Double-decker buses in new avatar set to bring old allure in Hyderabad
By DECCAN CHRONICLE | Maddy Deekshith
Hyderabad: Hyderabad's fabled double-decker buses, which were introduced by the Nizam's Transport Services during the era of the Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1946, will make a comeback in an electric avatar. The HMDA plans to begin rolling the new double-decker buses out in two or three days.
Six double-decker buses that are both environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, each costing Rs 2 crore, will meander through the crowds as they travel to major tourist attractions, such as the Golconda fort, Charminar, Hussainsagar, Qutub Shahi Tombs, and many others. Interestingly, these 65-seater buses will operate before the Formula E race on February 11 in the city to draw global attention.
Each seat has a lightweight cushion, and the interiors of the AC buses will be as comfortable as those in cars.
A senior HMDA official stated that a slew of meetings were being held to determine the bus fare, but he also hinted that the fare will be comparable to or higher than the Hyderabad Metro's Rs 65 maximum ticket price. Officials believe that setting uniform rates will ensure the project's viability. Since the buses only go to the city's most well-known tourist spots, officials received various recommendations for uniform or destination-to-destination fares.
The HMDA authorities claim that these buses, operated by private drivers hired by HMDA, will be robust and durable enough to operate for 12 to 14 hours despite challenging road and traffic conditions in the city. Booking counters, including parking facilities would be provided at the NTR Garden and Sanjeevaiah Park.
The double-decker buses in shades of green and cherry red that were once a common sight in Hyderabad before they were phased out in 2003 served the transportation needs for six decades and had a special place in the hearts of old-timers. Children would dash up the narrow winding staircase at the bus entrance to snag the best seats on the upper deck and take in the splendour of the city from the lofty vantage point.
The charm of riding in one of these buses was lost to the newer generations as the vehicles were phased out due to the building of flyovers, mounting losses, and high operating costs. After minister K.T. Rama Rao recalled his early years, when he rode the double-decker bus to school, the initiative to revive the buses gained momentum.
With the re-emergence of six double-decker buses, officials hope to resurrect the allure of travelling on the upper deck with more upscale features such as aesthetically pleasing interiors and exteriors, easy boarding and alighting for all passengers, safety, dependability, durability as well as comfort.
The buses will be purchased by HMDA, which will manage and operate them, under a conditional two-year or two-lakh lakh km warranty and a five-year annual maintenance contract (AMC), in accordance with the Central Motor Vehicle Rules and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) requirements.
Double delight: Then
First introduced by the Nizam's Transport Services during the era of Mir Osman Ali Khan
A set of 30 Albion CX 19 models were brought from England to Hyderabad
The 56-seater buses were shipped by sea in various components, and Hyderabad Allwyn Metal Works Limited put them back together in the city.
Double-decker buses once operated several routes including between Secunderabad and Rajendranagar's Nehru Zoological Park.
Phased out in 2003 due to construction of flyovers, mounting losses, and high operating costs.
Double-decker buses can accommodate over 65 passengers.
Will drive to well-known tourist attractions, including Golconda, Charminar, Hussainsagar, Qutub Shahi Tombs, among others.
These buses will operate ahead of Formula E race to draw global attention.
NTR Garden and Sanjeevaiah Park would have ticket counters and parking facilities.