Tuesday 21st June 2022
McGills owned Xplore Dundee began a new open top bus tour of the city at the end of April. I had a ride while visiting Dundee one Sunday last month and am pleased I did. It’s a great ride with friendly drivers, a great commentary containing fascinating information about the city and some great views with unexpected delights.
Two buses new to First Bus in London provide a half hourly daily service between 09:00 and 17:00.
The buses have been reseated with some fairly comfortable seats albeit with the usual weather proofing…
…. even on the lower deck, and painted in a bright Best Impressions designed livery that certainly stands out among the green colours of Dundee’s city bus fleet.
The tour takes around 50 minutes and proceeds at a leisurely pace including short pauses at some of the main stops along the route.
Highlight of the route is the amazing view you get from the area known as Dundee Law.
This landmark is at the highest point of the city – 150 metres/500 feet above sea level – with a history stretching back to volcanic activity 400 million years ago with the name Dundee Law being taken from a Scots name for a prominent hill.
Another novel feature comes at the end of the tour, being a drive over the Tay Road bridge and back again subject to the weather not being inclement.
You get great views of both banks of the Firth of Tay as well as the Tay Rail Bridge always associated with its predecessor’s awful 1879 disaster when it collapsed plunging a train and 75 passengers into the icy water and their tragic deaths.
On a happier note among the other famous Dundee landmarks highlighted in the tour is the office of D C Thomson famous for publishing The Beano comic among other notable publications,
The pre-recorded commentary available through headphones handed out as you board and plugged into sockets by each seat is very engaging and easy to follow ….
…. as is the leaflet which gives details of times, the route and main places of interest.
Ticket prices at £10 for adults (£5 children; £24 families – 2 adults and 3 children; £8 concessions/students/monthly pass holders) are reasonably priced considering they include a hop-on and hop-off facility as well as travel on Xplore Dundee’s bus network for the day too.
The main picking up point and where the layover is taken in between tours is conveniently located at Discovery Point on Riverside Drive close to the station and the V&A where there’s a lay-by and the usual A-boards promoting the tour.
A plentiful supply of leaflets and other promotional literature is available on board the buses too.
It’s good to see a bus company proudly showing off the local heritage and points of interest in the city where it operates which I always think is a nice touch rather than one of the global brands muscling in on the market but I do wonder whether there are enough tourists and ‘footfall’ to make this initiative a commercial success during its operating through the summer until 11th September.
I hope so; it deserves to succeed.
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