+++++++++++++++++++++++++++Bangalore - Chennai - Bangalore - This time with a small milestone!!!
My tyrst with experimenting on this route continued. The fact that I had time in hand and plenty of operators on the route gave me ample chances to try out one operator or the other. The return journey of this trip marked the 50th journey by AC sleeper for me since October 2015!! Except for may be a dozen or little over a dozen of them, rest all were on the bangalore chennai route. This is a huge number for a reluctant sleeper traveller in me. Slowly am getting to used to the comforts of sleeper. Of the 50, 27 came in 2019 alone - a whopping number considering that I was flying, driving and taking trains for monthly official deputations. For trips where I was on tight schedules, I chose to stay with my preferred operators and none of them let me down. For tight journeys, I always chose seaters - Asian, Parveen, RKK and National in the same order. RKK seems to have filled the void left by Hebron. All said and done, I feel no one has filled the void left by Evacay (10AM service on either ends - my most preferred at one point of time).
Off Topic : I havent spotted the first pair of AC sleepers (white liveried ?Damodhar coach) of Asian Xpress for sometime now. I remember their liveries being changed to their usual grey sometime in early 2019 and they were on bangalore coimbatore routes, but havent spotted them then on.
Bangalore Chennai 30/1/2020 - Kukkeshree Travels AC sleeper
As I kept looking for options for afternoon journey, Kukkeshree AC sleeper attracted me with low fare, availability of single berths and convenient drop points. Kukkeshree travels is one of the operators with newer buses - one pair of bharath benz sleepers run on this route. Encouraged by good reviews from my colleagues (for whom I had suggested for experimenting), booked single upper berth. Bus details and tracking link came via SMS prior to departure and for a moment I was disappointed as the bus bore a AR registration number (The Bharath Benz pair are KA registered). I kept tracking the GPS while waiting at the boarding point and was certain about a delay of atleast 30 mins. 4 Asian express buses (3AC sleeper - 2 chennai and 1 Coimbatore, one B9R ishift volvo to chennai left with good loads). The crew called me as the bus entered the BETL. Reached E city at 2 PM (35 mins delay) and it was a Veera built AL coach. I dont remember the last time I had travelled in a Veera built coach - probably in late 2000s when non AC seaters were still in the market. One 500ml water bottle was provided. The AC vent near the foot end had a adjustable slider as well. The dark curtains despite being short of length ensured minimal sunlight coming through. Having worked the previous night, I fell asleep in no time. Woke up when break was announced; one look through the window - it was Sai Ananda bhavan, Krishnagiri and I went back to sleep. Woke up in the evening when the bus had just stopped after the Walajah toll. A quick bio break was given on passengers request. Based on the time, I could make out that the run till then was great. I slept again for a while and woke up due to bumpy ride closer to Thirumazhisai junction (outskirts of Poonamali). It was 715 PM and definitely wonderful timing considering it was a day time and two breaks. From there on it was snail pace movement and reached koyambedu at 840 PM. Was dropped at Vadapalani at 0845PM. Over all a great journey and value for money!!
Chennai Bangalore 01/02/2020 - Vignesh TAT Transcars AC sleeper
As I was browsing for experimental options, my eyes lit up looking at Vignesh TAT AC sleeper - the first thing that got my attention was the low fare. Subsequently, all criteria were met - boarding point closer to home, not too late departure, arrival before 6AM (that most buses do anyways) and availability of single berths. Got a decent discount using offer codes. The bus and crew details arrived soon after booking along with GPS tracking(one advantage of booking in last hour). Soon after anther message arrived apologizing for non availability of tracking. The boarding point was mentioned as Vadapalani bus stop, however most buses pick passengers near SIMS hospital and Ambica Empire hotel. After I reached SIMS hospital (walkable distance from home), I called up the crew and informed them about my position. Generally, the crew accept as there is enough space for them to pull over unlike the other side of the flyover. It was all "TATs" crossing one after the other. My bus arrived on time and got to know of it as the crew called while descending the flyover. The bus appeared new and was on the move as boarded. One 300 ml water bottle and snack bag containing cookies and savourie was provided. The bus had yellow lights and dark red interiors. The berth was comfortable. The noise level was pretty high - thought the bus was bharathnbenThere was a LED TV but nothing was played. After wading through the traffic near CMBT, the bus pulled into VigneshTAT parking and an announcement was made through the PA system for use of rest rooms. It was also announced that the next restroom break would be by 0330AM near Krishnagiri. By now I was half asleep and the last thing I remember was bus struggling to enter the main road by 2345hours. Woke up at 340 AM when bio break was announced. The bus had stopped at Hotel Mnagalam, after Krishnagiri. This is one of the popular and cleaner places in this stretch. There were more than a dozen of omni buses there. After a stroll and relieving myself, I looked at the steering panel and was surprised to note that it was a Tata!!. Wondered how I missed the typical Tata gear box!!!. The odo reading had just over 41k kms.!! The ride was smooth with some honking there on. No stop or calls made at Hosur. Woke up at Attibele toll and got dropped before E city by 450AM. Over all a great trip and value for money.
So KSRTC also launched Ambaari Dream Class. Demand for the sleeper is good.
May be once you start traveling one would like Sleeper more. I am personally comfortable in Semi-Sleeper.