Doubledeckers return to Baghdad

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IRAQ A common sight before the 2003 invasion, Baghdad’s red double-deckers had all but disappeared, most either stolen or fallen into disrepair as Iraq struggled with the ensuing violence. More than 300 old buses have been dumped in a north Baghdad scrapyard.

Iraq’s Transport Ministry says 60 new double-decker buses will enter service on state-run routes.

The company manufacturing the buses, Jordan-based Elba House, first made its name constructing pre-fabricated buildings, but since 1992 has also built a variety of vehicles. The air conditioned Twin Star buses cost $205,000 each, have 77 seats and are equipped with cameras to allow the driver to monitor both floors of the interior. A conductor will be present to search each passenger getting on the bus.

The Iraqi government has ambitious plans for major projects from a high-speed train to a metro line, but these have been met with public scepticism.