It's on the buses but still no go

By Doug Laing

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As buses go, it was running what must have been a world-record four months behind time, but at least it got here.

That was the good news for the Napier City Council after the first of its two troubled Art Deco buses arrived in town on Friday, just in time for Art Deco weekend.

It wasn't able to be put into service, though, and spent several hours on public display on Marine Parade on Saturday and yesterday, with hundreds of intrigued locals and visitors getting the chance to look them over.

So many that when Mayor Barbara Arnott arrived she was not able to get inside the bus parked yesterday near the Tom Parker Fountain.

But she reckoned they looked a fitting addition to the Art Deco theme of the city, and it was now only a matter of time before the two vehicles, named Veronica and Bell, began their City Discoverer service between the city centre and Ahuriri.


 


 


City Council chief executive Neil Taylor said the bus that arrived on Friday had been certified safe by VTNZ inspectors in Tauranga where the reconstituted vehicles have had to undergo extensive extensive remedial work, after being ruled unfit for New Zealand roads when they were unloaded from a ship in Wellington in October.

The bus was loaded on to a specialised road transporter, Kiwi Buses, which has been doing the work, including repairs for lighting, seating, wheel and other defects.

Mr Taylor hoped the second would arrive in Napier soon.

Because of the problems, the council has refused to make a final payment due a custom-vehicle company which had remodelled the buses in California from chassis and frames bought in France.


 


They were nicknamed "Pop-up Toasters" because of their appearance in images published when the plans were first published in 2010.

Mrs Arnott said the total cost of research into what was needed, buying the buses, remodelling and getting them on the road in Napier appeared likely to be still under a $2 million budget, financed by land sales, not from rates.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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