Yesterday I was on a one day trip to Mumbai. Basically I have previously done this a lot of times. My meetings were fixed on a quick note so was not able to reserve my seats in the train. I always prefer train to travel Mumbai over bus. But yesterday was the day for new experiences.
Well, I had planned to Board 12126Pragati Express which departs at 07.50 hrs. From Pune Jn. but I missed it by couple of minutes. 80rs wasted… 😂 I was on FOB just waving my hands to that train who ditched me… Luckily ST Stand is beside station, so I headed to ST Stand. I thought I should get a Hirkani bus. By 08.00 hrs I booked the ticket of Hirkani bus which was scheduled to depart on 08.15hrs.
But a tweest occurred. There was a chaos among passenger as nobody was able to spot the bus. It was camouflaged right on the gate. All the passengers who booked the ticket were tensed. Even controller had no idea where the bus was… 😂 Finally controller found it and made an announcement and then the bus came inside. I was very clear that I want to get my favourite seat which is in the driver cabin and on the left side. I boarded the bus and asked driver to grab that seat in the cabin. He refused at first but later he accepted my plea and allowed me to seat. So I was happy. Finally at 8.20hrs bus departed.
But the twists were not over. At first I thought this bus is non stop. But I was wrong. The bus also took passengers from Pimpri and Chinchwad. Then thankfully no passenger was in que at nigdi so bus didnt took a stop at Nigdi.
These are direct (according to ST) buses which do not have conductor. So passengers book ticket in the counter first and then board the bus. After all this drama finally around 9.40hrs our bus entered on Pune – Mumbai Expressway. And this was refreshing. Chilled winter morning and early morning sunlight making that road glow like an oasis.
Was enjoying it thoroughly. Finally we reached Lonavala food plaza around 10.05hrs. I had a tea over there and again we departed. Now the best part of journey was about to begin. “The khandala ghat” was full of fog and view of the Ghat was really scenic. Our bus went through no. Of tunnels, and from the edge of valleys! It was so beautiful! This time I put aside my headphones because the sound of chirping of birds was more soulful than any of the tracks in my phone! #Nature
Finally after crossing the ghat we reached at Panvel by 11.00hrs. whooo… The traffic, chaos, pollution, humidity… Its Mumbai..! As we were making way forward, few passengers were coming to driver and ask where should they get off. Driver had no clue about the other places in Mumbai, he was only informed about the official road to Dadar. These constant questions made him a little tensed. but I was in cabin and surprisingly I was able to answer these travellers questions. Driver was really happy watching me answering these questions. It was due to my previous trips to Mumbai… 😂😎 Driver smiled and then a little conversation happened over the Behaviour of Travellers. He shared few of his funny incidents!
Finally around 12.20hrs we reached Dadar. After Gratitudinal conversation with Driver I got off the bus. And suddenly my belly hit with a punch of hunger. I realised was damn hungry. So after walking for some distance I found a sandwich vendor. Now I was having an excellent club sandwich for brunch.
Whenever I come to Mumbai I have sandwich from these street vendors, they are yum
Frankly speaking I was in no mood to work at that time. Because I am use to start my work on 10.00hrs as both 12124DeccanQueen and 12126PragatiExpress reach Mumbai at that specific time. But I was almost 2 hrs late. And I also travelled one hour extra. Bus took 4hrs, 1 hour extra than trains.
However, I headed to my first meeting. This meeting finished by 13.30hrs. The next meeting was scheduled at 15.00hrs. so I had a plan. As my second meeting get over I will head straightly to CSTM. And board 12123DeccanQueen. Then came another tweest,
One unread email!
My meeting was postponed by an hour. OMG, The Deccan Queen plan now seemed out of my reach.
Meanwhile now I had 2.30 hours of time. I have been to Dadar a lot of time. So I decided that this time I will explore more. So I head towards the Dadar Parsi Colony. Woow what an area, trees on both sides, old structures and ofcourse Cars… After roaming there for one hour my legs started to crumble in pain. And luckily I found a garden. An empty bench under the shadow was such relief. I relaxed for sometime.
