A picture of a bus at the Victoria, Coach Station, London, went viral on social media.
The double-decker bus was known as Albert and his trips covered by it were called Albert Tours. It was the world’s longest bus route ever which had covered 15 trips between UK and India. The single fare between Kolkata and London was 85 pounds (Rs 7,989), which, if compared to the given year, was little too expensive. A report by Central Western Daily says that – Andy Stewart, a British traveller had bought the bus in 1968 to travel from Sydney to London via India.
On October 1968, he had started from Martin Place, Sydney with 13 co-passengers to cover the journey of around 16,000 kms. After covering a long journey of 132 days, he finally entered in London on February 17, 1969. The bus used to travel from England to Sydney via Belgium, West Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, West Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. In India, the double-decker bus covered Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, Benaras and finally Kolkata. Between the journey, Albert halted at many jaw-dropping tourist destinations that included – Golden Horn of Istanbul, the Peacock Throne of Delhi, the Taj Mahal of Agra, Benaras on the Ganges, the Caspian Sea coast, the Blue Danube, the Draconian pass, the Rhine Valley, the Khyber Pass, and Kabul Gorge. Free shopping days were also there in the package at places like New Delhi, Kabul, Istanbul, Tehran, Vienna, Salzburg and many more.
The world of 2020 cannot even for a second think about crossing a single border without scrutiny and formalities, let alone continents. Albert had crossed nearly 150 borders without many scrutinies and had earned the tag of a ‘friendly ambassador’ in all the nation it traversed.
The luxuries of Albert Tours
The fare of 85 pounds in was satisfactory even in the 1960s and ’70s after looking at the luxury one was provided with. The lower deck of the bus had a reading and dining lounge and the upper deck had a forward observation lounge. Also, there was a fully equipped kitchen with all the amenities. For parties, there were arrangements of radio and taped music. For keeping the bus warm, fan heaters were installed inside the bus. The interiors had bright curtains and carpets with individual sleeping bunks.