Bengaluru to Kalaburagi: Vijayanand Volvo B9R

My next examination duty was at Gulbarga (Kalaburagi), followed by one more at Bijapur (Vijayapura). The duties was separated by just a day - this meant, it made no sense for me to return to Bengaluru. I decided to use this opportunity to visit Shirdi on this intervening day. I drew plans to travel to Shirdi from Gulbarga, and later to Bijapur from Shirdi. Now began the process of booking tickets - I first searched for tickets from Bengaluru to Kalaburagi. Trains were ruled out - all of them were waitlisted. The next option were buses - I had three options - two were sleepers and one was a seater. I picked the seater - and VRL, it was. Like everytime, I booked tickets through their own website - I received my ticket through SMS soon later.

January 24, 2019:
I was back from office by around 1800hrs - with plenty of time to spare for my bus. My bus was to depart from VRL's Yeshwantpur pick-up point (Govardhan Theatre) at 2100hrs, and I had to leave home only by 1945hrs. I spent time packing my bag - it was a 4 day long journey ahead. I managed to leave home a little past 1945hrs - I had to wait for a while to get a bus to the nearest metro station. For some reason, Bangalore Metro and BMTC aren't the best partners in public transportation. This meant, the metro authorities kept the entrance nearest to the bus stop closed, and forces passengers to walk all the way to the other entrance. I got to Yeshwantpur by 2045hrs - the appointed pick-up time.

Arrival of each bus is clearly announced from the office, and this is a great way of alerting passengers. I was continuously tracking the movement of my bus using the tracking link they had sent, as well. My bus turned up at the pick-up point at 2056hrs - 4 minutes before time. Boarding was quick - my bag was tagged and received by the crew, who placed it in the luggage bay based on the dropping point. The bus was fairly full already - a bollywood movie was being played as well. Some more of the reserved passengers were yet to turn-up, delaying our departure until 2103hrs. I was terribly tired - and just wanted to sleep. Meanwhile, the bus crawled through traffic and reached their Goreguntepalya (Peenya) pick-up point - 2118hrs. This pick-up point took some time, and we got moving only by 2129hrs. The bus then took the elevated highway. We stopped for pick-up at Parle toll (2140hrs), and then began its long journey to Bidar (the service goes till there).
The bus: KA-25-C-8906, after dropping me at Kalaburagi

I dozed off soon after we began cruising on the highway. I slept quite well - so well that I did not even realize when my co-passenger boarded! I woke up only as the bus pulled in for dinner break at VRL's hotel past Tumkur (2245hrs) - I hadn't taken my dinner and hence decided to have something light from here. The place is self-service themed, and one has to pay upfront to receive the item of choice. I picked up a plate of Curd Rice - the food was overpriced. I had to struggle a bit to get my 'token' since people had just mobbed around the cash counter, and I repeated a similar struggle at the food counter to get my dinner. I finished my food quite fast and decided to take a stroll. The place was packed with buses - buses heading to a variety of destinations in the northern part of Karnataka.

We started after our dinner break at 2309hrs. I dozed off in no time, again. I slept until the bus was turned off again - this time a quick break near a fuel station, on the outskirts of Lingsugur (0435hrs) - I got off the bus for a stroll, yet again. The intention of this break was to use the restroom - the fuel station had sufficient facilities for women. We got moving by 0442hrs. I fell asleep soon after the bus got moving. I slept well, till the crew called out for passengers alighting at "Kalaburagi" - the bus stopped had at Ram Mandir area (0710hrs) - we got moving soon later. The bus got to the Kalaburagi main office by 0716hrs - a minute behind scheduled time. I got off the bus here - the driver checked my luggage tag counterfoil, matched it with the tag before releasing my bag. Auto drivers wouldn't let you move in peace - I walked a little ahead to find an auto that could get me to my accommodation without being fleeced!

Remarks: The bus, KA-25-C-8906, had about 13.3 Lakh kilometres on the clock. The bus was maintained exceptionally well - the seats were in good shape and the interiors were pristine. The bus didn't show any signs of ageing despite having been used well. Although the front was rebuilt, the rest of the bus was in great shape. The crew were well-behaved. I loved their driving style - was stable and fast, without honking at the night! The end-to-end ride took about 10 hours and 13 minutes - for a distance of about 620kms (approx). I loved the journey!

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! I don't have other options, either.

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