Tourist service gets good response from Palace South Gate
Mysore/Mysuru: The change in location and slashed trip prices have proved a boon to ‘Ambaari‘ double-decker hop-on and hop-off city tourist buses as now on an average 20 to 30 persons are enjoying the tours every day. And the numbers are bound to go up during weekends.
After launching six such refurbished buses — four stationed in Mysuru and two in Hampi — spending crores of rupees, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) was in a fix as there was no expected response from the tourists.
Two waves of COVID, weekend and night curfew and other restrictions including RT-PCR and double-dose vaccination checks at the borders had ruined the prospects of ‘Ambaari’ as there were not many takers from other States, especially Kerala. The bus service had to depend on local tourists who used to come only occasionally.
However, Dasara illumination changed everything and the ‘Ambaari’ trips became extremely popular after 6 pm to see the brightly lit up city and its outskirts. The increased illumination areas and also increased number of days proved a jackpot for ‘Ambaari’.
So much so that people used to line up in front of the KSTDC Office on JLB Road early in the morning to buy tickets. The rooftop seats were in great demand and photos and videos of visitors travelling on the rooftop went viral, only to increase the demand manifold.
After the Dasara season, the tourists began thinning out and one of the buses was parked in the KSTDC Office with the remaining three parked at the Bannimantap KSRTC Depot. The popularity declined as there was no visibility and the bus had only seven to eight visitors during weekends with no takers at all on weekdays.
A ray of hope
Then came COVID third wave and the more potent Omicron variant and once again, ‘Ambaari’ lost its glory. Things started looking up only after G. Jagadeesha, who was the former Commissioner of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), took over as the KSTDC Managing Director.
On a visit to Mysuru, he suggested the KSTDC officers to move the ‘Ambaari’ location to Palace South Gate (near Gun House) so that the bus can be seen by the tourists every time they pass this stretch. Also, the ticket prices were slashed from Rs. 250 to Rs. 150. Arrangements were made to facilitate ticket buying in the bus itself.
These steps have proved beneficial and now on an average 20 to 30 people travel in the bus daily and it has been a week after the bus service was moved to the Palace South Gate. The crowds are expected to surge during weekends and holidays. As of now, only one bus will provide the service and if need be, all the four buses will be put into service depending on the crowd response, officials said.