The Children’s laughter and chatter grow as the luxury bus rolls from Qutab Minar. The next stop is Lotus Temple for the bus, begun initially as part of a fleet to ferry tourists for the Commonwealth Games and now a well utilised vehicle for educational and leisure tours of the city for various groups.
Once every child has boarded the blue-coloured Hop On-Hop Off bus of Delhi Tourism, the Guest Relations Executive turns on the music and the children pull out cold drinks from an icebox as the bus moves on towards the next stop.
The HOHO service has shifted gears and now also ferries individual and institutional groups looking for personalised transport for their own events. And the luxurious, air-conditioned buses, equipped with amenities like flat-screens and music system have become quite popular with Delhiites looking for a dekko.
Ravi Kalra, who runs a school for underprivileged students in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, agreed.
‘Recently, we took our students on a picnic on a HOHO bus. It was the first trip these children had ever made and the service made it memorable,’ Kalra said.
The quality of the bus and friendly staff are the main draw of the service, and when Pawan Mishra of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D), had to fix up a city tour for his fellow M.Sc. students, he took a HOHO bus.
‘We were 34 students on the bus and the journey itself was as fun as the various attractions we visited,’ Mishra said.
‘From parties-on-the-move to school trips, we host everything on our buses,’ HOHO official Abhishek Khairwal said.
A HOHO bus can be hired at Rs 11,000 for a day, while it costs Rs 7,000 for a half day booking. Passengers can create their own itinerary or go along with HOHO’s set route.