Friday, 21 June 2013

Mumbai to Bangalore in Kesineni B11R

Mumbai to Bangalore in Kesineni B11R

Date of Journey- 21/06/2013
Service- Kesineni B11R
Distance- 1020kms (appox)

The day had finally arrived and the excitement was at its peak. When I landed in Mumbai, it was raining cats and dogs. My initial plans were to try the Sharma B11R which departs at 16:00hrs. As decided, I and Saurabh headed to Sharma’s parcel booking office at around 15:30hrs to book the tickets. There was something amiss. The B11R was missing. .!!!

Sharma’s Luxura sleeper was getting ready for departure however the B11R was nowhere in sight. Upon enquiry, the person at the office told that the service may have been cancelled however he asked me to stay put for some time as he was not very sure about the same. Saurabh had to leave for some work however as a backup, he ensured I grabbed a seat on Kesineni B11R. I contacted the pickup man of Kesineni (Thanks to Dreamchaser) and he ensured that he would block the seat at the rear. A couple of minutes passed by and the person at the counter gave the number of pickup man and asked me to enquire about the bus. The news he gave me was not at all pleasing. ‘Service Cancelled’.

At that moment, I decided to book the tickets on Kesineni however ‘when’ and ‘where’ to book the tickets was still lingering in my mind. Here comes Saurabh to the rescue. We met up at National park and we enquired about the tickets.  Unfortunately local agents do not book tickets for Kesineni due to online bookings. We headed straight to Redbus office in Borivali(W) and finally my tickets were booked.

The departure of my bus was at 18:15hrs from National park, Borivali however we went to the parking lot to do some last minute bus fanning and finally I spotted the beauty shining in all her glory.

The crew recognized me (thanks to the photo-shoot in Bangalore) and they welcomed me in. Since it was already time for departure I decided to board the bus at this very juncture. I bid adieu to Saurabh and was all set to travel in a B11R for the second time. (The first ride was again in a Kesineni B11R which I traveled from Chamrajpet to Silk Board  ;-)  )

The first impression when you board a B11R is that you feel it’s just not a bus; it’s ‘Busssss’. The bus had around 20,000kms on the odo. I walked all the way to the rear of the bus and took my seat. The bus slowly moved out of the parking and headed towards Dahisar as there was no one boarding the bus at Borivali(W). We arrived in National park at 18:00hrs and stopped for passengers. After a 15minute stop, the bus moved on. The bus slowly passed by Kandivali and proceeded towards Jogeshwari. After picking up few passengers along the way, we entered Vile Parle. Traffic here was at a standstill. We picked up few more passengers and parcels at this juncture. However, due to traffic the bus could not move any further. An SRS B9R was accompanying us in the traffic and the ease of driving a B9R in traffic was shown to us. The driver of my bus was equally skilled to tackle the bus however the traffic was testing his skills and the driver was equally up for the challenge. We entered Chembur and were greeted by rains.  Most of the passengers boarded the bus here and we powered on towards Kalamboli. Finally after picking up all the passengers, the bus headed towards the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. I was eagerly waiting for some high speed action considering the power the bus is packed with.

The bus entered the expressway and we hit 3digit speeds. The bus constantly kept doing 100Kmph (cruising) along the highway. We overtook a slow moving Neeta Mercedes probably heading to Pune and powered on to catch the SRS B9R which gave us a slip in the heavy Mumbai traffic. We neared Lonavala, and the traffic as usual was crawling at this junction. We made our way through the slow moving traffic and continued on. An old Bollywood flick was on to entertain passengers. We were nearing Pune when amidst nowhere a blaring noise engulfed the bus scaring the passengers. ‘Touring Talkies’. An automated announcement system informing about the Dinner break was so loud that it also woke up passengers who were in deep sleep.
We pulled over at Hotel Taj just before Pune. The food was  little costly and tasted quite ok. After a brief halt we headed towards Pune. I was eagerly hoping to take full advantage of the empty seat next to me. I remember the bus entering Pune to pick up passengers while I slipped into deep sleep.

The comfort of the bus, optimum a/c, very low noise from the engine ensured I slept peacefully. When I woke up, we were near Hubli bypass. While the bus powered on towards Bangalore, I powered on with my sleep. I vaguely remember walking up again at Haveri around 6:00am. Finally at around 8:30am we pulled over for our breakfast break after Hiriyur.

A Sharma B9R and Sharma’s Luxura Sleeper greeted us. We joined them for our break. 10minutes into the break and the Luxura began to move out. While she moved out, KSRTC’s Shimoga bound Airavat joined us in. Within no time KSRTC’s Express services joined us and the place was filled. In the meantime the action on the highway was also scintillating. National’s Paalki was chasing a speeding Airavat Club Class rushing towards Bangalore.

KSRTC’s Airavat was the first one to leave. A couple of minutes later we moved out. Again we hit the highway and the driving was very sedate. Though we constantly cruised at 100kmph, I felt we were doing 60kmph. The first drop was at Tumkur bypass. We headed towards Bangalore taking the Nelamangala-Yeswanthpur expressway. I was dropped off at Yeswanthpur at 11:15am.

Will I try this service again…?

For a person who enjoys sedate driving, this journey was tailor made. There was no difference with the driving style of both the crew as they were both driving the bus in an identical manner. What really amazed me was the noise of the engine inside the bus was very low. However when the bus powered down from a top speed, the sound was very rough and was easily audible inside the bus. Thanks to Kesineni and Saurabh, my desire for traveling in a B11R was satiated.


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