From 282 passengers in February to 1,498 from May 1 to 27, rooftop travel becomes a favourite activity
Mysore/Mysuru: A steady stream of tourists coming to the city, especially during weekends and holidays, has popularised the ‘Ambaari’ double-decker hop-on and hop-off tourist bus trips. The bus provides a new platform for experiencing and exploring the royal city’s heritage wonders.
The bus service, initiated by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), was gathering dust with no response post-COVID though it was launched with much fanfare. The decision to shift the bus stop from the KSTDC Office (Hotel Mayura Hoysala) on JLB Road to the Mysore Palace South Gate for more visibility has made all the difference.
KSTDC Managing Director G. Jagadeesha, who has the experience of serving the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), feeling the pulse of the people took a decision to shift the bus parking facility from JLB Road to Mysore Palace. He also reduced the fare from Rs. 250 to Rs. 150.
Now, many tourists, who come to the Palace, see the bus parked at South Gate, enquire about the city trips and buy tickets from the KSTDC staff present there.
KSTDC officers told SOM that ever since the bus service was shifted to Palace South Gate on 12.2.2022, the response has been great. Palace South Gate is an ideal location for the bus as tourists who come there can see the bus, enticing them to go on city rounds. While one bus leaves the place for the city tour, another bus comes there immediately and trips are rotated, officers said.
Of the six Ambaari buses stationed in Mysuru, only two operate the tours. “We are ready to add more buses to the fleet depending on the response,” they said. From Feb. 12 to Feb. 28, a total of 282 tourists boarded the bus and in March, the number went up to 774. The month of April saw 1,170 persons opting for the city tour and from May 1 till May 28, a total of 1,498 tourists have enjoyed the bus ride.
From Feb. 12 till May 27, a total of 3,724 people have taken the bus service, yielding an income of Rs. 5,58,600 for KSTDC. “There is a huge demand for 20 rooftop seats out of the 40 total seats in the bus and there are no takers for other seats. Weekends see extra demand and the demand peaks from 4 pm as it is summer time now,” officers said.
The bus covers a distance of 25 kilometres in 90 minutes showing the tourists important landmarks through an audio guide. “Only a couple of destinations are skipped due to safety issues like crossing the railway gate where electric trains pass. We cannot take the risk as it is a double-decker bus and there are overhead power cables,” officers added.