Bengaluru to Bagalkot: Royal's Travels

I had been putting off booking my ticket to Bagalkot. This was my first trip to this place, and I had no clue of what bus to take. After pouring over online websites continuously, I had shortlisted a few operators, and kept looking around for more information. I briefly considered the NWKRTC option - but they marked most of the lower single berths in their emergency quota or the single lady quota. This ruled out my option. After pondering over for a few days, I picked the non-ac seater+sleeper of Royal's travels.

July 08, 2019:
I was apprehensive of taking this option - this was my first experience in a non-AC seater+sleeper coach - I had picked a single seat in the bus. I had left home early - having my dinner that early was not an option and had planned to have something when the bus stops (given an early departure, I was sure it would take a dinner break). The bus was at 2050hrs from Yeshwantpur - and I got there by 2030hrs (a little earlier than that, actually). It was a little cold outside, and I regretted not taking my coat from home - I hoped things were better in the bus.

My bus came in at 2040hrs - almost 10 minutes before scheduled departure. The crew were waiting for the remaining passengers - we got moving by 2057hrs, some seven minutes behind schedule now. The bus appeared quite well kept - I could not hear rattles or squeaks from the bus. The engine appeared quite relaxed as well. The bus took a brief stop at Goraguntepalya and continued moving. We got to Parle toll by 2110hrs - picked more passengers and continued moving (2112hrs). The driver got rash as we got to the highway - a little bit of zig-zags at the beginning.
The bus, during dinner break.

The bus pulled into a fairly new looking restaurant near Tumkur (Hotel Kalpatharu, at 2216hrs) - we joined a long line of other buses here. I had a light dinner from here and remained around the bus till the crew returned. We started from there at 2249hrs. The driver appeared charged after he got to the highway - the bus was driven as rash as possible. I could feel every undulation on the road, every pothole and every cut on the road - the driver had no mercy on the passengers. In fact, the crew had missed out on a passenger at the restaurant - who took some other option and caught up with this bus at a toll gate - what followed was a verbal spat between the passenger and the crew. The attendant was at the top of his voice vociferously defending their decision to leave the passenger behind at the hotel (atrocious, to say the least).

The other passengers in the bus echoed that this was their regular way of handling passengers - and there was a verbal duel for a while in the bus. I struggled to sleep for a while - the rash driving didn't help matters at all. Things got terrible as it got colder - I had a shawl which helped me a bit. The ride seemed like it wouldn't end - I managed to sleep for a few hours in between. I was woken up by the shrill voice of the attendant calling out for people alighting at Bagalkot - the phone read 0518hrs - I asked him if he'd drop me at the bus station, to which he pointed at a direction and said its there. I had no options - alighted from the bus, turned on the trusted maps, and got walking - walking till I got to the bus station, and the hotel where my room was booked - located opposite the bus station.

Remarks: The bus, PY-01-CH-7215, was maintained in great shape. The bus was about 5 years old, but didn't look so from outside. The body was built by REC, on an Ashok Leyland chassis. The seat was comfortable - it was wide and had great angle of recline. The bus departed a little late, but reached about 22 minutes before time - great thing, but the driving was absolutely rash. I hardly slept that night, and the crew behaviour was terrible. I surely wouldn't want to repeat this experience. 

Amenities:
Blanket: No
Water: No
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, Did not Use.
Entertainment: Not Available

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 1/5
Crew behaviour: 2.5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 2.5/5

Pros: Cheap, Punctual.
Cons: Terrible driving, terrible crew.

Will I take this service again? No. Not unless I don't have a choice. 

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