Love steers pride-on-wheels - Cooch Behar?s double-decker bus gets image overhaul

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By MAIN UDDIN CHISTI in Behar
  • Published 16.01.05
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Cooch Behar, Jan. 16: They are not being phased out after all.

Instead, one of the last two remaining double-decker trailer buses has been given a complete makeover by the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC).

The City of Beauty, a name given by Cooch Behar residents, is the only place other than Calcutta that has double-decker buses plying on its streets. Senior citizens here like to describe the double-deckers as ?the most unique feature of the town?.

According to the managing director of NBSTC, G. Namchu: ?The double-decker is a part of the town?s heritage and that is why we have decided not to phase out these vehicles. We have completely overhauled one of them and it is now plying on the route between here and Tufanganj.?

NBSTC sources claim that the first double-deckers were introduced to the fleet in 1961 when the corporation acquired four such vehicles.

The buses had created tremendous enthusiasm at that time with everyone making a beeline for a ride, especially on the upper deck.

As the double-deckers got popular, the fleet strength was raised to 15 buses.

The profits, however, did not match the popular enthusiasm. The NBSTC soon started feeling the pinch and the double-deckers began to be pulled out of service.

A time came when the NBSTC even contemplated scrapping the entire fleet.

The last two buses, however, were kept on the road because of tremendous pressure from the residents.

The vehicles had to be maintained with great difficulties.

?We have spent around Rs 2.5 lakh to get the bus repaired. There are 90 seats in both tiers and all of them have been fully replaced and upholstered. As the bus travels at a slow pace, office-goers and school students prefer taking the regular buses. However, keeping in mind the sentiments of the residents, who are very attached to these buses, we have decided to keep them running as long as we can,? Namchu said.