HOHO bus service may be made permanent

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MYSORE, October 11: Route number ‘100’ — the service of ‘Hop-on Hop-off’ (HOHO) buses — introduced for the first time during Mysore Dasara may be kept in place as a permanent feature, after the festivities conclude.

The service has become popular among tourists as 12 dedicated buses take passengers on 14 select tourist destinations located in and around Mysore. The tourist spots were chosen based on their popularity and visitor density. Launched on an ad hoc basis for tourists’ benefit, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which is operating HOHO buses, is considering regularising the service (at least by pressing in a limited number of buses) post-Dasara, since tourism is a major source of Mysore’s revenue.

Barring AC buses, the regular HOHO buses have also found takers among domestic travellers. However, KSRTC officials here hope that the concept will get more patronage once the people become aware about the special operation.

Tourists can commute by buying a daily pass — silver costs Rs. 60 (regular buses) and gold costs Rs. 100 (AC buses). The buses ply every 15 minutes from the city bus-stand.

KSRTC Divisional Controller (Urban) Ramesh told The Hindu that earlier, people who wished to visit Uttanahalli temple (near Chamundi Hills) after the visiting the temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari atop the hills, had to return to the city bus-stand and board another bus to Uttanahalli. Thanks to the new service, they can visit Uttanahalli from Chamundi hills directly.

It is curious that despite Mysore’s reputation as a tourist hub, there are no dedicated bus services in place, leaving tourists to catch taxis or autorickshaws. HOHO buses can capitalise on this void if regularised, reducing tourist dependence on taxis.

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