changed at this point (the second driver, who was sleeping until then, took over the wheels). I had another round of sleep, and woke up just as the sun shone bright on my face. The sun was on my side, and the time was just past 0630hrs. We stopped at the first drop point in Gulbarga (Ram Mandir) at 0708hrs. The bus stopped multiple times on the way, and finally dropped me at their Gulbarga main office, near the bus station, by 0716hrs - about a minute behind schedule!

Summary: The bus, KA-25-C-7503, had about 13.12 Lakh kilometres on the clock - but she was still young, and did not have any rattles! I really loved the way VRL maintains their buses, and also love the connectivity they give to north Karnataka. Off late, I just head to the VRL website to check for tickets if I needed to head to north Karnataka. Both the drivers on this service were efficient - they did not waste time, drove at stable speeds and maintained great pace. We were more or less on time at Gulbarga (a minute late - irrelevant delay). The fares on VRL's services increase as seats get sold - so book early and save some money! Great service, that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

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

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

Overall: 5/5

Pros: Value for money, excellent service
Cons: Nothing specific

Will I take this service again? Absolutely sure!

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