So after much iterations over 2 weeks, trying different routes I ended up with the following set of guidelines:
1. Reaching within 1.5 hours on a weekday was next to impossible. If BTM layout won’t get you, the HSR layout flyover construction will. If that also fails, the Bellandur flyover construction will.
2. Given 1, the best way to get to my destination was through the shortest possible paths, bus wise.
3. Given 1 and 2, the shortest route is to take the first available bus towards Kengeri and make my way through the University after bus-swaps and make it to the Nayandahalli junction. From there, take the next bus to work coming from Vijayanagar or a host of other sources.
This meant that if I left at 7:30 in the morning, I would be near the ORR-Mysore junction by 7:50-7:55 and on the bus within a few minutes. The bus still reached around 9:45 or in the extreme best case, by 9:30. This was because of 1. The bottlenecks became bottlenecks pretty early.
4. Given 1, 2 and 3, the only other option was to go the other way around. Cut to KBS(Majestic) and take the Marathahalli bus from there.
This means that everyday I take the normal buses, swapping my way through to Majestic, before taking the Volvo to Marathahalli bridge and a usually very crowded bus from there to work(the last 10 minutes). Majestic can be reached by 8:10 or so and Marathahalli by 9:10-9:15. Buses from there are slower in the morning and I hence am at work by 9:40 after getting down at 9:30. Its a long 10 minutes walk from the bus stop into the tech park. Makes me wonder which nincompoop designed the campus so far inside the ‘campus’!
So far so good. This seems to work for me now. No idea for how long. But will have to do for now.
As per my previous posts, I gave up the route via Banashankari. Considering there is only one bus route with a frequency of one per evening going to my place, the amount of grief and anxiety caused over taking Vijayanagar buses and getting down midway and swapping around in the evening was not worth it. Coupled with all the bottlenecks again, it made for a very long journey. Spending 3-3.5 hours in the bus was definitely a no-go. Or I’d have to leave really early, around 4:30ish. That did not make much sense to me, considering the time I got in.
I now leave at around 5 PM and take the first bus to Marathahalli bridge, and from there there’s 333T which takes me directly home in less than 2 hours, through peak hour traffic! Am usually home before 7:30 PM. I wish I could use this bus every morning, but the late start for the bus, coupled with its terrible punctuality rate makes it a bad option.
That now adds up to around 4.5 hours of travelling on average and 7.5 hours of working. So I leave at just before 7:30 AM and reach home just before 7:30 PM. So far this seems like a workable solution. (I can already see some people jumping around saying how I could possibly consider that workable, but trust me folks!!)
The time in the bus is spent browsing and tweeting with some really good 3G from Airtel, and reading. Morning time is a lot more difficult considering the amount of bus-swapping I tend to do, but evenings are a lot more peaceful. The 2 hours of uninterrupted bus-time is spent reading a book, tweeting, browsing, reading and answering emails, and games. Considering the noise and dust-free experience in the Volvo buses that’s 2 hours of quality time which I’ve started looking forward to everyday now! Mornings I wish I could do something more productive, but I fear risking my eyes reading in moving vehicles too much. Plus watching Bangalore as it wakes up and goes about its day is too compelling! Its interesting watching the two worlds collide – the office-goers hurrying along in formals on bikes and the elderly starting another day in their retired lives with power walks and chats over coffee (I still believe there’s a pensioners’ city hidden inside the hustle and bustle, and one reason I’ll never live in any of the newer BTM layout-Sarjapur type areas).
Thursdays are drive-to-work days considering that I have a meeting at 7:30 in the morning. Works great for me as am in by 7:30 after leaving at 6:45 and can leave by 4:30 and back home by 5:30 (which is usually a projected time, but never happens considering that I travel through Basavanagudi and Gandhi Bazaar, and its hard to pass through without taking a break :))
Worry is, I shouldn’t get too addicted to the long commute. There’s also the factor of spending only 7.5 hours at work! This usually means I try to squeeze as much as possible in those 7.5 hours. No unnecessary browsing during work, no long breaks talking to people, trying to be as efficient as possible. Need to see how long that works.