City Sightseeing New Orleans, the operator of a fleet of bright red double-decker buses that ferry passengers on sightseeing tours around New Orleans, has acquired its lone competitor, New Orleans Bus Vision.
Details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Over the past two years, the companies’ buses have become familiar sights in the French Quarter and Central Business District and on Magazine Street, where colorful signs indicate places where passengers can get on and off.
The Warwickshire, England-based City Sightseeing began operating in New Orleans in September 2012. The local franchise is co-owned by hoteliers Michael Valentino and Warren Reuther.
The service allows riders to buy a day pass and get on and off one of the company’s five open-top buses at sites near various tourist attractions, including the French Market and the National World War II Museum.
New Orleans Bus Vision, a local franchise of Madrid-based Bus Vision, began operating a similar service with two buses in early 2013. Telephone calls to the local Bus Vision office Friday were met with a recorded message advising that the company is “currently not operating until further notice.”
New Orleans still appears on Bus Vision’s corporate site, and it is still possible to book tours online there.
Details about future plans for the merged companies were not available Friday.
Intorbus of New Orleans, the registered agent of Bus Vision, renewed two certificates of public necessity and convenience, or CPNCs, the permits required to operate a for-hire vehicle in New Orleans, earlier this month, city records show. The permits were renewed around the same time that a filing was made with the Secretary of State’s Office adding Valentino as Intorbus’ manager.
Last year, the city capped the number of double-decker, open-top buses allowed to operate in New Orleans at seven as officials examined the impact of the large vehicles on residents and streets.
Some residents of the Vieux Carre had expressed concern about the buses moving through residential areas, instead of on major streets, and using amplification systems during tours.