The good ol' Glo-bus

After a stomach filling three days in Bangalore, I was all set to head back home. It was cold in Bangalore, and I had a few apprehensions about the effect of the climate on me. I searched for tickets, and the 2200 Bangalore-Thrissur AC bus was a "no-brainer" decision. I zeroed in on this bus quickly and reserved tickets through the Kerala SRTC Online Booking. The online booking facility is one huge leap for KeSRTC given their overall way of functioning. The interface is kind-of amateurish. After a payment is made (sadly, they allow only credit/debit cards, no online banking, yet), the ticket does not appear on itself. One has to go to "booked tickets" and then print out - overall an amateur feel.

On the day of journey (July 26, 2010), I called up the bus station around 9.30 pm or so to get the conductor's number. I was quickly given the number. The bus starts from Mysore Road Satellite Bus Terminus at 2200 and take the weary route via Corporation Circle and Lalbagh to reach Madiwala and thence to Electronic City and to Hosur. I had nominated "Bommanahally Bus Stop" as my boarding point. KSRTC has this good idea of providing every conductor (only on AC services) with a mobile phone - passengers can call up the conductor to get live position of the bus and also seat availability. One can even change the boarding point even after charting/departure of bus by just calling up the conductor. I called up the conductor around 2220, to let him know that I would be waiting near the Silk Board Flyover - since the traffic at Bommanahalli was huge. He said, I need to wave my hand when the bus comes, so that he can stop - I okayed.

Shot while waiting for my bus.. near Silk Board Flyover...

The bus turned up at around 2245 - impressive run time! The bus was my good ol' Globus, RR210 of Thrissur. This was my third journey on the particular bus. I waved my hand, and the driver was a bit doubtful - to stop or not. Later he stopped across the road, causing a bit of traffic pile up as well. I hopped in - the driver kind of argued that I should have stood at "Madiwala" else would've missed the bus. The conductor quickly intervened and said I had informed him. Anyways, the ticket was checked and I got into the passenger section through the cramped door. My seat was #5. Although there was a passenger reserved on seat #6, he did not turn up. I had two seats all for my self.

I did a quick headcount, and found no more than 20 passengers in the 45 seater bus. Monday night has its effect! The bus did not feel as cold as it used be during my past two journeys - but I had to run a bit to get into the bus. I settled down, and heard a bit of music from my iPod. The driver had a hard foot on the gas pedal and the bus was flying through almost empty roads now. We did not have pickups anywhere on the way. He kept overtaking other vehicles throughout the run. We were stuck up at a traffic snarl near Hosur for a while - the main cause for this is the haphazard bus station at Hosur. The bus station always has buses pouring in from all sides of the road, causing really horrible traffic pileups.

I dozed off a while after crossing Hosur. All I remember was pulling up the bed sheet I had with me, and lying down across the two seats that I had for myself. I woke up with a jerk as the bus hit a pothole while entering the famous "Hotel Uthaiyya". This joint, a place frequented by almost all buses running through Krishnagiri, has a huge toilet block and lots of parking space for buses. Almost every bus leaving Bangalore, and running via Krishnagiri would stop here for a break - my bus was no different. The time now was 0005. We reached Krishnagiri, from Bommanahalli in an impressive 80 minutes! (Thats about 80 kms). I am sure the driver did fly briefly.

A pic of my bus, RR210, while waiting outside Hotel Uthaiyya, near Krishnagiri...

The halt was boring - I had to get off the bus since the engine was shut and it was getting stuffy inside the bus without the AC running. The parking space was jam packed and my bus was parked outside on the road side. There were quite some 12M Karnataka Sariges around. I took a leak and then walked around seeing the buses parked there. I did a bit of photography and then decided to wait till we leave. The crew were back at 0020 - just then a passenger jumped out of the bus saying that he wants to take a leak. This "not-so-gentle"man came back a whole 3 minutes later and we started off at 0025 only. The crew were saying that guy was drunk and made some trouble at the beginning of the run. Whatever, I was back at my "double"seat!

I dozed off in no time. I am sure the bus was flying again! We reached Coimbatore at 0445 - thats about 4 hours and 20 minutes of run from Krishnagiri, about 275 kms. I couldn't believe my eyes - I check my watch again. About 5 passengers got off, and about 8 got in. We left at 0450. I slept off again, and woke up only when the bus parked itself at Palakkad bus station. The time now was 0550. The bus picked up some diesel and about 8 passengers (the 8 who got in from Coimbatore got off here). We started off from Palakkad at 0600. I dozed off again.. I vaguely remember someone coming and sitting on seat #6. I slept through the run - I woke up as we stopped at Mannuthy - (Thrissur bypass) to drop a passenger. I slept again, and woke up only when the bus was finally pulling into its final destination - Thrissur Bus Station - at 0715.

Inside RR210.. had to be content with this shot...

I waited inside till the entire bus emptied with plans to take a shot of the interiors. But sadly, a couple of passengers were adamant on counting the money they had in the pocket before they got off. I had to be content with a routine grab shot. I got off the bus and took a rickshaw to Sakthan Thamburan Bus Station (my bus had run through this place roughly 10 mins ago - just that I was fast asleep then!). Coupled with the tiredness of the journey and remnants of sleep, the bag felt too heavy for me. I lugged it across - private bus crew where shouting at the top of their voice to attract passengers. I dodged a few of them to head to the forbidden track - the one from where KSRTC buses would depart. Two White cuties were parked, ready to depart. I found out which would depart first, and took my favorite seat - the hot seat. The bus started off around 0745.

We kept crossing private buses at a regular pace - all of them were packed to the hilt. The KSRTCs that crossed us were mostly empty! I was saddened at that sight! I was dropped near my home around 0845, and hit home by 0850. The Bangalore (Bommanahalli) - Thrissur run took exactly 8 hours and 30 minutes - Thats about 460-odd kms! Thats an average speed over 55kmph, for a bus powered by a 160hp engine (which also has to power the AC)! The ride quality in the bus had deteriorated badly since my last journey (April 2009) in this bus, but the performance was still too good! Its high time these buses are replaced - they are too uncomfortable for long runs, now.


r.rakesh said…
very good description binai as always
Anonymous said…
hi dear,

i suggest you try KSRTC's PTA- GAVI-Kumily service.
A service only our KSRTC can manage!. I was proud see the little elephant cruising through dense forests. I had to hide my emotions and wet eyes from my wife. Try to promote that service.

atleast it wont be waste of time! guaranteed.