So I was previously one to scoff at the "Tourist Bus" approach -- you know, the hop-on-hop-off type with the voice track that tells you what you're seeing. I felt it was too impersonal, too surface and didn't let me explore the sights.
This past weekend I had a friend visit me in Southern California. I'm out here on business for several weeks at a time and spend my weekends bouncing around or working. She had never been to California so I bought her a ticket with points and she came out.
She had some recent back problems so walking all day wasn't an option and since we spent Saturday at Venice Beach and Santa Monica, she needed a lower-key day to relax for Sunday.
Reluctantly, I bought two tickets on the StarLine Tour bus so she could see Hollywood and Beverly Hills. It turned out to be perfect for her and saved me having to drive all over town and find parking at every spot.
I had reservations for a quaint little Brunch on Sunday morning and from there it was a short drive to our tour bus pick up point. We were able to listen to the GPS-tagged recording that told us what to look for as we drove around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We got off at a couple of locations, walked around until she was tired and then got back on.
While I'm not a full convert and wouldn't buy a ticket if I'm by myself, I do understand where they fit in the tourist-circle-of-life. I will not scoff so readily at those riding them in the future.