Bengaluru to Mangaluru: Sri Durgamba AC Sleeper

Mangalore is always a favorite place for me. I was quite confused about what bus to take when traveling to Mangalore - I had briefly romanced the idea of taking the train, but junked the idea like every time! I thought of trying a Sleeper bus this time around - a colleague of mine was also traveling with me to Mangalore, also for examination work. We decided to pick a sleeper bus this time - I hadn't realised till quite late that we were traveling on a Friday evening! After a bit of 'research', I decided to book on Sri Durgamba travels (Service #3). This would be my first with this operator - more than that, this would also be my first experience in a Damodar built sleeper coach! Another reason to pick Sri Durgamba was that this was on the only bus with single lower berths still available.

June 28, 2019:
My bus had a very late pick-up - at 2300hrs, from Yeshwantpur. I had my dinner from a hotel near home, and then headed towards Yeshwantpur - by Metro, as usual. The entire area around Govardhan theatre in Yeshwantpur was crowded - crowded beyond imagination. I was tracking the movements of my bus continuously using the tracking link they had sent. The redbus app gave awesome tracking information - it was a moving map as well. I enjoyed the tracking. I had some confusion about the location of the pick-up point - they didn't have an office there, and had mentioned a petrol pump as the place. GMaps confused me a bit, and I ended up walking in the opposite direction of where my pick-up point was.

The bus neared the place just a little past 2300hrs  - the attendant called up at that time and confirmed my exact position - he was more than happy to pick me from where I was standing. The bus came to  the place at 2307hrs - We boarded immediately, and the bus got moving rightaway. My first impression about the berth was that it seemed wider than the normal berths I've experienced in other sleeper buses. The berth had a backrest as well - so you could sit with your legs stretched if you didn't want to sleep. The berth length was also good - I didn't hit the other end - so this one should be comfortable to people who are short of 6ft. The pillow was a small cushion, covered in rexin. It was on the harder side. The blanket wasn't great - although it did smell fresh, it was in tatters.
The bus

The bus stopped at Goraguntepalya at 2311hrs, picked a passenger and kept moving. The driver seemed to be pushing the bus, and the engine sound could be heard really well inside the cabin. The driver started zig-zagging on the elevated highway - I was a little relieved as the bus got to the toll gate (2325hrs) - I was expecting stable driving on the highway - but the driver continued his zig-zag style of driving. The bus pulled in to a hotel for 'Dinner' at 2343hrs. I got off the bus for a stroll, and to click some pictures. To describe from outside, Damodar built buses are not 'lookers' - they have a very minimalist design. The design is simple, but functional. The interiors were basic - nothing fancy or overdone.

The bus started off after the break, at 0002hrs. I was feeling sleepy now, and tried sleeping for a while. The driving was terrible - the bus was being driven very rashly, and he kept going zig-zag all the time. I managed to sleep a little before the ghats, but got woken up soon after we entered the ghat. The driving was very rash, and I couldn't sleep at all. I was more dozing off due to the tiredness than sleeping properly. As I kept shifting from sleep to wakefulness and back, I didn't note down the stops they took or the times when the bus stopped. I recall the attendant calling out Jyoti circle - but I don't recall the bus stopping there. We got off the bus at Hampankatta (0549hrs) - the bus had stopped there for unloading parcels.

Remarks: The bus, AR-01-J-0847, was built on an Ashok Leyland CRS 12M Chassis,by Damodar Autocraft. The bus was maintained fairly well. The driving style was terrible - especially for a ghat route. The driver didn't save any time by all the antics he did - it took as much time as other buses on the route take. The driver needs to tone down a bit. An average journey, at the best.

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: No
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, Did not work.
Entertainment: Not available

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 2.5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

Pros: Value for money, Comfortable berth
Cons: Driving was terrible, Torn blankets

Will I take this service again? I wouldn't, unless this becomes the only option.

Comments

rahulvijayev said…
"Sri Durgamba" and "Durgamba Motors"- are the both same?
Binai K Sankar said…
Yes. Two different operators, but belong to the same family.

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