London-style AC double-decker buses for Kolkata tourism

Kolkata, Oct 17 (IANS) Taking forward Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s promise to make ‘Kolkata into London’, the city authorities will soon introduce two open-deck AC double-decker buses for sightseeing.

‘Two open-deck AC double-decker buses will arrive in the city very soon. They are waiting for shipment in China. Two AC Volvo buses will also arrive,’ Tourism Minister Rachpal Singh told IANS.

‘These buses will be used for tourism. Those who want to tour the top heritage sites and tourist destinations of the city can take the bus ride. City dwellers can also take the ride but it will be strictly for tourism purpose,’ Singh said.

London has a fleet of double decker buses, and runs popular heritage trips on them.

Singh said the tourism department will bring in more such buses if the initiative succeeds. The buses will ply on two routes – one on the northern part of the city and the other on the southern part.

‘The AC double decker buses will tour the various important tourist sites such as the Kali temple in Kalighat, Victoria Memorial, and other important tourist destinations. While the AC Volvo buses will tour heritage sites of north Kolkata such as Rabindranath Tagore’s home Jorasanko Thakurbari, house of Vivekanada, Shovabazar Rajbari (the palace of the erstwhile zamindars of Sovabazar in north Kolkata),’ he said.

The city had double-decker buses which first started plying in 1926. During the Left Front regime in late eighties, 200 double-decker buses were brought to the city but were discarded after some time.

The double-decker buses slowly disappeared from the streets of Kolkata as the authorities said they were not suitable for the city streets.

‘This is our initiative to bring back the lost glory,’ said Singh.