Return of the double-deckers: 3 e-buses launched before Hyderabad E-Prix, 3 more to arrive soon

The e-double-deckers will be used on the heritage circuit to boost tourism in Hyderabad after the Formula E race.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Feb 07, 2023 | 8:57 PM Updated Feb 08, 2023 | 4:23 PM

Double-decker electric-buses launched in Hyderabad.

Three double-decker electric-buses arrived in Hyderabad on Tuesday, 7 February, at a time when the city is observing E-mobility week, ahead of the Formula E-Prix scheduled on 11 February.

Till the race, the buses will ply on the Formula E race track on the Tank Bund, Necklace Road, Paradise and Nizam College stretch, Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) PRO B Ramulu told South First.

After the race, the e-buses will be used on a heritage circuit to give tourism a boost in the city, he added.

The buses are expected take a leisurely drive on city roads as they take tourists to major Hyderabad attractions, such as the Golconda fort, Charminar, Hussain Sagar, the Qutub Shahi Tombs, and the Salar Jung Museum, among others.

The buses were flagged off by Telangana Chief Secretary A Santhi Kumar in the presence of Telangana IT & Urban Affairs Minister KT Rama Rao and Chandrayangutta MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi.

The return of the double-deckers will likely evoke nostalgia among the city’s older residents.

Till 2003, double-deckers were very much a party of Hyderabad’s public transport, although they were not e-vehicles. They were phased out that year.

Also read: Hyderabad E-Prix racecars, parts arrives at GMR Hyderabad

3 more e-double-deckers to arrive soon

The HMDA had placed an order for six electric double-decker e-buses. While three e-buses have arrived, the HMDA said the remaining three buses are also expected to arrive soon.

Inside view of the double-decker bus launched in Hyderabad

Inside view of the double-decker bus launched in Hyderabad. (Supplied)

According to sources, the HMDA plans to extend the fleet of electric double-decker buses to 20.

The HMDA said that the price of each e-bus is ₹2.16 crore and comes with an Annual Maintenance Contact (AMC) for seven years.

Apart from the driver, the AC buses have a seating capacity of 65 passengers and seats are as comfortable as those of cars.

With a range of 150 km on a single charge, these electric double-decker buses can be charged completely in two to two-and-a-half hours.

The fare would be comparable to, or marginally higher than, the Hyderabad Metro’s ₹65 maximum ticket price, South First has learnt.

The sources added that the booking counters, including parking facilities, would be at the NTR Garden and Sanjeevaiah Park.

Also read: E-Prix in India starts with Hyderabad E-Mobility Week

A bit of double-decker history

The double-decker buses were first introduced in 1946 by the Nizam’s Transport Services during the reign of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

A set of 30 Albion CX 19 models was brought from England to Hyderabad at that time.

The 56-seater buses were shipped by sea in a knocked-down state, and Hyderabad Allwyn Metal Works Limited put them back together in the city.

The buses operated in Hyderabad along several routes, including between Secunderabad and Rajendranagar’s Nehru Zoological Park, Nampally and Charminar, and Mehdipatnam and Dilsukhnagar.

They were phased out in 2003 due to the construction of flyovers, mounting losses, and high operating costs.