The meter's ticking for buses parked on Napier's Marine Parade after an urgent council decision to deal with its latest transport problem - fleets of buses hogging prime spots near the i-SITE information centre during the summer cruise season.
The decision to impose a 20-minute parking limit came at a City Services Committee meeting yesterday, and became effective immediately as the committee, comprising Mayor Barbara Arnott and all 12 councillors, used a section of the Local Government Act to make it formal without the council's normal double-debating process.
Regulatory services manager Michael Webster said there had been substantial growth in the number of tourism-focused vehicles, overloading the bus stops in the area, and staff had tried to solve the problem with allowance for temporary parking south of the i-SITE.
But some operators were using them as "bus parks," and in one case a vehicle was left at a bus stop for close to three hours, sometimes unattended.
He said such a length of stop was not illegal at the time but it brought "considerable stress" to other operators and those trying to control the situation.
Mr Webster said imposition of a time limit for buses to load and unload passengers would resolve the issue, and a short period of grace could be offered by parking officers.
Buses have been a wider issue for the council in recent years, with trouble over finding a safe terminal for other buses in the city since Inter-City Coachlines stopped using a terminal at the Napier Travel Centre, formerly a railway station and now a senior citizens' base. More recently, there were delays in its own Art Deco buses service, with two vehicles imported for the purpose requiring unexpected extra work before being allowed on to New Zealand roads.