Kolkata’s double-decker buses are all set to make a comeback. Reportedly, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be unveiling two open-roof double-decker buses today. Officials in the know-how stated that these buses have been introduced to boost tourism and make Durga Puja a memorable experience for visitors.

However, initially, these buses will be used only for puja parikrama, and will later be used for tourism purposes. The famous buses were first introduced in the 1920s, and were gradually phased out in the early 1990s. The last double-decker bus went off city roads in 2005. Mamata Banerjee, after coming to power in 2011, then directed the transport department to bring back the iconic buses. Reportedly, the buses phased out because they consumed a lot of fuel, and hence, were deemed uneconomical.

Now, as per an official from the transport department, these buses will be used for hop-on-hop-off tours later on and will be used only for pandal hopping and puja parikrama. As per the government, the vehicles are not meant for public transport, and will be used to boost tourism by offering hop-on and hop-off tours for those who want to go sightseeing around the city.

The new double-decker buses will come equipped with destination boards, automatic doors, CCTV cameras, and panic buttons. While the old buses had two doors, the new ones will have just one door.

The buses will be operated and maintained by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC). Though the buses were originally bought by the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC), the buses were transferred to WBTDC following the decision at the upper level in the government.

The future of double-deckers will, however, depend on the successful trial run of these two double-decker buses.

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