Passengers on Hong Kong bus sleep during 'route to nowhere'

Think of parents taking their children on a car tour to make them sleep. A bus company is applying a similar strategy but for adults.

Most of us will have experienced drifting off to sleep during a lengthy bus journey. But would you pay to do just that?

That's the idea behind a novel tour bus business in Hong Kong billing itself as a possible cure for insomnia.

On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, about 70 passengers ranging from excitable infants to silver-haired retirees got on board two double-deckers plying a "route to nowhere."

One was a "quiet bus" where people could sleep, the second was a more traditional sight-seeing option.

The 85-kilometer (52-mile) trip started in a bustling urban district and made its way mostly on coastal highways to the city's airport, which has seen a fraction of the usual traffic throughout the coronavirus pandemic, AFP reports.

While some passengers enjoyed the view, many adorned provided earplugs and face masks and were soon fast asleep for the five-hour trip which includes stops at various scenic sites.

Tickets are priced between HK$99 and HK$399 ($12 and $51) with upper deck seats carrying the higher price tag.

Frankie Chow, president of Ulu Travel and the entrepreneur who came up with the idea, said he tried to pick routes with as few traffic lights as possible to reduce stops that might wake passengers.

He sees the bus as serving two purposes – a potential nap for those struggling to sleep and also a bit of excitement for any Hong Kongers who want a bit of sightseeing at a time when the city is cut off internationally.

Hong Kong has maintained some of the world's harshest quarantine measures and travel restrictions during the pandemic.

The strategy has kept infections low but ensured a business hub that dubs itself "Asia's World City" has been cut off isolated for the past 20 months.

"In the past, I would go to the airport (for traveling) each month," a male passenger, who declined to give his name, told AFP.

"Aside from sleeping, this tour also gives us a sense of travelling."


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