The iconic double decker buses – such an integral part of the city till the 1990s – are now back in Kolkata. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday flagged off the journey from outside Nabanna, the state administrative headquarters.
“The buses will travel through various landmarks and sight-seeing places in Kolkata like Victoria Memorial, Fort William, St John’s Church, BBD Bag, Princep Ghat, Writers’ Buildings, Eden Gardens and many more… new routes will be added, depending on the demand,” said Banerjee. Online booking will start from October 23, to be handled by the state tourism department. Currently, two double decker buses are being introduced in the city, the West Bengal transport department authorities said.
A double decker bus has two storeys or decks, introduced in 1926 by the British in India, which plied through Shyambazar and Kalighat for the first time. Inspired by the popular red London buses, the double decker buses however were unfortunately withdrawn by the former Left Front government as it became “unsuitable for the city traffic” and due to “high maintenance”. By 2005, the last double decker went off the city road. Even the double decker buses in Mumbai are on their way out.
The re-introduction of double decker buses in Kolkata is therefore significant, and brings back the nostalgia of the Kolkata of some decades ago, with upgraded technology.
At the inaugural programme, the chief minister spoke about the investment made by Flipkart Logistics hub that has been working since March and has created employment for many. She also spoke about the setting up of a fresh Amazon Logistics hub in Uluberia, thanking the investors for the initiative and services beneficial for the east and north-eastern areas, calling it a “pujo gift” for many aspirants.