Mumbai: The attempt of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to start Hop On, Hop Off (Ho-Ho), the new Mumbai darshan tourist bus service has been delayed due to the unavailability of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to inaugurate it.
Officials of MTDC fear that they have lost out on the Diwali vacation period when they could profit. Now, the corporation may also lose the Christmas and New Year season. MTDC has 11 such buses in service waiting to start at tourist spots across Mumbai. An official from the tourism department said, “Tourist season goes by without the inauguration then the MTDC will have to wait till April-May for the summer vacation to encash on the tourist season then. There was no point in launching the service in off-season for tourists as it will fail to attract any publicity,” he said.
The concept of the Ho-Ho bus is that a tourist intending to have a Mumbai darshan can hop on to a bus at its starting point at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and enjoy a day’s ride, getting off at the tourist spots along the route for sight-seeing and then boarding the next bus on to the next tourist spot, without worrying about missing the bus. The end point of the bus service is Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali.
The bus route covers 25 tourist spots along the route and has a total seating capacity of 45 people, 24 on the lower deck and 21 on the upper deck. Tourists can enjoy the ride from the upper deck of the bus that has a restaurant-cum-viewing gallery. Half of the upper deck of the bus is covered and air-conditioned, while the other half of the front portion will be open to the sky.
Sources said that the MTDC has spent about Rs 75 lakh in decorating the bus with wooden-type flooring, carpeted staircase, LED TV and speaker system, guide facility, biochemical toilet on the lower deck and lounge type seating on the upper deck. Sources added the average per head ticket cost is expected to be around Rs 450 to Rs 500.