After Mysore, it will soon be Bangalore’s turn to enjoy better connectivity to some major tourist spots in the city. Following the example of KSRTC’s hop-on hop-off (HOHO) services in the City of Palaces, BMTC plans to repackage its tourist service, ‘Bangalore Rounds’, early next year.
At present, Bangalore Rounds operates just one bus, which covers 11 places. Beginning and ending at Kempegowda bus station, it covers places such as the ISKCON Temple, Vidhana Soudha, Tipu’s Palace, Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple, Bull Temple, Lal Bagh, Karnataka Silk Emporium, Ulsoor Lake and Visvesvaraya Museum. The service, which began in 2005-06, sees about 25-30 passengers a day with patronage picking up over the weekends.
The repackaged HOHO service, which includes more buses and places, will give commuters a choice of over 25 destinations and freedom to spend as much time as they want at a particular destination. More tourist spots could be added by BMTC if the services pick up.
“Initially we had planned three buses for the HOHO services. But we wanted to provide buses at a frequency of 30 minutes, and this was not possible as an entire round of the 22 places we had earmarked would take about 4.5 hours (60.4 km). Hence, we have decided to add four more buses,” said Kumar Pushkar, director-IT, BMTC.
The destinations will include religious sites, malls, heritage locations and other places of historical importance. The places were chosen after meetings with the Tourism Department and KSTDC. The bus tickets are expected to cost `300 per person and are valid on all HOHO buses.
“The idea of the HOHO service is that commuters can choose the places where they want to spend time. For instance, if they want to visit only temples, they can get off at the first temple, spend time there and take the next bus to go to the next temple. Similarly, if commuters want to visit only malls, they can do so,” Pushkar explained. He said Bangaloreans can use the HOHO buses to cover specific places.
The KSTDC will also be providing training to conductors, who will double as tour guides and provide a brief history and relevance of the tourist spot. Training is expected to begin early January and services will start by the middle of that month.
The buses will be air-conditioned and easily identifiable (white with artwork of various heritage places). LED screens with videos on the tourist spots and revenue through advertisements are also on the cards.