Then I realised that On a bench next to me there was a college group discussing a lot about bollywood. Watching them and listening to them really remembered me of my college days. I was listening to them, and suddenly joined the conversation. It went on a good note though. Those beautiful girls were cool and our conversation was also getting better n better.
Girls look prettiest when they are listening to you carefully and giving you all the attention.
I was having fun really. That afternoon was awesome.
Who dont like to seat beside beautiful girls and have a conversation with them;😂
After sometime those girls left for their lectures and my mind again got busy thinking about next meeting.
Meanwhile I had walked so much that I didn’t realised that the meeting place was just 5 mins away from the garden. So by 16.00hrs I started my meeting and got free by 17.00hrs now it was impossible for me to reach CSTM in 10 minutes or Karjat before 18.30 to board the Deccan Queen.
However I knew that My plan to board Deccan Queen was ruined when that Mail arrived in my Inbox. But still a last hope… 😋
And my taste buds were so angry on me that I missed the yummy Cheese Omlette of Deccan Queen….
Finally I headed to Dadar again. Many Shivneri buses were standing in que ready to departure. I enquired but the bus of Swargate Stand was scheduled at 19.00 hrs. So I ate something and had tea. Finally on 17.45hrs I decided that I will take a Shivneri of Pune Stn. Which was departing on 18.00hrs. so that I can reach early. I got the ticket. A 23 no. Seat right into the middle of the bus.
When in Volvo I prefer to take the seats in very first row, because those seats have the best view but this time I was perfectly in the middle row on Seat No. 23.
Bus departed around 18.05hrs and the journey started. I have travelled in volvo before but this was first Shivneri ride. The traffic was so heavy that it took 19.30hrs to reach Vashi, the last boarding point. And then bus entered on expressway. Feeling good, the bus also had gained the speed and momentum. Around 20.25hrs we were at the Lonavala Food Plaza. After 20.minutes we again hit the Expressway and started traveling towards Pune. As were were around Malavli, some heavy showers occured. Watching showers from window of an AC full packed Volvo bus is always fun. The showers were so heavy that the fog totally covered the windshield. But still the speed was maintained. And after sometime we were out of that rainy patch. Finally around 21.40hrs we were at Hinjewadi chowk and at 22.15hrs, I got off the bus. So it took me 4 hours 10 minute from the possibly most comfortable medium between these two cities.
Now a question arises in my mind. If I had travelled by train both sides, I should have saved 2 hours. I thought Shivneri will go faster so I spend so much money and travelled in it. But the time it took was similar to the morning time. So what is the use of Pune Mumbai Expressway then? 4 hours for 170kms?
Now beside if we look at other part, Deccan Queen, Pragati Express and Intercity Express take only 3 hours both ways. Even though it travels into one of the most congested train systems of the world, it still manages to get ontime. Yesterday, It was ok that my schedule didn’t got fit into these train timings, but the road transport took 2 hours of extra time.
Its ok there is huge traffic on the roads of Mumbai. Imagine If we can have another Intercity train from Mumbai to Pune after Deccan Queen, which will be 15 mins faster than Deccan Queen… Then yesterday I could have make it 1.15 hrs earlier to home. Yes it is difficult due to congestion. But if Railways can start a full ac train which can travel to mumbai in 2.50hrs and cost less than shivneri, then I think ST will lose a lot of business. I think this imaginary premium train should become reality.
It will make it easier to travel faster, cheap and comfortable. Although we have an Expressway, ST fails to be efficient on this route. Yes, there is no other options sometimes. But yes ST needs to come up with something. On the other hand Railways is the best medium and most efficient medium of travel on this route. The only problem is the timing. If you miss it you lose it.
So, I think in coming future #IndianRailway should think of such train which I have mentioned above. And ST is helpless due to traffic. So From next time my first preference will always be to Railways on this Mumbai – Pune route.
I hope we will find some Effective measures to become efficient..
In the end 16th November was a memorable day filled with a lot of new experiences…
( Due to low mobile battery, I was not able to capture much images yesterday. I hope to carry a camera next time I will be on a tour.)