Palakkad to Bengaluru: KSRTC Garuda Maharaja Scania

I was completely undecided about my return journey. I had leave only until Friday - I was confused if I should take a leave for another day and stay back until Sunday. There were some technical issues about staying back on Saturday - and I had to return to work. I finally decide to bite the bullet, and decide to travel back to Bangalore on Friday evening.

September 27, 2019:
My brother-in-law and his family were also returning to Bengaluru that morning. I decided to join them and booked on the same bus as theirs - the 1345 Trivandrum - Bengaluru Garuda Maharaja Scania service. This service showed a 2115hrs departure from Palakkad - the timing seemed impossible, since the bus needs to travel all the way from Trivandrum to Palakkad, through the ever busy MC Road in 7h30m to do that feat - which is almost impossible.

I received a message with the bus and crew details a little post 1300hrs. I called up the crew a little past 1900hrs to find their whereabouts in order to confirm our drop to Palakkad - the bus was just a little ahead of Kottayam - the crew confirmed that the bus wouldn't arrive Palakkad before 2300hrs. Wow! The KSRTC website displays really unreliable and unachievable timings - and they don't seem to update them even when they are aware the buses don't achieve such run timings. We arranged our drop shortly thereafter and decided to leave home around 2200hrs. I was very pessimistic about the 2300hrs arrival as well - but had no choice but to play safe. I called up the crew a little past 2130hrs - they were yet to arrive Thrissur then - this confirmed that it was possible to get to Palakkad even at 2300hrs, since the road was in terrible shape as well.

Nevertheless, we left home at 2200hrs, and got to the Palakkad KSRTC bus station by 2300hrs. The bus station was terribly crowded - the waiting shelter was crowded, and we couldn't find a place to sit. I was quite sleepy and didn't want to doze off sitting in the shelter - I roamed around the bus station, instead, to remain awake. A slow stream of Bengaluru bound buses started a little past 2330hrs. My bus turned up at 0007hrs - the bus headed straight towards the fueling station. Boarding started soon after - the conductor smiled and apologised saying there was a lot of traffic and that delayed the bus. I smiled, replied - "its alright" (no, it isnt!) and headed to my seat.
The bus, RP655 - as it was being refueled at Palakkad

There was a blanket lying on my seat - there were enough blankets on the overhead rack as well. Refueling took a lot of time - the refueled both the tanks, and we got moving by about 0025hrs - just 3 hours and 10 minutes behind schedule. The driver was fast from the point he left the city - he picked pace really quickly and maintained pace for most part of the journey. There was bit of traffic after Kanjikode, especially around Walayar check posts. The bus was in fairly poor shape - there was a lot of rattling from the body. The seat next to me was empty, and I opted to make most of that - spread across both the seats and had a fairly nice sleep. I woke up multiple times during the journey though.

I woke up just as the bus was leaving from Krishnagiri toll gate. My google map recording showed that the bus had taken a break somewhere en route (could not be verified). We were quite delayed - over an hour by my estimates. I was quite sleepy and kept drifting asleep through the time. There was a little bit of traffic at Attibele toll gate - did not delay us further though. Our first drop stop was at Electronic City (0645hrs). There was not many people to alight - in fact the bus itself didn't have too many passengers. We took the elevated highway, and got to Silk Board by 0655hrs - we did not encounter much traffic, may be since it was a Saturday. We got to Majestic by 0700hrs - the bus stopped there for some time - I, later, understood that the bus was waiting for the bus from Kottayam to turn up - passengers bound to Mysore road satellite bus station were transferred to that bus, and we got moving by 0710hrs.

Both the buses travelled together till Town Hall signal - the Kottayam bus turned left and headed towards Satellite bus station, while we continued straight towards Majestic. This bus usually goes towards Mysore road, and the goes to Peenya - but on this day the crew decided to head straight to Peenya, since they were quite delayed, and the bus needs to return very early. Going via Mysore road would take more time, and that would reduce the time available for the crew to rest before they return back to Trivandrum. We got to Majestic by 0731hrs - dropped passengers and took off at 0734hrs. Sampige road was getting congested, and it slowed down our journey. We finally got to Basaveshwara Bus station, Peenya by 0759hrs - about an hour and 59 minutes behind schedule. The ride from Palakkad to the terminating stop took 7 hours and 34 minutes - must say, excellent timings there!
The bus after drop at Bengaluru..

Remarks: The bus, KL-15-A-1418 (RP655) homed at Trivandrum depot had clocked about 4.6 Lakh kilometres. The maintenance was above average - not the best, I must say. There was lot of rattling from the body - especially from the rear axles. The exteriors were not in great shape either - but there were no major dents on the body. The crew were good - very friendly and spoke quite politely. The conductor responded to phone calls very politely (I had called him thrice) - must understand the fact that almost every passenger might have called him owing to the delay, and its no joke to be able to respond to so many calls, politely every time! The mechanical maintenance did not seem great - the bus jerked forward with every gear change - even as it was being driven in the automatic mode. Overall an above average journey - excellent in terms of timings, but the delay was really terrible!

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

Ratings:
Maintenance: 3/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 2.5/5

Overall: 2.5/5

Pros: Great Service, Excellent crew.
Cons: Delays, unpredictable

Will I take this service again? Not sure. May be if there aren't any options. But its a great option if you are traveling from any where on MC Road.

Comments

rahulvijayev said…
Why KSRTC officials are not updating the timings in the website? Being an expert in this area, you could easily assume the tentative ETA of the bus at Palakkad. But what about normal people who just see only the timings provided in the ticket and who might have waited there since 9pm.or something like that.
Sunup said…
Binai, recently I saw a news clip in a Facebook forum that mentioned about KSRTC leasing around 200 buses for super class services from Urulungal society and that the chassis are already with Prakash. But some say its hoax news. What's the reality?

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