New open-top London double-decker joins Christchurch fleet

15 January 2014

The growing interest in Christchurch as a tourist destination has prompted a local touring company to bring an open-top double-decker bus over from London.

The new, larger bus will be used by Hassle-Free Tours, which already has a fleet of three double-deckers, to take visitors on sightseeing trips around the city and can seat 59 people on its upper-deck. It has come directly from London where it plied the streets on a popular open-top sightseeing tour there.

A specially imported all-weather large-screen TV is being added to the bus so that passengers can see vision of how Christchurch’s city centre will look once it is rebuilt.

“Open-top bus tours have become very popular in major cities around the world since they first started in London around 60 years ago. When visiting a city, people want to understand the layout, learn a little about the history and see the landmarks and attractions that make the city unique,” says the founder and owner of Hassle-Free Tours, Mark Gilbert.

“We’ve had a fantastic response to our Discover Christchurch open-top tours, particularly since we introduced a hop-on, hop-off option, so the time is right to add another vehicle to our fleet.”

Mr Gilbert says with visitor numbers picking up and the city earning accolades from travel writers across the globe – the New York Times has just named Christchurch as the second best place in the world to visit in 2014 - he expects to see a significant increase in demand for sightseeing tours.

“After a few quiet seasons things are really starting to pick up,” Mr Gilbert says. “We’re beginning to see more tour groups coming through the city and we wanted to be able to give people on those tours a chance to get off their coaches and onto an open-top instead for an essential introduction to Christchurch.

“We’re also anticipating a pick-up in conference market and corporate groups coming to Christchurch so it is important we’re ready for that and can cater for the increased demand for fun and informative sight-seeing tours,’’ Mr Gilbert says.

Hassle-Free is the only company in New Zealand that runs double-decker open-top tours.

Its Discover Christchurch bus tours, which give passengers the option of alighting at The Tannery in Woolston, and at Sumner, depart from outside Canterbury Museum, on the hour, eight times a day.

For more information on Hassle-Free Tours visit them at www.hasslefreetours.co.nz.