The city’s double-decker, open-top bus service is cruising, racking up record passenger numbers as an increasing number of visitors seek to see the city from on high.
Busan rolled out the City Tour Bus service in 2006, hoping to offer tourists an easy, cost-efficient way to visit local sites and attractions. As part of a move to enhance the service, the city introduced an open-top, double-decker bus in May.
The newest bus is proving to be a big hit with tourists, increasing ridership in general. According to Busan Tour Development Co., Ltd, the organization that operates the bus service, passenger numbers soared 89 percent in June from the same month last year, reaching 11,096 riders versus 5,881 during the same period in 2009.
The agency also said ridership increased in May by 76 percent from the previous year, totaling 15,069 passengers.
Busan Tour Development said much of this growth is tied directly to the new open-top bus, which allows tourists to soak up some sun while traveling around town.
The city’s new open-top, double-decker bus has become a tourist attraction in itself.
“Despite the fact that the weather wasn’t very good and it rained frequently, the increase in passengers is more than we expected,” said an official from the organization that operates the bus.
In fact, the entire 47-seat second level of the open-top, double-decker bus has been filled to capacity every weekend.
Roughly 25 to 30 percent of riders on the bus arrived in Busan via the KTX high-speed train or were part of larger groups, highlighting the appeal of the service.
Now that the summer is in full force, officials expect the open-top bus to become even more popular. With that in mind, Busan Tour Development is considering adding two additional open-top, double-decker buses to the fleet next year.
The most popular routes include the Haeundae Course and the Taejongdae Course, which travel along the coast and presents great views of Gwangan Bridge, Namhang Bridge and Dongsam-dong Jungli road. The Eco-tour Course is popular among families, as it visits the Eulsukdo area. Lastly, the Downtown Course gives visitors a feel for the city rather than the beaches and sea.
The bus offers 50 percent discounts for families that have more than three children and hold a “multichildren” pass.
The normal price is 10,000 won ($8) for adults and 5,000 won for children.