Buses set to bypass most tourists

Last updated 05:00 05/11/2012

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Napier's $1 million art-deco style buses that should have been ferrying cruise ship tourists around town this week are unlikely to be roadworthy until the tourist season is nearly over.

Napier City Council employed California-based H B Industries to refit the secondhand buses late last year. Council chief executive Neil Taylor expected the buses to be on the road by now, as the company sent him "impressive" photos of the finished buses.

But the refitted vehicles were declared unroadworthy in a road test in Wellington last month because the indicators didn't work, the headlights were faulty, two seats were unattached and the paint job was patchy.

The council transported the buses to Hastings for a full mechanical inspection before employing Kiwi Bus Builders, of Tauranga, to repair them.

Mr Taylor said "no further surprises" had been discovered but, because of prior commitments, it would take Kiwi Bus Builders until next year to make the buses roadworthy.

"They're doing everything they can for us, but I can't see them being available to us till February. It's a significant loss. It's a whole summer we wanted those buses on the road."

The full price of the design and refit was thought to be nearly $1m. Mr Taylor has not paid the $30,000 retention fee to H B Industries.

He said he would not use the company again.

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- The Dominion Post

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