Chennai to Hosur: KMRL Kalaimakal Travels AC Sleeper

One email from Chennai - about a presentation at Chennai - turned a lot of my plans upside down. I had plans to go home for Makar Sankranti - spend a few days with my darling daughter. The original plan was to spend 5 days at home - certain situations in office made me cut this down to 2. Now this email threatened to cut it down to zero! I was missing my cutie really badly - and really wanted to go home. I looked at all possibilities to head home from Chennai - trains were sold out, buses were selling at astronomical fares (low cost airlines would be ashamed). I did not want to spend that kind of money to travel. In fact, tickets to Bangalore weren't cheap either.

At this point, I decided to retain my original booking from Bengaluru to Thrissur by train. I had reserved a ticket by train a few months in advance - I hadn't reserved my return ticket though. I began searching for trains from Chennai to Bengaluru - with the hope of being able to connect to my train from Bengaluru (Yeshwantpur) itself. There were no options that gave me comfortable connections. My train (Garib Rath express) goes via Hosur - so I could get into the train from Hosur. I began searching for buses leaving Chennai in the afternoon, and reaching Hosur early enough to connect to my bus. My target were buses departing between 1300hrs and 1500hrs - there were quite some interesting options. After looking at all of them (all of them were similarly priced as well), I decided to pick KMRL. KMRL, Kalaimakal Travels, has been consistently at the top in ratings on Redbus, and I wanted to try them once. A single lower berth was booked as well - and KMRL offered a lower price for Hosur tickets. Kalaimakal is a local favorite, and is based at Hosur as well.

January 14, 2020:
I was a little tensed as I went through the presentation. It started a little before  schedule as well - and finished sooner than expected. I started off from the campus soon later - I waited for a bus for quite some time. No TNSTCs were operated due to traffic diversions due to Pongal. No MTC buses turned up either. After a while of waiting, I hired a Uber. The driver did a detailed interview using the chat box before turning up for pick up. Traffic was not bad - I asked him to drop me outside a hotel in Koyambedu, so that I could take an early lunch before boarding. I finished lunch, and headed straight to the boarding point. KMRL had an office with waiting area on 100ft road - although located on the first floor of a building that could be accessed only by a narrow and steep stairway, the office was airconditioned and had adequate chairs.

I had some office work to do, and it kept me busy for the rest of the time. My bus was already on its way from its parking - the tracking link kept me updated on its movement. The bus turned up at the boarding point a little past 1310hrs - the attendant came up to the office and announced their arrival. Boarding started soon later - the attendant helped passengers with their bags, while the office staff verified seat numbers. Attendance was marked on a tablet computer, and I also received a welcome message soon afterwards. The interiors were clean and well kept - berths had well placed backrests, pillow and blanket was kept on the berths as well. We started off at 1334hrs - about 4 minutes behind schedule. Water bottles were distributed soon after departure.
The bus.. KA-51-AC-7679 during the snack break!

We stopped at Maduravoyal for passenger pick-up soon later. We finished pick-up and got moving by 1347hrs - there was a bit of traffic on the road slowing us a little. We got to Poonamallee bypass stop by 1410hrs - pick-up happened soon, and we got moving by 1412hrs. I was really tired - had woken up really early, had some sleep in the bus - but that wasn't a substitute to sleeping overnight, a long day in terms of mental exertion - I badly wanted to sleep. I tried sleeping for a while - but I wasn't able to do that. The sun was on my side - and it heated up the berth a little. I had to adjust the AC multiple times to keep the berth cool. I did have a short nap - but that was really short. I woke up a little before 1500hrs - and decided to tune in to a movie on my phone instead.

Toll gates on the way seemed jammed - most of the toll gates had very slow moving traffic, since most lanes were blocked for FasTag vehicles, and this meant longer queues in cash lanes. Although the bus had fastag, the non-fastag vehicles had blocked approach to most toll gates. I remained engrossed in the movie for most time. The bus pulled over for a tea break at Hotel Anandhas, near Poigai, past Vellore - at 1611hrs. The hotel seemed quite sleepy - all due to the time. The kitchen was just waking up for the evening - orders came out of the kitchen very slowly. The break took a little longer than announced - we got moving by 1646hrs. By now another bus had also joined in. I checked with the attendant about the drop point at Hosur - he confirmed they'd drop at the bus station.

The bus was maintaining pace - the GPS did not show speeds over 85kmph, so I assume its locked at 80kmph (considering GPS errors). The drive was quite stable - no rash cuts or overtakes, no competition with other buses, and minimal honking. We got to Krishnagiri by 1824hrs - a few passengers alighted as well. I was in the last leg of my journey now - I was quite tired by now, and badly wanted to sleep. I had a tough time keeping myself awake - lest I miss my alighting point. I remained seated for most of the time afterwards - while also tracking our progress continuously. The bus left the highway and got to the service road as we neared Hosur - there was a bit of traffic, standstill at some places. They stopped right outside the bus station, at 1926 - 11 minutes behind announced schedule. I spent the next few hours doing nothing - coming up in the next post!!

Remarks: The bus, KA-51-AC-7679, was in great shape! The bus was built on an Ashok Leyland TF1812 chassis by Veera Vahana (Model: V7). The interiors were great - basic, functional and nothing over the roof. Seats had reclined backrests - a functional charging point, a rack to keep bags, a blanket and a good pillow. The Crew were friendly - very cordial and soft spoken. It was a great experience - departed on time, arrived (almost) on time - excellent driving. A simple, no-fuss journey. The boarding experience was great, and the overall experience was great. I had heard a lot of good things about KMRL - I think they did stay to that. 

Amenities:
Blanket: Yes
Pillow: Yes
Water: Yes
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, worked.
Entertainment: Not available.

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

Overall: 5/5

Pros: Punctuality, Great Crew!
Cons: None

Will I take this service again? Absolutely. Will surely give them another chance!

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