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A distinctive double deck English bus is now plying the streets of Christchurch, providing passengers with an opportunity for scheduled city sightseeing tours from ‘on-high’.
Owned and operated by Hassle-free Tours, the bright red bus offers visitors the choice of two ‘Discover Christchurch’ tours each day, visiting key city sights. Tours are three hours in duration and are enhanced by informative commentary throughout.
For some time Mark Gilbert, Managing Director of Hassle-free Tours, had been very keen to introduce a ‘Londoner’ for their Christchurch tours, but it took time to source the right vehicle. “Christchurch is well known for its English history and heritage, so introducing a double deck bus from England reinforces that association. These buses are associated with sightseeing too. Most visitors to London would have seen the highlights of that city from the top deck”, comments Mark.
The Route master vehicle was built in England in 1964 and brought to New Zealand in 1984. The vehicle was sourced from Foxton late last year. It took over six weeks to bring the vehicle up to Hassle-free’s touring standard and this included:
- Sourcing and installing authentic upholstery
- Fresh painting inside and out
- Installation of PA and DVD systems
- New, authentic uniforms for the drivers and conductors
- Gibson ticket machine sourced for issuing authentic tickets
Hassle-free Tours pioneered the conversion of their fleet to bio-diesel and the new double deck bus has also been converted to run on 100% bio-diesel.
The introduction of the double deck bus by Hassle-free Tours represents a significant investment for the business, especially in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake. “It is important for us to keep growing the business and to demonstrate our confidence in Christchurch, particularly since the earthquake”, adds Mark.
Taking up to 60 passengers, the bus has been providing sightseeing tours since Christmas. “It is a real source of fascination around town. As well as our passengers we have members of the public coming up to look at the vehicle and have their photo taken. It has made quite an impression”, concludes Mark.
· Tours depart daily at 10 am and 2 pm.
· The retail price per adult $65. Children and family rates on request
· Further information : http://www.hasslefree.co.nz/pages/30/discover-christchurch.htm