Welcome back double-deckers: Looking from the top, how it gave a high to many true blue Hyderabadis

Minister for Municipal Administration K T Rama Rao took the initiative to get the double-decker buses back on the city roads

Welcome back double-deckers: Looking from the top, how it gave a high to many true blue Hyderabadis

HYDERABAD: It’s a pleasure watching the city while moving on a higher altitude. But an aircraft doesn’t give a high on looking down as you move up and up while the objects on the earth keep diminishing.

Metro rail, to some extent, makes it pleasurable to watch from the windows into the city. But what if we move on the road and can still be at a superior height?

Hyderabadis were blessed with that pleasure for a long time thanks to the introduction of double-decker buses in the days of yore. However, they were discontinued in the early 2000s owing to urbanisation and many other constraints.

Minister for Municipal Administration K T Rama Rao took the initiative to get the double-decker buses back on the city roads. They are run with electric batteries. Soon there would be about 25 plying on the roads.

What some true blue Hyderabadis feel about the double-decker buses and their nostalgic experiences about them. NewsTAP tried to elicit the view of some of them.

A true blue Hyderabadi by all means, having been born and brought up in the city, Commissioner of City Police C V Anand has fond memories of the double-decker buses. Expressing happiness over the reintroduction of the double-decker buses on the city roads, Anand shared his experience.

Anand said, “In my remembrance and memory, it was as early as 1972 when my mom used to get onto it with me, when I was around 4 or 5, at the Saifabad bus stop to go to various places in the city . I always used to force her to go to the top deck and I used to sit in the front seat to get the best view.”

Retired Resident Editor of ‘The Hindu’ Dasu Kesava Rao recalled, “It was thrilling for us kids to see the city roll backwards under our very feet as we cruised along on the tank bund. We would watch with wonder as the spectacle of Charminar drew nearer and nearer. My maternal uncle or my elder brother used to take me when I was 8 or 9 in 1952-53. That’s the first time I travelled in a double-decker bus.”

Sanjaya Baru, media advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a scholar and former Editor of Economic Times and many other publications is a Hyderabadi in letter and also spirit.

Dr Baru told NewsTAP, “Till 1969 we used to live in Himayat Nagar. The nearest bus stop for a double decker bus was Liberty. I think it was RTC Route no. 7. From Charminar or Kothi to Secunderabad Station, via Tank Bund. In the 1950s, when I was very young, my mother used to take us for a ride on this bus just for a fun ride. In the 1960s we would take the same bus to go see a cinema in Plaza, Tivoli or Dreamland. Walk from home to Liberty and again walk from Monty's to the theatre! It was great fun!”

On September 9, Dr Mohan Guruswamy, Economic Advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote on his Facebook page, “I hear the double decker buses are going to be back in Hyderabad and Secunderabad soon. My regular was the No.7 from Secunderabad station to Afzalganj. I used to take it from the Clock Tower to Paradise every day till I got a bicycle. My father’s Austin A40 would drop me there at 8.30am. The bus would come roaring from the Wesley Church bend and groan to a halt at AL D’Souza . The conductor used to tug on the bell string and shout the name of the stop. After Clock Tower it was Patny's and then Minerva to Paradise. Four stops and the fare was one Anna or six paise in the beginning. One day I decided to see where it goes and rode all the way to Chairminar from where it doubled back all the way back to Secunderabad station. I held on to my one anna ticket and surrendered it while getting off at Paradise to go to school. The principal, Prof. Ernest Gideon MA(Cantab) administered a caning for coming late. I am sure he would have given me a double if he knew I had cheated the RTC. Prof. Gideon was professor of English in Nizam College and became principal of Wesley Boys High School after retirement. Incidentally, all RTC buses have number plates that end with ‘’Z’’. Interesting story for this. The “Z” in the number plates stands for Zahra Begum, mother of the last ruler of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam VII. In June of 1932 the Nizam's Road Transport was established as a part of Nizam State Rail with 27 buses and 166 employees, and he wanted his mother remembered.”

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