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Double Decker Bus Now Touring Downtown

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Thursday, September 25, 2008, at 07:40AM
First Stop: Olvera Street. Ed Fuentes

Back-Up Bus: A Starline tour bus, soon to have new super graphics, departs from Olvera Street. Downtown tours will begin at 9:30 a.m. and run until 5:30 p.m.

Red double-decker sight-seeing buses are known for being filled with tourists seeking Hollywood stars in their natural habitat (or the occasional busload of locals touring neon lights). Now out-of-towners can "ohh and ahh" at Downtown Los Angeles' new entertainment landmarks, historic buildings and street life.

Granted, Downtown street life may make for an unusual set of prints to send back to family in Ohio, but the new service makes for a good benchmark point: Starline Tours thinks enough of Downtown to put it on their map.

Well, close enough anyway. The new Starline touring map calls the Los Angeles Theater the “L.A. Theater” and lists its address as 808 Chick Hearn Court, where L.A. Live is located. It also claims that the Disney Concert Hall stop is on Lower Grand Avenue, an odd point for sight-seers.

Pesky details aside, yesterday’s ceremonial first bumpy run is considered a milestone for Downtown tourism, offering “Hop-On-Hop-Off” arrivals and departures from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the 70 minute run.

Voice-over narration will give trivia between the thirteen stops that include Olvera Street, Civic Center, Little Tokyo, Staples Center, Disney Hall, and the Fashion District. A highlight is expected to be the aforementioned Los Angeles Theater stop, allowing tourists to walk on Broadway and look at the collection of historic theaters from the outside.

Will this impact awareness for Bringing Back Broadway? “Oh man, yes,” says an excited Jose Huizar. “It will introduce the area to visitors, and make a connection between Downtown as an early Hollywood.” Truly, that is an interesting point. Out of town tourists may find Downtown historical factoids interesting, but discovering how long its been a studio back lot will surprise many.

Just as surprised will be locals and Downtown workers who see the red double-decker filled with tourists, snapping pictures of Downtown from a different perspective.

Starline Hollywood Downtown Tour / $30 per person or $90 for a family of five; two-day tickets are $40 per passenger or $125 for two adults and three children.

Update (Friday): As noted in this press release, the double decker tour is free this Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28.

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