Foreign and domestic tourists visiting the city may soon have the luxury of tasting wines produced in Maharashtra along with musical entertainment on new air-conditioned open deck buses that will offer a 'hop-on, hop-off' (Ho-Ho) service. It is being designed on the lines of the Ho-Ho bus tour of London to enable tourists to visit prominent destinations across the city at their convenience and catch a bus every 20-30 minutes using a single card. The proposed bus service is a joint venture between Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and BEST. In the first phase, this service will be offered to and from the Gateway of India.
"We are applying for a licence for wine, not hard liquor. Considering that the state is one of largest wine producers in the country, we need to showcase our manufacturing prowess and market our famous delicacies here by offering them as snacks.
We will do all this strictly within the framework of law," said MTDC managing director Paraag Jain Nainuttiya, adding that if all goes well, the Ho-Ho service could take off in two months.
"Tickets, spots and routes are being worked out considering that buses will continuously ply throughout the day. Tourists will have the luxury of spending time at destinations according to their wish and they can take any of these Ho-Ho buses," he said.â€¬
BEST general manager Jagdish Patil said, "I am in favour of such a tourist-friendly service and have been pursuing the scheme during my previous stint as the managing director of MTDC. We had then proposed to design all the bus stops near tourist destinations and make the Ho-Ho a popular bus service of Mumbai."
It may be recalled that an evening bus that offers food was started on Marine Drive a couple of years ago but is nowhere to be seen today.â€¬