Taupo's Gascoigne St bus depot might have closed for good on May 31, but the fight over where buses should stop in Taupo is not over yet, according to the Taupo Residents Group.
The residents group is pushing for the bus stops on Tongariro St to be moved to Story Pl, saying it will be safer and more convenient for buses to stop behind the Super Loo.
But InterCity says a bus stop in Story Pl will create safety issues for cars and pedestrians, and at this point, the Taupo District Council is reluctant to be drawn into more discussion on the issue.
InterCity moved to Tongariro St on June 1 and despite the new bus shelters being erected, Les Winslade of the Taupo Residents Group says that doesn't mean the bus stops shouldn't be reconsidered.
While the residents group agrees with the council's decision to sell the Gascoigne St bus depot to pay off debt, Les says Tongariro St is not suitable.
Instead, he's proposing five 5m-wide herring-bone carparks in Story Pl. Buses will pull directly in and out of Story Pl instead of southbound buses circling the block. The buses can park parallel to each other, meaning it'll be easier and quicker to transfer luggage.
The council would also gain extra income by having all bus passengers use the Super Loo instead of the free toilets on Tongariro St, and it could provide a small taxi centre for extra income too. Arguments that the turning circle is too tight don't wash with Les, who says that by removing nine carparks in the centre island and allowing the front of the buses to overhang the footpath by 1.5 metres, buses will be able to make the turn. The lost carparks would be regained on Tongariro St after the buses move.
Les also says the new bus shelters are simply bolted to concrete pads and would be able to be easily moved.
He's written to all councillors and to Destination Great Lake Taupo, Towncentre Taupo and the Chamber of Commerce, and claims local residents and many retailers are ``absolutely against'' the bus stops in Tongariro St.
But the council has produced its own map, which shows that to accommodate five herring-bone bus stops, the 15 carparks between Story Pl and the Tongariro South Domain playground would have to be removed, and buses would have to back out into Story Pl.
InterCity Coachlines' general manager Sam Peate has seen the residents group's maps of the Story Pl proposal but he's concerned that the bus parks are not wide enough, not long enough for larger coaches of up to 14 metres and there's not enough space for manoeuvering the coaches. Safety was also a concern.
``There's a playground on one side and a library on the other and there are cars coming in and out and when you have coaches parked herring-bone style, they need to reverse to get out of those parks and when you have pedestrians and cars, then that creates safety issues.''
Mr Peate says the Taupo District Council has been incredibly helpful to deal with and thinks the bus shelters and wayfinding signage that's been built on Tongariro St have been ``really effective''.
``From our perspective, the current location is working well.''
When loading luggage into buses' right-hand luggage holds, Mr Peate said the standard procedure was for InterCity drivers at roadside bus stops to load into the kerb side of the buses only. If those holds were full, then the driver could load from the road side, if they took precautions.
``But it's a very rare occasion,'' Mr Peate added. ``It's only when we can't access the other side for all the luggage. It's just not something that's going to happen often at all.''
The only comment from the council came from its strategic manager of business development and improvement, Will Samuel, who said the council was pleased to have worked with the bus companies to keep them coming through town.