Good news for tourists visiting Mumbai, they may soon have the luxury of tasting wines produced in Maharashtra along with musical entertainment on new air-conditioned open deck buses that will offer a 'hop-on, hop-off' (Ho-Ho) service.
It is being designed on the lines of the Ho-Ho bus tour of London to enable tourists to visit prominent destinations across the city at their convenience and catch a bus every 20-30 minutes using a single card.
The proposed bus service is a joint venture between Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and BEST. In the first phase, this service will be offered to and from the Gateway of India.
"We are app lying for a licence for wine, not hard liquor. Considering that the state is one of largest wine producers in the country, we need to showcase our manufacturing prowess and market our famous delicacies here by offering them as snacks. We will do all this strictly within the framework of law," said MTDC managing director Paraag Jain Nainuttiya
Sources said the bus may also have an option to pick up tourists at stops near five-star hotels. "This will also generate more revenue for the cash-strapped (BEST) undertaking while ensuring our fleet of AC buses is put to good use,"' said an official from BEST transport wing.
Meanwhile, five big Volvo buses MTDC had bought two years ago are being plied on Konkan route from Mumbai and have been outsourced to a bus operator called Purple. "Those buses are long and heavy and can't be plied on narrow roads inside the city. Under the new Ho-Ho service, initially BEST will run its five-six AC buses and eventually MTDC has plans to buy 11 new buses. The pick-up points, starting date and fares are being worked out based on costing for maintenance, fuel prices in the international market and labour charges," Jain added.