MSRTC 'Shivneri' Scania: Return to Pune, from Mumbai!

November 15, 2019:
We were still on the Volvo from Pune to Mumbai, when we decided to reserve seats for our return journey as well. It was a Friday, and we were to return a little later in the night. I reserved our return tickets through the MSRTC website, on a bus departing from Dadar at 2030hrs - we needed a bus that went via Chinchwad (most other buses go via Aundh) as well. With confirmed tickets in hand already, we had about 3-and-a-half hours at our disposal in Mumbai.

So we get off the 12-coach EMU at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and slowly walk out of the station, slowly walking towards the bus station. We found the place from where buses to the Gateway would depart - purchased tickets and joined the queue for the next bus. We headed to the Gateway first, then to Marine Drive. We remained around until about 1900hrs, before taking a quite ice-cream break, and then to Churchgate, from where we took a local train to Dadar. After a quick pit-stop we rushed towards the 'Asiad Bus terminus' at Dadar. This bus terminus is an interesting place - its located below a flyover, and uses the space intelligently.

It was almost 2020hrs by the time we got there - I asked the driver of the first bus if that was our bus - the driver asked me to head to the counter and confirm. I rushed to the counter, and showed my reservation ticket on the phone - the guy at the counter checked service details, checked the reservation charts he had, and confirmed our tickets, and asked us to head to "9580". He handed out 5 water bottles (200ml) as well before I left the counter. Our bus, aka 9580, was parked a little away from the counter - was parked behind a bus heading to Swargate. The bus was a Scania Metrolink HD 12m coach - my second ride in a 12M Scania!
The bus: MH-06-S-9580, at Dadar.

The bus was not in great shape - the front panel had a lot of patch works and scars. The interiors were not great either - the interiors were all dusty, and the AC unit made a lot of noise. The seat layout was different from what was shown on the website - a seat marked as window was an aisle in the bus. It didn't matter since we were a group. I had almost run out of charge on my phone - the charging points in this bus was also dead! I waited for the driver to come in - and requested him to switch on the charger. He said its already on sir - please check another point. If that also doesn't work.. its dead! I checked a couple of points - and all of them were dead. I resigned to fate, turned off data and left my phone on a power saver mode.

The bus finally started off from the bus station at 2048hrs - about 18 minutes behind schedule. While at the bus station, I understood that the buses weren't departing according to schedule,but according to their position in the queue, plus occupancy in the bus. The bus came out of the bus station, joined the main road, and quickly proceeded towards Chembur. The occupancy was light - roughly about 25-or so passengers out of 45 seats. Road was getting a little crowded, and we came to a complete standstill as we neared Chembur. A part of the road was closed for Metro work, and this made matters bad. We stopped at Chembur Maitri Park bus station for the next pickup (2130hrs) - it took a bit of time here, and we got moving again only by 2135hrs.

While the rest of my gang had already slept, I was finding it really difficult to sleep - the AC unit was right above my head, and the circulating fans seemed to be in terrible shape. It made a ruckus, and it kept irritating me. I kept dozing off time and again - it was not a very comfortable journey, though. We reached Vashi by 2202hrs - picked a passenger and quickly resumed journey. I dozed off soon later - I remember seeing the bus entering the expressway. I slept till the bus pulled in to a food plaza off the express highway (2255hrs) - I went around for a stroll and had a juice for my dinner before returning to the bus. The rest of the gang was deep asleep!

We started off from the food plaza (Khalapur) at 2315hrs. I had another round of good sleep - this time fairly deep as well. I woke up just as the bus left a well paved road and hit a patch of bad roads. I understood that we had exited the expressway, and had now turned towards Dehu Road. I had to remain awake now - lest we missed our stop. I turned back data service on my phone - and remained tuned to GMaps to know our current location. I woke up the rest of the gang as we passed Nigdi - our stop came close. We finally got off at Chinchwad, at 0031hrs - close to about 4 hours since we started from Dadar, and about 2h29m after we left Vashi.

Remarks: The bus, MH-06-S-9580, homed at Pune-Shivajinagar depot, had a little over 5.7Lakh kilometres on the odo. The 3.5 year old bus was not in the best shape - it had plenty of scars, signs of poorly performed repair work were all around. Interiors were not in great shape either. The driving was good - very stable and maintained pace whenever possible. The took us from Mumbai to Pune in reasonable time, in reasonable comfort. I wouldn't rate it the best experience - but certainly not the worst.

Amenities:
Blanket: No
Water: Yes
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Didn't work!
Entertainment: Not Available.

Ratings:
Maintenance: 3/5
Cleanliness: 2/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 4/5 [Based on timings - no displayed schedule, as such]

Overall: 3.5/5

Pros: Plenty of trips, Good driving
Cons: Buses aren't great, not exactly Value for money!

Will I take this service again? They are the best choice on the route!

Comments

rahulvijayev said…
Binaieta, for your bus from CST to Gateway, was it in BEST? Is it required to purchase tickets in advance? Doesn't it have conductor on board to issue tickets?
Binai K Sankar said…
Yes. It was a BEST bus. They did not have conductors on board the bus (maybe due to peak time) and they sold tickets at the entrance of the bus during boarding.
Rahul Warrier said…
MSRTC is known for their "rough" handling of the buses. Though glad that nowadays buses are speed locked. Their Volvo B9R buses routinely used to hit speeds above 120 KMPH on the expressway. Thankfully they are now speed locked at 80 KMPH

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