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 really simple given the detailed advice the guy gave. I found the office very quickly - the guy who called me was waiting outside the office. He confirmed my berth number and my name, and marked me 'present'. He continued calling other passengers. In the meantime, a guy handling the next departure (to Chennai) also began calling up passengers. The MSS office is more of a parcel office than a passenger waiting area - they had a large parcel godown, and also a fairly large parking for their parcel trucks. They had kept a lot of chairs on the pedestrian path for passengers to use.

The attendant got all the Coimbatore passengers together by around 2220hrs, and informed that we needed to walk a little distance to get to the bus (he had confirmed that there were no passengers with too many pieces of baggage, or passengers who wouldn't be able to walk) - he explained to us that the bus would get stuck in the traffic if it entered the lane for pick-up, and suggested that we could have an early departure if we walked a little distance to the main road. All the passengers agreed, and we walked to Kalasipalayam main road. The bus was brought in soon after we all reached there. Boarding was completed quickly, and the bus got moving by 2228hrs - 2 minute before time.
The bus: KA-51-AC-8799 (Archives)

The traffic on the road was terrible as we headed towards Madiwala. We were stuck in traffic for long period of time in places like Lalbagh, or Dairy Circle. There was terribly slow moving traffic around Madiwala market, as well. We got to Madiwala Police Station by 2307hrs. The bus directly headed to the fuel station nearby - the stop was used to refueling, as was as for passenger boarding. We were done with boarding, and started from there by 2317hrs. Traffic was jammed on the Silk Board flyover, and it took quite some time to get to the other side of the bridge. We had to stop to pick passengers, and finally got moving by 2329hrs. Water bottles and a pack of biscuit was distributed soon after we left Silk Board. The bus took the elevated highway. I was really tired, and had already set the berth to sleep by then.

We got to Electronic City by 2342hrs - and got moving soon later after picking passengers. I was half asleep by then and did not note the time. I dozed off soon later. The berth was really comfortable - wide and long enough. They hadn't provided a pillow - the hump at the head end of the berth was the only 'pillow'. The hump was tall enough to serve as a pillow, but I still missed having a proper pillow. Interestingly, the blanket provided was properly sized and let me sleep deep. The air vent at the 'leg' end of the berth was non-closable, and kept blowing cold air at my leg. Despite all this, I slept really well.

I woke up only as the attendant came around announcing a toilet break. The bus was parked on the roadside, right after a toll gate, near a set to washrooms (0247hrs). I got off the bus to use the restroom and also stretch a little. The driver was hurrying up - he kept asking passengers to return soon. I understood that we were running late - we were at Omalur toll then, and the bus had taken close to 3 hours to get there from Electronic City! We started from there by 0254hrs. I slept off soon after the bus started again! This was another bout of deep sleep. I woke only as the bus was departing from Lakshmi Mills bus stop in Coimbatore (0552hrs) - and the attendant had already began announcing Gandhipuram bus station. I was still drowsy - and hence got off the berth and tried getting out of the sleepiness. We got to Gandhipuram by 0556hrs - about 4 minutes before the scheduled arrival time.
The bus, after dropping me in Coimbatore

Remarks: The bus, KA-51-AC-8799, had clocked about 1.95 Lakh kilometres. The bus had a Prakash 'Capella' body built on a BharatBenz 1623 Chassis. The bus rode soft - as if it was gliding. The driving style was outstanding - he was soft on the passengers by not cutting madly or brake hard. The use of horn was minimal. The bus was maintained really well - it was clean inside out. The berth was clean, and the blanket smelt quite fresh. The attendant was very cordial and friendly as well - when the driver was upset with the delay at the break, the attendant was helping passengers get back earlier (like helping them retrieve their footwear, etc). Overall, a no-nonsense service.

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: Yes
Snacks: Yes (biscuit packet)
Charging Point: Available, Did not work.
Entertainment: Not available.

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5 (Reached early!!)

Overall: 5/5

Pros: Great Crew, comfortable bus, fairly punctual
Cons: Could be expensive during weekends

Will I take this service again? Absolutely!

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