Showing posts from 2019

Bangalore to Palakkad: KSRTC Airavat Club Class

Onam is the biggest celebration for any Keralite! Its the only festival we all celebrate irrespective of religion or caste - the biggest celebration of the state. Originally a harvest festival, with religious underlining, Onam is truly a festival that brings all people together. Every Keralite tries reaching back to his home state during this time - atleast most of us try doing that. This Onam was very special, and both our families (my parents and TW's parents) were to celebrate this year together. Onam was a damp affair last year due to the state's biggest deluge in history.

I had missed the booking dates for taking a train - trains were sold out by the time I realised, and I had to keep my eyes open on bus bookings. Both the KSRTC's open their bookings 30 days before the journey date - I opened the website of Karnataka RTC on the date the reservation opened, and I found the entire bus was empty. I decided to wait till the return booking also open - booking both ways to…

Coimbatore to Bengaluru: Metrolink Travels BharatBenz Sleeper

I am still clueless why I had left booking tickets for this date. I had booked a ticket to head to Palakkad (by train, which was eventually cancelled and replaced with a bus from Chennai) but hadn't booked any ticket for my return. I was expecting tickets to be available, and began looking for tickets quite late. By then, my favorite bus from Palakkad was already sold out, and special buses had tickets going at astronomical rates. Buses from Coimbatore were no different - I had no choices from there either. I realised that some operators hadn't opened bookings, and I had to take the risk of waiting for them. As the date neared, I found that Metrolink travels, a new player on the route, had opened bookings. The lower berths were gone already, and I could get a single upper berth instead.

September 02, 2019:
It was a rainy day. It continued drizzling even as it was evening. I had to leave early - I decided to leave early to avoid getting stuck in traffic on the way. This turned …

Chennai to Coimbatore: VigneshTAT AC Sleeper

This decision to book on VigneshTAT was quite straightforward. I did have come confusions before the booking went through though - the fares of different operators was one reason for the confusion. I wanted to try a particular service operated by VigneshTAT for a few reasons - one, they operated a MG Bus & Coach built 'LeeraZ' sleeper coach; second, the bus was built on a Tata LPO 1623 chassis (a new product in the market); third, it was a new operator for me. Fares listed on the website was on the higher side - I got a single lower berth blocked for me through a good friend, who also managed to get me a discount on the ticket price.

[Conflict of Interest: Although a discount was received on the ticket price, the operator, or their representatives, have not edited the content of this review, or mandated addition/deletion of any facts contained in this review]

August 31, 2019:
I had returned to my hotel room quite late in the evening. I had left from the place where I had w…

Bengaluru to Chennai: KSRTC Airavat Club Class via Chittoor

I was in quandary as I looked at tickets for Chennai from Bengaluru. I look at the plethora of options that listed on redbus - but the characteristic among them was that the fares remained high. I didn't want to pay a 4 digit sum for the small distance - quite out of curiosity, I headed to the KSRTC website and found very decent fares listed. I found this interesting option via Chittoor - I wanted to try this route, and this was the opportunity for me. I booked a window seat on the first row to enjoy the route as well!

August 30, 2019:
I had to leave office early for this bus - I took a taxi directly from office to Shantinagar bus station. I headed first to the restaurant nearby to have lunch. My bus entered the bus station as I was finishing my lunch (mine was the only departure at the time, thereby making it easy to understand that it was my bus). I received a message with the bus & crew details as I walked from the restaurant to the departure bay. A fairly old bus was doing…

Palakkad to Bengaluru: KSRTC Airavat Club Class, again!

This service from Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (2130PGTBNG) is my new found hot favourite! This bus departs on time, and usually arrives before time - giving me sufficient time to have a short nap at home before heading to work. I booked this bus without a second though for my return from Palakkad to Bengaluru this time as well (and I will mostly do that for most of the future trips as well!)

