Big Bus Tours

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Big Bus Tours
Big Bus Company 10-5-07.jpg
Parent Exponet Private Equity (85%)
Merlin Entertainments (15%)
Commenced operation June 1991
Headquarters London
Service area Abu Dhabi, Budapest, Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Muscat, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, Vienna, Washington, D.C.
Service type Open top bus operator

Big Bus Tours[1] (formerly The Big Bus Company), is an operator of open top bus sightseeing tours founded in London in 1991. The company operates in 20 cities of 11 countries with more than 150 buses around the world.[2] The United States is the country with the largest number of cities with Big Bus Tours service. Typically, Big Bus Tours use open top double-decker buses in burgundy and cream-coloured livery.


Big Bus company kiosk and bus queue at Speakers' Corner, London

The Big Bus Company first started operating in London, England in June 1991 with four buses by the Maybury family. It later expanded to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Philadelphia, and so on.[3]

In May 2007, the Abu Dhabi company the Al Fahim Group purchased a 30% shareholding.[4][5] Big Bus Tours was formed in May 2011 when The Big Bus Company of London merged with the Les Cars Rouges Company of Paris.[6]

In February 2015, the business was sold to Exponet Private Equity.[7][8] In February 2016, Merlin Entertainments bought a 15% shareholding.[9]

Overview of operation[edit]

Buses travel near major landmarks around the town or city it tours. Pre-recorded or live commentary about the landscape is provided through small headphones worn by each passenger. Users may leave the bus and board again without limit (hop-on, hop-off) at special bus stops on a circular route. In large cities, buses go on more than one route. In some cities (such as Hong Kong) some variants of the ride include travelling by boat.[10]

Operations by country[edit]




Big Bus in Hong Kong

On 15 December 2008, The Big Bus Hong Kong was established. With the largest fleet of open-top buses in the city,[11] it serves three sightseeing routes: Hong Kong Island (Red Tour), Kowloon (Blue Tour) and Stanley (Green Tour). The tour offers a wide range of packages which include free travel on the Peak Tram, entry to the Sky Terrace on Victoria Peak, a traditional Sampan ride, and a Star Ferry harbour tour.

In April 2010, The Big Bus Shanghai was established. It operates a fleet of eight Ankais.[12]






 United Arab Emirates[edit]

In 2002, The Big Bus Tours Dubai was established. The buses used are traditional open-top double-decker buses. The tour visits numerous sights throughout the Emirate; including the Wafi Mall, Dubai Creek, Creekside Park, Dubai Museum, The Old Souq, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, Heritage & Diving Village, Dubai Gold Souk, Deira City Centre, Jumeirah Mosque, Souq Madinat Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab, the Palm Dubai Mall, and the Burj Khalifa.[citation needed]

 United Kingdom[edit]

The Big Bus Tours London operates three routes with stops at these tourist destinations: Madame Tussauds, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge, London Eye, Covent Garden, St Paul's Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens.[13][14]


Dennis Condor of Big Bus

Originally, the fleet was built up with former route service double deckers that were converted to open top for a second life. AEC Routemasters, Daimler Fleetlines, Leyland Atlanteans and Leyland Titans were all used during the 1990s. These were replaced by 3-axle Dennis Condors, Leyland Olympians and MCW Metrobuses purchased from Hong Kong. The depot is in Wimbledon.

In 2008, 10 East Lancs Visionaire bodied Volvo B9TLs were purchased. These were followed by 26 Optare Visionaire-bodied Volvo B9TLs and 3-axle Ankais.

 United States[edit]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]