Palakkad to Bengaluru: KSRTC Garuda King Class

This was a ticket booked at a very short notice - my favorite options from Karnataka SRTC was already sold out, and the special buses operated by them were being sold at astronomical rates (rate compared to the distance). I found some seats in buses operated by Kerala RTC, and decided to pick one in the Ernakulam-Bengaluru service (My favorite among the buses operated by Kerala RTC). I managed to get a window seat in the 'last-but-one' row.

September 29, 2019:
It was really difficult to leave my little one behind - I hadn't had enough of holding my little princess and it was already time to return to Bengaluru. A driver was arranged to drop me at the bus station, instead of my usual habit of taking the bus to Palakkad. I started from home a little past 2115hrs - although the bus is scheduled to depart from Palakkad at 2200hrs, it usually reaches there only past 2230hrs. The driver took it slow, and we slowly progressed towards Palakkad. We got stuck at a railway crossing near Kalpathy bridge - this did worry me a little, since there was a possibility of the bus getting there before I did.

I got to the Palakkad KSRTC bus station by around 2215hrs - I decided to call up the conductor to find how long they'd take to reach Palakkad - the conductor answered that they would reach past 2300hrs only. Palakkad bus station is a terrible place to wait - the waiting shelter was already crowded and I ended up wandering around the bus station to kill time. My bus turned up at 2307hrs - the ageing warrior appeared pretty well kept, much better than the Scania I traveled in a few days earlier. The smiling conductor welcome me in, the driver too made it a point to smile at every passenger as they boarded. I got to my seat quickly - the bus was more or less full, which just a few seats empty, which were mostly strewn around.
The bus: RS784 (Image from Archives)

The engine's idling sound could be heard quite well - I love the grunt of the Volvo engine, and was quite loving the sound. The bus started off from Palakkad at 2318hrs - an hour and 18 minutes behind schedule. The conductor quickly did a head count, and issued tickets to a couple of passengers who had boarded at Palakkad, and returned to the cabin. Cabin lights were turned off soon later. The engine's clatter quickly settled down, and the sound was quite calm. The bus is over 5 years old, and appeared quite well kept for its age.

This was my third night in a bus, and my body did show signs of fatigue and I badly needed some rest. The seat was really comfortable - years of use had softened the cushion quite a bit, and the calf rest locked perfectly in place as well. I slept. Slept really well as well. I did not wake up until the passenger on the seat next to me prepared to alight - I woke up just as he got up and headed towards the exit. We rolled in to Electronic City bus stop at 0530hrs - dropped passengers quite quickly and continued. Like everytime, the bus didn't take the elevated highway - took the highway below, and got to Silk Board by 0550hrs. This was quite late by my earlier experiences - but still well within limits. The bus got to Majestic by 0614hrs - where most of the bus emptied. There were passengers to alight at most of the major points ahead as well - I kept an eye on the BMTC buses that we overtook after Yeshwantpur, and spotted quite a few of them headed towards my residence - I made a split second decision, and decided to get off at Goraguntepalya itself (0630hrs) - the bus would've reached its terminus well within its scheduled time!

Remarks: The bus, KL-15-A-282, RS784 of Ernakulam depot, was kept in great shape. Although I couldn't note the odometer reading, I believe it should be around 10 Lakh kilometres. The bus did show its age - especially the interiors were worn and dusty. The exteriors were in great shape, and the bus was maintained in great shape mechanically. The crew were great - they smiled as people boarded, and happily accepted requests for drops at various points. The blanket was a little in bad shape - badly needs replacement for sure. The ride took 7h12m - excellent run time, considering the fact we spent an hour navigating Bengaluru's traffic itself! A great experience again!

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: No
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, Did not use.
Entertainment: Available, not used.

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 4.5/5 (dust on the roof)
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 4.85/5

Pros: Great Service, Excellent crew, Value for Money, Excellent timing.
Cons: Needs a little cleaning!

Will I take this service again? Surely!

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