The bus service from London, England to Calcutta, India (now Kolkata) is considered to be the longest bus route in the world.[1][2][3] The service, which was started in 1957, was routed to India via Belgium, Yugoslavia and North Western India.[4] This route is also known as the Hippie Route. According to the reports, it took about 50 days for the bus to reach Calcutta from London. The voyage was over 10,000 miles (16,100 km) one way and 32669 km (20300 miles) for the round trip. It was in service until 1976.[5] The cost of the trip one-way was £85 in 1957 and £145 in 1973. This amount includes food, travel and accommodation.[3]

Route

The bus service was operated by Albert Travel.[6] The maiden travel began in London on April 15, 1957. The first service ended on June 5 in Kolkata. That is, it takes about 50 days to complete the journey. The countries the bus traveled during its journey: from England to Belgium, and from there to India via West Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Western India. After entering India, it eventually reached Calcutta via New Delhi, Agra, Allahabad and Banaras.[5]

Facilities on the bus

The trip was equipped with reading facilities, separate sleeping bunks for everyone, and fan-operated heaters. There was a kitchen with all equipment and amenities. There was a forward observation lounge on the upper deck of the bus. The trip was more like a tour than just a trip. The bus provided radio and music system for parties.[1] It had time to spend at major tourist destinations along the way, including Banaras and the Taj Mahal on the banks of the Yamuna. Shopping was also allowed in Tehran, Salzburg, Kabul, Istanbul and Vienna.[3][7]

Later history

After some years the bus met with an accident and became unusable. Later the bus was purchased by Andy Stewart, a British traveler. He rebuilt it to be a double-decker mobile home, which marked the beginning of the bus’s next journey. The double-decker was renamed as Albert and was traveled from Sydney to London via India on October 8, 1968. It took about 132 days for the bus to reach London. Albert Tours was a company based in England and Australia and it operated on London–Calcutta–London and London–Calcutta–Sydney routes.[8]

The bus reached India through Iran and then it traveled to Singapore through Burma, Thailand and Malaysia. From Singapore, the bus was transported to Perth in Australia by ship, and from there it traveled by road to Sydney.[9][10] The charge for this service from London to Calcutta was £145. The service had all the modern facilities as before. The bus service was discontinued in 1976 due to the problems in Iran and the escalation of tensions between Pakistan and India.[11] It is reported that the Albert Tours completed about 15 trips between Kolkata to London and again from London to Sydney, before the service ended permanently.[12]

References

  1. “This Was ‘World’s Longest Bus Route’ From Kolkata To London”. Curly Tales. 2020-07-06. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  2. “A Bus Ride From London to Kolkata in 1950s? Yes, The Viral Photo is Real”. News18. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  3. Civic Affairs. P. C. Kapoor at the Citizen Press. 1957.
  4. “London Calcutta Bus Trip 1957 london India Editorial Stock Photo – Stock Image | Shutterstock”. Shutterstock Editorial. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  5. “Samayam”. malayalam.samayam.com.
  6. “London to Calcutta by Road? Picture of 1950s Albert Travel Bus Service is Going Viral, Know Details About This Fascinating Historic Journey”. Unique News Online. 2020-07-02. Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  7. admin (2020-07-04). “ലണ്ടൻ – കൽക്കട്ട ബസ് റൂട്ട്”. News Kerala online. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  8. Eat, Tech Travel (2020-07-03). “ലണ്ടനിൽ നിന്നും ഇന്ത്യയിലെ കൽക്കട്ടയിലേക്ക് ഒരു ബസ് സർവ്വീസ്”. Technology & Travel Blog from India. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  9. “ലണ്ടനിൽ നിന്നു കൽക്കട്ടയിലെത്തിയ ഇന്ത്യാ മാന്‍…”ManoramaOnline (in Malayalam). Retrieved 2020-07-31. INGALIS, LEONARD (1957-08-08).
  10. “London-Calcutta Bus is back in London – Owner drove passengers 20,300 Miles”. The New York Times. K, Noushad K.
  11. “ലണ്ടൻ – കൽക്കട്ട ബസ്”. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  12. “Kolkata, Then Calcutta, Once Had The World’s Longest Bus Route All The Way Till London!”. Whats Hot. Retrieved 2020-07-31.

Resource: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/London%E2%80%93Calcutta_bus_service

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