Napier's $1.1 million art deco buses have had just 11 paying customers a day since hitting the road in April.
Just one of the buses, Belle, has been on duty since they became operational. The other, Veronica, will start operating in summer. They can each carry 47 people.
Figures from Napier City Council show that just 1505 paying customers used the service between April 15 and August 25. The buses have made a $58,000 loss in that period, with the income of $9440 well short of operating costs of $66,630.
The council has spent $1,133,256 to buy the old American school buses, have them converted to art deco style, and then transported to New Zealand, where more than $100,000 was spent repairing faults that had rendered the buses unroadworthy.
The council's tourism services manager, Neil Fergus, said takings were about as expected for what is the low season.
"Winter was always seen as being difficult trading.
"Council is expecting to receive a report at the end of the summer season. By this time the bulk of tourists will have visited Napier," he said.
Customer feedback had been "excellent and very positive".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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