The Southern Expressway Bus. SEX Bus.
The Southern Expressway bus is pretty great, but there’s not enough of them. It gets you down south in 90 minutes, but I had to wait three hours in Colombo until one was available. They are scheduled every hour, but in reality it seems more like every 90 minutes. I came at three and the closest bus was at six. So there you go. Even at Rs. 400, it’s still in high demand.
The bus seats like 40 and it’s luxury, as in, A/C, can fall asleep in it, TV. The TV is actually the worst part. They were BLASTING some horrible concert video and it was actually a bit painful. Then it faded out and I slept, then they started blasting it again. Is it to keep the driver awake? I dunno.
When I got off near Unawatuna I hopped on a normal bus and I realized the difference. For one thing, the ‘normal’ bus feels like it’s going 700 times faster, though it’s really not. I think proximity to death magnifies the perception of speed. Second thing is that the normal intercity buses are just a menace. They drive fast on two lane roads, round blind corners, and at night. I have only been able to sleep on these buses when I’m really sleepy, and I usually get woken up by metal to the skull, ie, flopping onto the front seat.
The E01 bus, by contrast, just goes. It could be a train, especially at night. It’s basically a tourist coach, comfortable, fast, whatever. After taking that ride and going back on the normal roads it just makes the usual chaos all the more unbearable. Streets are full of johnnies, for reals.
The buses supposedly leave from Galle and Maharagama at the same time, as per the schedule above. Once ever hour till 9 am, then once ever half hour, then once ever 90 minutes after 3. To check you can call the Maharagama bus stand at 0117706386. They seem rather busy. AFAIK, you need to physically go and reserve a ticket, I’d say hours or a day before. A reservation costs Rs. 30. The bus leaves about 15 minutes after the scheduled time, but get there early. It takes about 90 minutes to Galle. You can hop off at the turn if you want to head in the opposite direction.