Palakkad to Bengaluru: Airavat Club Class Volvo B9R

Like everytime, I hadn't looked at other options for this journey either. I booked the ticket soon after reservations had opened - being right after Diwali, I was fairly sure about seats selling fast, and other options getting insanely expensive. 

October 29, 2019:
It was really difficult to leave home - my kiddo was sleeping, deep asleep as I left home. I took a local bus to Palakkad. I got to the KSRTC bus station in Palakkad by around 2100hrs. My bus hadn't been brought to the platform yet. I was a little hungry - headed straight to a restaurant near the entry to the bus station - my bus was parked there. The crew were having their dinner at the same restaurant. I finished mine quickly and headed to the bus station - the bus was brought to the platform by then - a message containing the bus and crew details also came in by then. 
The bus: KA-01-F-9355 (Archives)

I was quite tired and sleepy - boarded the bus soon later. They hadn't turned on the airconditioner yet - it was stuffy inside the bus. They turned on the airconditioner about 5 minutes before departure - the bus didn't move even as the clock ticked past 2130hrs. The bus was full - except for one seat. We were waiting for the occupant of that seat - she turned up at 2135hrs. The crew hurriedly left her bags in the baggage hold and started off immediately. 

Like everytime, the bus exited the town through Manappullikavu road and joined the highway soon later. I was very tired, and hoped to sleep immediately - but found it really tough to sleep. The driver was lugging the engine quite badly - and didn't seem to exceed 80kmph at any point of time. With a lot of struggle, I dozed on and off. The bus was stopped somewhere on the way for some time - not sure why. I didn't check the time though. 

The crew woke up the entire bus as they pulled into that terrible place - Hotel Surya, for a break (0312hrs). I dread this place - and really wonder why premium buses stop at such terrible places. Stinky restrooms, for which they charge a premium, and overpriced food products are characteristics of this place. We started off at 0325hrs. It started raining soon after we started off - it was kinda pouring down as we crawled towards Bengaluru. I managed to sleep a little after the break - I was sure to have a terrible day ahead, with the hangover keeping me terribly tired. 

We crawled in to Electronic city toll gate by 0444hrs - they took the elevated highway from here. We got to Silk Board by 0452hrs, and to Madiwala police station by 0455hrs. The next stop was at St. Johns (0501hrs) and Christ (0504hrs). Unlike most buses from Kerala, this bus usually has passengers atleast until Shantinagar - this time was no different. More than half the bus emptied only here - we left from Shantinagar at 0510hrs. We got to Majestic by 0521hrs - 19 minutes before schedule

Remarks: The bus, KA-01-F-9355, homed at Bengaluru-4 depot had clocked about 12.65 Lakh Kilometres. Like everytime, the bus was in great shape - Karnataka RTC sets standards when it comes to bus maintenance, and that they keep them in fabulous shape. The crew were good - very well spoken, and even handled a late passenger without fuss. The excessive emphasis on fuel saving makes the crew lug the engine - it makes for a very bad ride for the passengers, especially those seated towards the rear of the bus. They drive slow - but do that consistently and allow for a good sleep. Although the bus took close to 8 hours for this short distance, the driving was very safe and sleep friendly. Another routine journey with them!

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Water: No [They stopped recently]
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, did not use.
Entertainment: Available - not used.

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 4/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Pros: Great Service, Excellent crew.
Cons: Driving style

Will I take this service again? Absolutely!

Comments

Sunup said…
Regarding the Hotel Surya break halt -- will it help if we try contacting the call center to complain? The call center accepts grievances too.

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