Hyderabad: Travelling in a double-decker bus was never to reach your destination fast. For Hyderabadis, it was the ride that mattered. It was the thrill, of running and jumping onto the already slowly rolling, green steel mammoth that mattered. It was the memories and sights that mattered.
Hyderabad’s double-deckers will always be prominent characters in the memories of everyone who has been in the city in those days, when going to Charminar or the zoo park was not about bundling into an Ola or Uber, which were unheard of then, but of waiting with anticipated breath somewhere in Secunderabad mostly, for the green-painted bus rumbling around the corner with the iconic destination board and number, 7Z or 5C, to mention a couple of route numbers.
Though high maintenance costs and difficulty to find spare parts forced officials to phase these buses out, public demand is likely to bring them, at least as a tourist service, back onto the roads of Hyderabad. The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) is already checking out the possibilities, according to officials.
The ball was set rolling by a few on social media who tagged IT Minister KT Rama Rao. A Twitter user, Shaker Hussain, tweeted a photo of the iconic green ‘7Z’ bus trundling along Tank Bund and tagged Rao. The picture triggered nostalgia for Rao, who went down memory lane on Saturday morning, tweeting how he has ‘many fond memories of riding the double-decker bus on his way to St. George’s Grammar School at Abids’.
I have many fond memories of riding the double decker bus on my way to St. George’s Grammar School at Abids 😊
— KTR (@KTRTRS) November 7, 2020
“Not sure why they were taken off the roads. Any chance we can bring them back?” he asked, tagging Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar.
The Minister responded, saying “Sure Sir KTR garu. I shall talk to the MD, TSRTC, on the possibility of double decker buses on Hyderabad roads.” (sic)
Officials said the return of the double-decker was not impossible and in fact, though there were flyovers and Metro routes that could be tough for the tall boy to pass through, there still were routes on which they could be operated. According to officials, Hyderabad had double-decker buses plying its streets even before the Independence. Around 50 such buses were operated till they were phased out in the early 2000s. One service had made a brief return on the Necklace Road but with not much success.
Mohammed Muqsith, tweeting in response to Rao’s tweet, said: “I have the same memory of a double-decker bus from St. George’s Grammar School. Though I use to travel in an auto, my first picnic from school was to the zoo and they took us in a double-decker bus, my only ride in the double-decker.”
Among the routes, 7Z was functional from Secunderabad to zoo park via Afzalgunj was the most popular.
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