People, Travel

Double-Decker Buses for Tehran Tours

Tehran will add six double-decker buses to its fleet of coaches by March 2017.Tehran will add six double-decker buses to its fleet of coaches by March 2017.

Foreign tourists in Tehran will soon be able to go on sightseeing tours around the sprawling capital city aboard double-decker buses.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ali Rafiei, tourism deputy at Tehran Province’s office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, said the organization plans to buy six buses from an unnamed Swedish automaker by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2017).

“The first bus will join the city’s fleet of tour vehicles in the coming days,” he said, adding that each bus costs approximately 10 billion rials ($286,000), IRNA reported.

The fleet of tour buses in Tehran comprise only two Mercedes-Benz O302s, which stopped production in 1976.

Tourism officials failed to scrap tariffs on bus imports, mainly due to the staunch opposition of officials at the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, who argued that the move would undermine Iranian automakers, which they claimed are capable of meeting the transport needs of the tourism sector.

Tourism officials in the Iranian capital are eying an annual hike of 15% in foreign tourist attraction. Last year, some 1.2 million foreign tourists visited the metropolis, which marked a 12% increase compared with the previous year.

In addition to its museums, art galleries, cafes and shopping centers, Tehran also has beautiful historical palaces.

The city’s expanding metro system and BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) network have eased traveling across the sprawling city, which is home to 12 million people. However, a lack of quality hotels has stymied progress.