A Quick trip to Chennai: RKK Volvo B9R

The biggest confusion I have everytime I head to Chennai is whether I must travel the previous day, or take an overnighter, or taken an early morning bus. Overnight buses are almost always ruled out since that necessitates renting a room to get fresh - I prefer reaching Chennai the previous night in such cases. This time around, an evening departure was ruled out due to official commitments. I was left with the option of taking an early morning bus now - I looked at the options available, and picked up my favorite option on the route - RKK Travels. There were two reasons behind this decision - one, my previous experiences with them were great; two, they offered a pick-up at Majestic!

January 14, 2020:
I had hardly slept the previous night - the excitement about the journey kept me awake for most part of the night, and I might have managed about 2 hours of sleep at the most. The alarm went off at 0200hrs - I had planned to leave home past 0230hrs, and I was absolutely unsure of being about to get a vehicle at that time. I fired up the uber app soon after getting up - cabs were available fairly easily. I booked a cab after getting ready - I had a little bit of repacking to do, so that all the stuff could be contained in one backpack. The app confirmed my booking - the cab was about 6 minutes away. I left my home a little past 0245hrs - the pick-up time for my bus was 0330hrs, from Majestic.

The cabbie lost his way somewhere, and reached my place only a couple of minutes before 0300hrs - I appraised him of the situation and requested him to speed up. The estimated arrival time give by the app was 0325hrs - I had some buffer anyways. Driving on Bangalore roads is a bliss during this hour - absolutely no traffic and roads were kinda good as well. The map showed a longer approach - I requested the driver to take a shorter route, which he obliged. I got to Majestic bus station by 0322hrs - well in time for the departure. My bus was already parked on the road side - one of the drivers, and the attendant were inside the bus. The attendant checked my seat number - it turned out that I was the only passenger boarding there. The bus started off at 0325hrs - five minutes before time.
The bus: KA-19-AB-1908 (Archives)

There were some random rattles coming in from the rear suspension - this was not usual in RKK buses. The bus was otherwise in good shape. The AC wasn't turned on - but it was quite cool inside anyways. I was quite hungry - and had some biscuits that I was carrying from home. The roads were absolutely empty, and we got to Shantinagar by 0336hrs - there was a bit of wait for reserved passengers to turn up. Two passengers got in here, and we got moving by 0341hrs. I was quite sleepy by now - badly wanted some sleep now. The road works (white topping) around Dairy Circle slowed down our progress a bit - since traffic was diverted to the opposite lane, and the carriageway was quite narrow for two vehicles.

The one-way arrangement around Madiwala also meant we had to take a slightly longer way to get to RKK Travels' office in Madiwala. We got to Madiwala by 0355hrs - boarding started soon later, and progressed a little slow. We started off from Madiwala at 0403hrs - two minutes before scheduled departure time. The attendant came around distributing water bottles soon after wards - this was followed by a packet of biscuits! Very thoughtful, I must say - its an early morning departure, and runs non-stop. I haven't seen them giving out snacks on other services - so this must be a special for this service. We got to Madiwala Police Station bus stop by 0409hrs - a slightly long wait for passengers to turn up, and we got off by 0413hrs. We picked some more passengers at Silk Board (0415hrs), and progressed towards Hosur. The bus didn't take the elevated highway - they had another passenger pick-up at Bommanahalli (0418hrs). The driver showed no hurry as he maintained moderate pace.

I slowly set the field to sleep - seat was reclined, blanket was drawn over, and it was just a matter of time before I dozed off. We got to Electronic City (toll gate) by now - a quick pick-up later, we continued our journey towards Chennai (0427hrs). This was the last stop I remember - I slept. I slept. I slept! A long sleep ensued - I don't remember waking up anywhere on the way - except those brief periods of awakening, the transition between phases of sleep.  I woke up as we neared Poonamallee - in fact, the attendant's call for passengers alighting at Poonamallee was what woke me up. I had planned to get off at Poonamallee - but the time I realised this (I was still drowsy), the bus had already passed Poonamallee stop.

The second driver had spotted me trying to get up from the seat - I had actually got to the gangway, and was trying to pull out my bag from the overhead rack. He asked if I wanted to get down  (the guy at the wheel had slowed down, and almost pulled over to the shoulder of the road) - I said I need to reach Porur. The guy at the wheel shifted down, and picked pace, while the second driver informed that getting off at Saveetha would be better. I moved to the first row of the bus and prepared to get off. The bus stopped at Saveetha Dental College at 0850hrs - the second driver got off the bus to let me get off comfortably. The crew showed no hurry as they stopped - they very really cordial as well. The crew were 'upset' that traffic slowed them down - I was amused that we were perfectly on time!

Remarks: The bus, KA-19-AB-1908, was kept in fairly good shape - except for the odd rattle. Although I couldn't note down the odo reading, it appeared to be some were around 8 lakh kilometres. The interiors were in great shape - warm tone lighting with dark red coloured seat upholstery. The crew were great - very friendly and cordial as well. The bus was driven in great way - pace was maintained, and the driving was very sleep friendly. There were no rash cuts, or hard brakes. I don't recall of lot of honking either. The bus took a little less than 5 hours to cover the distance from Madiwala to Poonamalle - excellent in terms of timings. Another great experience with RKK!

Blanket: Yes
Pillow: No
Water: Yes
Snacks: Yes
Charging Point: Available, Did not use.
Entertainment: Available, not used.

Maintenance: 4.75/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Pros: Punctuality, Plenty of options, Value of Money
Cons: None

Will I take this service again? Absolutely! RKK is a very good choice on this route.


Arun said…
This one If I am right is one among the first pair of RKK bought from Vishal travels!!They retained the original livery and design (this one red and the other one green). 1908has far too many rattles than the pair. On my very first trip the bus broke down just 2kms after starting from electronic city! Subsequently, all my trips by RKK have been on one their green ones. I love their early departures both ends. Just had a fantastic ride this morning from Chennai.
Binai K Sankar said…
@Rahul - yes. Its ex-Vishal
Parasakthi said…
Have you tried the parveen bus with pantry for the early morning trip in this route yet ?