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Delhi to try global player for better HoHo buses

Delhi to try global player for better HoHo buses

New Delhi:

With its contract with the private operator running Hop-On-Hop-Off (HoHo) buses ending in July this year, Delhi government’s tourism department is mulling to invite global players to run the service in the capital.

Sources said a global tender would soon be called to invite agencies having expertise in running such a facility in other cities of the world to run HoHo bus service in Delhi.

Launched three months before the 2010 Commonwealth Games with 14 buses running at a frequency of 30 minutes, the service failed to live up to the expectations. While the number of buses currently operating has come down to just five, the footfall too has fallen to just about 40-50 people a day.

Though the tourism department had initially planned to procure 25 new buses on its own — some of them double decker with open deck to make it more attractive — and even identified three new routes, sources said the department realised that it was not equipped to run a facility of international standard.

The HoHo service enables tourists to get on and off the bus at different points of their choice. A live commentary is also delivered informing about the site or place in English and Hindi. According to tourism department officials, there are about 35 countries such as Spain (Barcelona and Madrid), United Kingdom (London), United States (Washington DC), Australia (Sydney), Ireland (Dublin), Florence (Italy), and France (Paris) which have a successful HoHo service and Delhi wanted to replicate the same model.

“Delhi has a large number of tourist destinations, some historical and some modern, which cannot be covered by running the facility on just one route. We have worked out three different circuits including one dedicated to 1857 mutiny on which the service would be run. These routes would intersect each other at two-three locations to enable tourists to go to locations of their choice,” said an official, requesting anonymity.

Another official said that the tourism department has also planned to set up interpretation centres, eateries, and recreational activities at some sites, which are under jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India and other agencies like Delhi Development Authority.