Two double-decker buses, which will be inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, will initially be used for ‘Puja Parikrama’. They will then be used for a city tour.
The buses will be maintained and operated by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC). Though originally bought by West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC), the buses were transferred to WBTDC following the decision at the highest level in the government. The drivers and conductors, however, will be supplied by WBTC.
“We have thought of engaging the buses in Puja Parikrama before they are used for city tours on a long-term basis. However, everything will be decided tomorrow after the inauguration. The CM’s advice and instruction will be sought for its optimum use,” said a WBTDC officer. These buses, which have CCTV cameras and panic buttons as the latest safety features, were built by Jamshedpur-based BEBCO.
In 2005, the Left Front government had scrapped the fuel-guzzler double-deckers. But after coming to power, Mamata Banerjee wanted to revive the city’s lost icon. However, the transport department found that double-deckers being manufactured by Ashok Leyland don’t comply with the emission standard. Thereafter, WBTC got the design approved by the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT).
The future of double-deckers hinges on the successful trial run of these two buses.