It’s the end of the road for the fleet of vintage British double-decker buses in Victoria.

Gray Line Sightseeing Victoria’s Hop-on, Hop-Off Tour will be replacing the eight original buses for newer model buses.

“The maintenance department works really hard to keep them on the road but we’re just at a point now where we just can’t keep them on the roads on a consistent basis,” explains John Wilson, president and CEO of Wilson’s Transportation.

The eight vintage buses were formerly used on the streets London, England and one was built as early as 1959. The buses replacing them are fuel-efficient Enviro 400 vehicles.

“From a distance, you can’t even tell they’re new buses really,” adds Wilson. “You’ll certainly be able to tell from the environmental standards and the comfort on board as well.”

The Enviro 400 buses meet the highest stands for allowable emissions, said Wilson.

He says engine and exhaust problems have increased and only added to the need to retire the fleet.

The vintage layout on top will now have a modern look and seats have been upgraded.

The switch getting mixed reactions from passengers.

“It’s a shame they’re doing it but as you can see it’s mechanically sound so they have to move with the times,” said one passenger.

“It’s not a good decision I think. I read about this [vintage bus] and so we chose [this tour], ” said another rider.

Gray Line bus driver Russ Gilbert says he’s on board with the changeover.

“The positives with the new ones that are coming on board far outweigh the nostalgia of the old units.”

The eight buses won’t disappear forever: Four of them will be put into electric conversion programs in hopes of having them back on the road in a few years, and the rest will be used for parades and special events.

And you may be able to get your own:

“They’re neat products to use for food trucks or something like that so there may be a few that go for sale as well,” said Wilson.

Starting Sat., Oct. 7, all tours will be on the new vehicles.

 

Isabelle Raghem