This was the reason for confusion - I had to be in Palakkad on Sunday (September 29, 2019) to attend a certification examination, which was really important in my career. But then, my leave was ending on Friday, and I had to return to Bengaluru - only to travel back the same evening. My stay in Palakkad on Sunday would be really short again, as I would return the same night!
While hunting for options to travel from Bangalore to Coimbatore (the options for Palakkad were quite expensive), I stumbled upon this operator, called Kavi Logistics. They are a reputed brand when it comes to non-ac sleeper service, and they had started this AC sleeper service just a week or so prior to my journey. Without a doubt, I decided to try this new operator - although the operator had a site of their own, bookings were possible only through redbus. I managed to pocket some discounts, including some for using a particular payment gateway.
September 28, 2019:
I was really tired and sleepy through the day - in fact dozed off the moment I returned home after office. I woke up a little late after that, and I had to rush through getting ready for the journey. I ordered a take-away from a nearby restaurant for dinner - I had initially planned to take a bus to the stop nearest to the pick-up, but then the delays meant I had to take a cab all the way to the pick-up point. The bus originates at a place not very far from home, and made it very convenient for me. The cab I had booked turned up quite late due to traffic snarls on the way - the driver tried his best to make up for the lost time, but ended up losing more time at some places. I got to the pick-up point address exactly at 2025hrs - the scheduled departure time of the bus from the pick-up point.
The bus was parked there - the attendant was sitting inside and speaking on phone. Boarding had not commenced - the bus was still off. The driver turned up a little later, switched on the engine and the airconditioner. Boarding was yet to begin. There were a few passengers boarding from here - and, interestingly, all of us were traveling by the particular bus for the first time! Boarding commenced at around 2035hrs. The interiors were basic - there was no carpet or fancy lamps. The interiors still smelled like a brand new bus. The berths had a dark brown theme - similar coloured bedspreads were used as well. There was no separate pillow though. We started off from the origin at 2042hrs.
|The bus, while waiting at Anand Rao Circle..
Soon after the bus got to the main road (Tumkur road) from the place where it was parked, the attendant came around and handed over a blanket. He requested that the blanket be handed over to him personally while alighting - I found that request very odd, and it was quite similar to the request made by SETC (TN State transport) conductors. The bus rushed through Malleshwaram, and finally got to Anand Rao Circle by around 2115hrs - the driver parked the bus properly and stood outside the bus - the AC was left running. The bus would depart from there only at 2200hrs, said the driver! He left the AC running all the time - so one could wait inside, but I chose to remain outside.
The driver struck a conversation - he quickly asked for my feedback about the coach, and got very excited as he spoke about their timings, and how the owner of the bus personally took care of everything in the bus. As I spoke about having a pillow, he quickly replied that most customers had given the same feedback, and he hoped the owner would solve that soon. I was curious to know why the attendant specifically asked passengers to return the blanket - the driver had the answer - it seems somebody flicked two blankets on the first trip itself, and the crew had to pay for the blankets from their salary! I really wonder what would people get by flicking blankets from a bus! The attendant was busy following up passengers in the mean time - they were able to connect to all but one passenger who was to board from there - the pick-up point was not near a bus stop or a metro station, and the crew did have a tough time explaining their location to passengers. They managed to get all passengers on board, and we finally got moving by 2206hrs.
The bus was built on a Viking 11m chassis by SM Kannappa Automobiles (Prakash) - the shorter chassis meant shorter berths. The engine was quite audible inside the coach - cost cutting on noise insulation was evident here. They weren't having too many pick-up points in the city - we got to Madiwala directly from Anand Rao Circle - passengers were picked-up from St. Johns bus stop. We started off from Madiwala by 2245hrs. I was quite tired from the journey the previous night, and dozed off soon after the bus passed Silk Board. I am not sure if the bus took the elevated highway or went below the flyover - I think it went below the flyover, though.
I woke up as the bus swerved violently, went off the road and came to a screeching halt - I thought we had an accident, and jumped up from the berth - but the bus got moving again right after. A few more hard braking followed, and the bus was swerving everytime. I understood there was something wrong - I could also hear the driver shouting at somebody. A little later, the bus stopped across on the highway - the crew went out, and returned a little later. I did not understand what happened - we started off again a while later. The bus was stopped twice after this for passengers to attend to nature's calls - I realized the bus had stopped only as it was about to move, on both the occasions! I slept quite well between these stops.
I woke up just as the attendant came around calling out passengers for break - lights were turned on. The bus was stopped at an Aavin Paalakam (0243hrs) - we were at a place called Neykkarappatti, a little after Salem. I spoke to the driver during this break - he explained what happened during all those hard braking and swerving - a sleepy truck driver had almost hit the bus and that was the drama that happened. We started off after the break at 0254hrs - I slept off in no time, and this time a deep and continuous one. I woke up only as the attendant came around waking up each passenger - the bus was already in Coimbatore! We stopped at Hopes College stop at 0509hrs, and finally got to Gandhipuram at 0518hrs - about 22 minutes before schedule! The attendant did make it a point to collect the blanket from each passenger before they alighted as well.
Remarks: The bus, KA-51-AF-0563, had clocked about 8000 kilometres. The coach, built by SM Kannappa Automobiles (Prakash), was great - the interiors were great and well finished. Although the interiors were basic, it still was very functional and comfortable. There were no fancy lighting or show piece panels. The berth was fairly comfortable - a little short, though. The raised 'pillow' end was sufficient, but couldn't really replace the comfort of using a pillow. The interiors were well kept and appeared very fresh. The blankets smelled fresh, and the bedspread was really clean. The crew were really friendly - they did make it a point to ask for feedback as I alighted from the bus, and did request to write my feedback to them. The driving was excellent (minus the hard brake and swerving - which was not really a mistake from the driver) - I slept quite well through the journey. Overall, a great trip!
Charging Point: Available, Worked.
Entertainment: Not available.
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Pros: Great Service, Excellent crew, Economical, Value for Money.
Cons: A pillow please!
Will I take this service again? Absolutely great choice on the route!