Mumbai to Bangalore in VRL B11R I-shift SemiSleeper
Date of Journey: 04/04/2016
Service: VRL Travels
Service: VRL Travels
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert
This was one trip which I postponed ever since the first pictures of the majestic B11r of VRL surfaced on the internet. The time finally arrived to book the tickets on the face lifted Volvo B11R. I waited eagerly for the trip as it was almost 2years since I last boarded this Swedish giant.
I was at my pickup point in Borivali a good 45mins early to ensure not to miss the arrival of this bus and as expected, she did not disappoint me. Amidst the bustling traffic, she honked her way towards the awaiting passengers. I boarded the bus and immediately made by way towards the rear of the bus. There were appox 6-8 passengers boarding here. The pickup man was busy calling a passenger who was yet to show up.
The bus had done a mere 4900kms on the Odo. Needless to say but the interiors were all brand new added with a touch of VRL’s upkeep and maintenance which welcomed passengers. The engine noise inside the bus was bare minimum with absolutely no vibrations. After a brief halt, we began our journey. I headed to the last row seats and noticed the heat insulation and engine noise were much better than the earlier version. We headed towards Malad (Shantaram Talav) to pick up the next set of passengers. We were also a pickup bus for a Mysore bound VRL 9R who was waiting up ahead in Sion. All but one passenger was yet to show up. The pickup man was trying his best to reach this lone passenger but he was nowhere to be seen. After a good 20mins delay, the passenger showed up. Without little remorse for delaying the bus or for making other passengers wait, he argued with the crew for rushing him through his work. The crew did not reply back however the cold stare from the waiting passengers inside the bus was enough for the late comer to realize his mistake.
We headed further and pulled over at Santacruz. Again we had a passenger who was yet to show up and thus the wait began. After another 30mins of delay, we began to move towards Andheri. Traffic was showing no mercy however the driver had no difficulty in managing the bus through the same. Luckily, we did not encounter anymore delay as we headed straight towards Sion. The Mysore bound bus was already waiting and passengers were immediately moved to their respective bus. From here we headed towards our last pickup point in Vashi for the final pickup point. We reached there in no time and our pickup man bid adieu here. We finally headed towards Panvel joining the scenic Express way.
I decided to stay upfront as always and the expressway did not disappoint me. The jump seat (cleaner’s seat) in the Volvo buses are positioned lower unlike the older models. So the view was not complete but I have no complaints on that. The driver kept the bus at a constant 90Kmph and ensured to let the fast running vehicles go by.
We exited the expressway and were quickly welcomed by the notorious Pune traffic. I decided to get a quick nap and headed back to my seat. I woke up to find the bus stationary in Katraj around 7pm. The delay in Mumbai proved to be costly as we took a massive 5hrs to reach Pune. The bus was almost full here as we made our way out of Pune. I resumed my sleep immediately while a bollywood movie kept the passengers entertained.
We pulled over for dinner at around 8pm. We were the lone vehicle however were quickly joined by few more VRL buses. Within few minutes the place was full as few more buses started to join in. We were the first ones out from here and rejoined the highway quickly.
The night lamps (blue lights) were kept on however were not as bright as the ones in Scania buses. Sleep consumed me in no time as the bus made its way towards its destination. I woke up once in between to find the bus had just crossed into KA. I fell asleep almost immediately only to be woken up again as we were pulling inside the VRL workshop in Varur, Hubli. The bus was refueled here and in no time the journey resumed. I decided to stay upfront as I was no longer sleepy. We were constantly doing around 90Kmph on the odo and were overtaken mercilessly. We dropped off a passenger in Davangere bypass. The crew decided to wait as the family of the lone women who got down had not shown up. After a brief wait we resumed our journey.
We pulled over in Tumkur (VRL stop) for a brief halt for refreshments. The crew was very quick and since we were just an hour and half away from our destination, the crew was in no mood to waste any time. We resumed our journey after an exact 20mins stop. We cruised at almost the same speeds as we crossed the Nelmangala Toll booth.
We took the Yeswanthpur expressway as always and Bangalore traffic was happy to welcome me with a couple of snarls. The bus pulled over in Yeswanthpur at 8:45am signaling the end of my journey
Will I try this service again?
For a regular traveler, this bus would make no difference, but a ride in this bus is a must try. The driving was very sedate and the crew did their best to make up for the lost time. The bus has less leg space, probably a row of less seat would make a difference. In all VRL’s quality of service is again unmatchable. This service is a must try.
Some pics taken in Mumbai