Hyderabad’s iconic double-decker buses, first introduced in 1946 by the Nizam’s Transport Services during the era of Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan, are making a comeback in an electric form. The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) plans to launch the new buses in a couple of days. The six double-decker buses, costing INR 2 crore each, are both eco-friendly and energy-efficient. The 65-seater buses will take passengers to major tourist attractions like the Golconda Fort, Charminar, Hussainsagar, Qutub Shahi Tombs, and more. The buses will operate before the Formula E race on February 11, in order to draw global attention.
The interiors of the AC buses are as comfortable as cars, with lightweight cushioning on each seat. The HMDA is in the process of determining the bus fare, which is expected to be comparable to or higher than the INR 65 maximum ticket price of the Hyderabad Metro. The buses will be operated by private drivers hired by the HMDA, and are expected to be durable enough to run for 12-14 hours despite the challenging road conditions in the city. Booking counters and parking facilities will be available at the NTR Garden and Sanjeevaiah Park.
Double-decker buses were once a common sight in Hyderabad but were phased out in 2003 due to the construction of flyovers, mounting losses, and high operating costs. With the revival of these buses, the HMDA hopes to recapture the charm of riding on the upper deck, with added features such as comfortable interiors and exteriors, easy boarding and alighting, safety, reliability, and durability. The HMDA will purchase the buses and manage and operate them, with a conditional two-year or two-lakh km warranty and a five-year annual maintenance contract, in compliance with the Central Motor Vehicle Rules and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) requirements.