Bus stop chaos in Napier



Napier's central Intercity bus terminal is being described as shambolic, chaotic, an embarrassment, a nightmare and a disgrace.

Locals and vistors were venting their anger last week at what they said were major inadequacies at the Dalton St depot.

The issue, however, was not a recent one and had been stirring along since the Napier City Council set up the Dalton St site in mid-2010 after the closure of the Intercity terminal in Munroe St after its lease expired.

It was later taken up by the Napier Senior Citizens Association.

The old site had waiting rooms, telephones, toilets and parking for private vehicles and taxis.

The present site has bench seats under a shelter roof, which did not impress Napier woman Elaine Clow and her husband when they took their university-bound son to the depot to catch a bus to Wellington.

"We were totally disgusted with the disorganisation," she wrote.

"No shelter from the heat and no facilities.

"Pushing and shoving of those wanting to board first - to find they were in the wrong 'queue' - and wheelchairs trying to get through so many people.

"We had to encounter this again just after Christmas and it will happen many times during the next four years. There is only a small amount of covered protection from the rain and hot sun, and as for the lack of amenities, it's a social embarrassment and is absolutely disgraceful.

"I have not, in recent years, arrived in a bus stop area out of Napier that has not had a toilet close by for travellers to use."

Her letter stoked a response from many locals also angry their city had no decent bus depot.

A text from a family whose grandmother, on route from Hastings to Auckland, collapsed on a recent hot day while returning from the nearest toilet 150 metres away also sparked outrage.

One texter described it as "the bus terminal that isn't".

Another said Hastings had a "wonderful bus stop" as it had adjoining toilets, shelter and food and refreshment shops just across the road.

It is an issue which two years ago resulted in more than 1000 signatures being put down on a petition asking for a better depot.

Former Labour list MP for Napier Stuart Nash also took up the cause, hosting a meeting at the Napier City Council in August 2010 which attracted more than 70 people.

It was explained at that meeting that Intercity preferred to have its service use the parking bays at the i-Site on Marine Parade, but the council said that would result in too many traffic problems as it was already being used by two other bus operators.

The Dalton St depot was the only viable alternative at that time, Mayor Barbara Arnott said, adding council would carefully monitor the site to see how it went.

Neither Intercity nor Napier City have a legal obligation to provide a designated facility for a commercial bus operation.

The site was formerly a taxi stand, and manager of Hawke's Bay Combined Taxis Wayne England added his voice to the growing dissatisfaction.

Mr England also added another description for the site, saying: "It's rubbish."

Drivers had described trying to drop people off and pick them up from the area as "a nightmare at times".

"You're lucky to find somewhere to park up so that you can go and find who it is you're there to pick up," one driver commented.

Council had provided two taxi spaces about 50m away on the other side of Station St but they were often occupied when it was busy.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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