August 19, 2019:
I got to the KSRTC bus station in Palakkad around 2100hrs - with enough time for my bus. I received an SMS with the bus number a few minutes before reaching the bus station - I was quite excited to note that I was getting a different bus every time I took this service! The bus was parked right at the exit gate of the bus station - as usual. Boarding hadn't commenced at this point of time. They commenced boarding around 2110hrs - I remained outside for some more time. I had two pieces of baggage and wanted to leave one in the boot - the conductor was accepting on…

Chennai to Coimbatore: National Travels GliderZ AC Sleeper

This journey came up at the last minute. I searched all over the booking portals for interesting options for traveling from Chennai to Coimbatore. I wanted to try a new operator - and did not want to repeat any operator. While searching for new operators, I found a lot of them. I even found two GliderZ buses listed among them. I decided to pick-up the newer one among them, and finalized National Travels. They also had single lower berths available - which is always my most preferred.

GliderZ is a premium sleeper model built by MG Bus & Coach, based in Belgaum, on a BharatBenz OF1623 chassis. I haven't tried this model earlier, and this was an opportunity to try this model as well. I was quite excited to have grabbed this opportunity. National Travels in a Chennai based operator, operating on various routes in Tamil Nadu - and is different from the Bangalore based National Travels. This operator is usually identified as "National Travels Chennai" on most portals.


Bengaluru to Chennai: Thirumal Alaghu Travels Volvo Celeste Sleeper

I've been wanting to go to Chennai since quite some time, but didn't have any reason to do that. A reason to go to Chennai came in the form of an official appointment. Two of my colleagues were also traveling with me. They had a single requirement - a Sleeper bus was preferred. Based on our requirement, we had to travel post-noon the previous day of our appointment. We chose to take a bus that goes to Koyambedu - this removed a few operators from the list. We refined the search further, and I stumbled upon Thirumal Alaghu Travels (TAT) while searching for options. A Volvo Multi-axle 'Celeste' Sleeper was on offer at fairly low fares - the pick-up and drop times suited us to the T as well.

August 15, 2019:
Independence day is always busy for an academician. It was no different for me either. The morning half went in College - with hoisting of the tri-colour, followed by cultural events. The bag I was to carry with me was delivered only after I returned from office - it …

Kannur to Bengaluru by train!

August 08, 2019:
The alarm went off at 0600hrs! I had planned to go out for some bus fanning in the morning. I was a little tired to wake up at that time, and snoozed the alarm. I finally got off my bed by 0630hrs - rushed with the morning rituals and started off from the hotel I was put up in. I had rained cats and dogs the previous night - the effect of the torrential downpour was evident everywhere. The road had lots of puddles, and a lot of hoarding had be blown away by the wind! I was flummoxed by the complete absence buses of Fort Road - buses from Bengaluru should've been standing there at this point of time! I flagged down an autorickshaw to get to the KSRTC bus station at Caltex Junction. The driver casually said the buses hadn't come from Bengaluru since the road was closed. I assumed he was talking about the road closure in Makkutta pass, and ignored his comment.

I noticed that KSRTC buses from Bengaluru weren't present at the bus station either. I did some bus …

Bengaluru to Kannur: Golden Travels Volvo B8R

One fine day - between some serious work in the office, I receive this call from an unknown number. The caller identified himself as a faculty member in a Pharmacy College in Kerala, and had called me to inform of an appointment as an external examiner in their university! My appointment was in a college near Kannur - this was a major surprise for me. The travel lover in me quickly got to checking tickets for this journey, and I finalised taking Golden Travels' new Volvo B8R that operates from Chennai to Kannur via Bengaluru. This was also the last bus from Bengaluru, and is a safer option for me - even if I get stuck in office for longer than usual.

As the day of my journey came closer, broke this terrible news that the road to Kannur was closed due to a landslide. A section of the road in the Maakootta pass (between Virajpet and Iritty) had collapsed and the road was closed. Buses were re-routed via Mananthavady - this means a longer journey and a delay in getting to Kannur. I …

Palakkad to Bengaluru: KSRTC Airavat Club Class

After my last experience with KSRTC's Palakkad-Bengaluru Airavat Club Class, I did not look further at other options when I booked this ticket. This option was also the cheapest at that time, and made all the sense to book this bus.

