Bagalkot to Bengaluru: On NWKRTC

The lack of good options to travel to Bagalkot, and the fact that I had to get back to Bengaluru early in the morning forced me to travel without a return booking. Based on the timings, and convenience, I found it would be a better idea to head to Hubli from Bagalkot, and take a bus from there. I looked at various options from Bagalkot to Hubli, and found a few NWKRTC express buses listed, and all of them showed a travel time of about 3.5hours. I decided to head to Hubli first, an then a bus from there to Hubli. I poured over options for that, and finally booked an NWKRTC Airavat 'Gold' Class from Hubli to Bengaluru.

July 09, 2019: 
My counterpart at the examination centre advised that I must take one of the Hubli shuttle services, and should avoid any long distance bus, since they travel slower and tend to reach late in Hubli. I decided to stick to his advice, but still did enquire with the crew of the Mangalore bus - who had the same opinion. I got into a tired looking Tata bus of Bagalkot depot for my journey to Hubli - the bus, KA-29-F-12244, was off to a lazy start from Bagalkot at 1643hrs. The driver - a middle aged guy, was silent and was busy at his job. There were plenty of stops on the way - mostly bus stations and very few wayside stops. The road wasn't wide at many places - it was down to mud roads at some places.
On the ride from Bagalkot to Hubballi...

We mostly went through country roads - mostly through fields. The road was good where it existed, and traffic was on the lighter side. The longest halt on the way was at Nargund - a 10 minute break there. It got dark by the time we left Nargund - the front glass wasn't clean at the driver had a tough time with that. At some place on the way, the driver stopped the bus and used water from his water bottle to clear the front glass. The bus finally got to Hubli old bus station at 2022hrs - about 3 hours and 39 minutes after we started from Bagalkot.
The bus that brought me to Hubballi, from Bagalkot.

I had about 2.5hrs to spend there - and it was drizzling most of the time. I headed out for some shopping first - I had to pick up some stuff from the there, including the famous peda and some other sweets. The next stop was the famous Basaveshwar Khanavali for dinner. I am a fan of north karnataka styled food, and the Jolada Roti meal is just the icing I look forward to. I had a very slow dinner - which turned out to be quite heavy. It was raining quite heavily, and I had to wait for a while before I could head back to the bus station. I headed straight to the executive lounge at the bus station - although called a lounge, its more of a sheltered waiting area. An NWKRTC staffer was on site, who helped passengers with arrivals and departures.
Yummy dinner @ Basaveshwar Kanavali, Hubballi..

I had over an hour to go before my bus turns up - at 2300hrs. I had received information about the bus as it departed from Belagavi - an older Volvo B9R was on duty that day. The wait at the Executive lounge helped me top up the battery in my phones. People were steadily coming in and departing in the buses that came. Interestingly, all buses other than normal expresses came to the executive lounge, and being a weekday, all of them had lots of seats as well. My bus to Bengaluru turned up at 2250hrs - 10 minutes before the scheduled departure. The yellow coloured bus appeared a little tired. The interiors didn't exactly smell fresh - it had seen better days for sure.
The bus - KA-42-F-930 (archives)

We started from Hubli at 2257hrs - about three minutes before time. There were not more than 10 passengers on board the 49 seater bus. People were free to pick what ever seat they wanted - I moved a little behind my originally reserved seat, and managed to get a pair of seats all for myself. The calf rests weren't working properly - the seat back pouches were all torn. The AC worked really well, and the blanket provided was sufficiently big. I slept off in no time - in fact, I slept minutes after we passed Varur. I woke up the next day, when the bus was actually very close to the point where I usually alight - we passed the point as I regained my senses. It was still quite dark outside, and I didn't want to alight at that isolated place at that point of time. I carried on to the next major stop, and got off at Goraguntepalya, at 0534hrs. The bus was well on time for an on-time arrival at Majestic.

Remarks: The bus, KA-42-F-930, was about 7 and a half year old, and had clocked about 19.46 Lakh kilometres! The maintenance was above average - it was tired outside, and the interiors had seen better days. The bus was quite dim lit inside - the seats were clean, though. The crew members were great, and the driving style was seriously good. The driver maintained pace, geared perfectly and avoided lugging. The only flaw I thought was the fares - the private ones were cheaper than this one. I liked the ride overall!

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

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

Overall: 4.75/5

Pros: Great Crew, fairly punctual
Cons: Pricier than competition

Will I take this service again? Will surely try them again!


Sunup said…
Regarding the heavy feeling after a jolada roti meal -- you are right. There is a khanavali near my office and sometimes I have my lunch from there. If I have a jolada roti lunch, then I won't get any signs of hunger till late evening. Whereas, if I have a wheat chapatti lunch from the same place, I again get hungry by 4 pm itself.