The iconic double-decker buses are set to make a comeback to the streets in West Bengal as the state transport department has decided to reintroduce the buses on city roads. According to a senior official, the new double-decker buses will hit the roads in March. The bus bodies have been designed in-house by the transport department and two of these are being readied for service, West Bengal Transport secretary NS Nigam said.
"These will be open roof and if the design is successful, we can look at the options of making more such buses," he said.
He said that two open roof double-decker buses will be used for tourist services. "We have to develop them as there is no standard design, we have developed our own design," Nigam said when asked whether double-decker buses will be introduced for public transportation on city routes.
Nigam said that after the introduction of open roof buses, the transport department will try to develop the design of bodies of these buses more to take the project forward for public transportation.
Double-decker buses had made it to the city roads during the Raj era and the red and white-coloured behemoths had been part of Kolkata's public transportation till the mid-1990s before these were phased out owing to high maintenance costs.
The Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC), which is now known as WBTC following the merger of three state transport undertakings, also used to run trailer double-deckers in a few routes, with the most popular being the iconic L-9.
The only city in the country that now has double-decker buses in its public transportation fleet is Mumbai, with transporter BEST plying around 50 of these at present.