August 05, 2019:
I had decided to try using public transportation to get to Palakkad this time. A lot of enquiries were made to confirm the timings of buses in the evening hours. An autorickshaw was arranged to get me from TW's home to the nearest bus stop. The auto driver dropped me at the bus stop by around 1915hrs - he offered to wait till I got a bus, but I refused. There was brief wait to get a bus - and it poured down this time. The bus turned up at around 1930hrs - it wasn't very crowded either. I managed to get a seat in the bus. The bus got to Palakkad town bus station by around 2020hrs - I took an autorickshaw from here to the KSRTC bus station, about a kilometre away. I was at the KSRTC bus station at 2030hrs - a full hour before the…

Bengaluru to Coimbatore: MSS Bharat Benz AC Sleeper

While looking out for tickets to travel to Coimbatore, the MSS AC Sleeper hit my eye, more than once. I had booked on MSS sometime earlier, but the travel didn't happen and I ended up cancelling my ticket. MSS - aka Mettur Super Services operates fairly new BharatBenz buses on the Bangalore-Coimbatore route. I have been wanting to try this operator since long, and did not think twice before booking this ticket.

August 03, 2019:
I got to Kalasipalya, my boarding point, by around 2130hrs - almost an hour before my bus was to depart. I spent the rest of my time spotting different buses departing at that time from Kalasipalya. I received a call from the MSS office by around 2200hrs, asking my whereabouts. The guy at the other end of the phone (later identified as the attendant of the bus) gave me very specific, point-to-point advice about how to get to their office, and request that I reach early so that we could depart early. Bonus points for the call!

Getting to their office was rea…

Palakkad to Bengaluru: KSRTC Airavat Club Class

Booking this bus was a no-nonsense option. I always prefer buses originating from my boarding point, so that I don't have to wait endlessly. Karnataka RTC operates more premium services to Kerala than Kerala RTC, and hence is the operator of choice for most people. Aside the number of options, Karnataka RTC also offers cheaper fares and ensure economical travel for lots of people. I opted for the 2130 Palakkad Bengaluru Airavat Club Class service for my return for the reasons mentioned earlier.

July 21, 2019:
I left from TW's place along sometime around 2015hrs - with over an hour to go for my bus. I was dropped outside the KSRTC bus station by my father-in-law. It was drizzling. KSRTC bus station Palakkad is a terrible place to be in, especially if it rains. There is hardly any shelter, and the road inside the bus station in not paved either. Its full of craters (not potholes). My bus to Bangalore was already parked near the exit gate of the bus station. I left my bag in the …

Bangalore to Palakkad: KSRTC Airavat Club Class

This trip was not supposed to be by road - I had a train ticket - a precious train ticket, that I had booked a good three months in advance. Like always, advance planning never works for me, and this time was no different. I had to travel a day earlier, and ended up having to cancel my train ticket and take a bus instead. I decided to take an early evening bus so that I could reach Palakkad late in the night, around mid-night, so that I could sleep well before I head out to do my work. I had to choose between the two KSRTCs - I opted for Karnataka RTC - which ensures I get a discount for my return ticket as well! I picked the Bangalore-Trivandrum Airavat Club Class service.

July 18, 2019:
I left a little earlier than usual from office, and took a metro towards Lalbagh station. Getting an auto from Lalbagh station to Shantinagar turned out to be the toughest task. I lost quite some time searching for an auto - but managed to get to Shantinagar well on time. The bus was brought to the b…

Coimbatore to Bangalore: TN-SETC AC Seater cum Sleeper

It all began here - that message from a good friend, which read "AC Seaters came online". Both of us knew what that meant. We were talking of the new AC Seater services of TN-SETC. I had informed him that I'd love to try them, and he had employed his sources to find when they'd be listed for online reservation. I headed to the SETC website soon after the message came, and found, both, the new AC Seater and the AC Seater+Sleeper coach listed online. I booked a seat on the AC Seater+Sleeper coach - for two reasons - this bus departed at 2230 (the AC seater departs earlier, at 2100), and I wanted to try their Seater+Sleeper quite badly.

July 14, 2019:
Surprising TW with a visit was successfully accomplished. However, it was gloomy as it turned evening, and it was time to leave. We left for Palakkad by car at around 1900hrs (a distance of about 32 kilometres). We were running a little late, and the road wasn't in great shape that we could speed up. I managed to get a…