One of the new Fullers double-decker tour buses reversed into a taxi at Matiatia, says driver Linda Grace.

Linda Grace says having a double decker bus reverse into her taxi – and keep reversing – was like being in a “horror movie”. The accident on 24 December is one of three involving the three double-decker buses Fullers started using for “hop on-hop off” tours of Waiheke on 15 December. Ms Grace says she was sitting in her taxi in the keyhole at Matiatia when a tour bus started reversing, with a person directing the driver. The bus “crunched” into the headlight on Ms Grace’s taxi, paused, then kept reversing. “It was like a horror movie – you’re sitting in a van, the bus has broken your light and then starts backing again. “My whole van started to lift up and tip. “I was so scared and I couldn’t do anything. I was paralysed,” she says. The taxi was left with a broken light and a twisted panel and the holiday-break meant a delay in getting the vehicle back in business. She hopes the company will cover the cost of repairs and loss of income over the busiest time of the year. She says double-decker buses have driven into a ditch near Mudbrick Vineyard while a tree branch cracked a window on one bus after it visited Batch Winery at Whakanewha this week. Fullers CEO Douglas Hudson says the company takes safety issues very seriously and regretted the “unfortunate” incidents. Its insurers will be in contact with affected parties. But Mr Hudson says only one incident – the tree branch cracking a window – was related to the type of vehicle. “It’s a perception thing with the double-deckers. We have another five vehicles which are as long and as wide as the double-deckers and others that are actually bigger in their footprint.” The bus that left the road near Mudbrick had pulled over to allow cars to pass and lost some traction, he says. “That could have happened to any bus.” But Ms Grace says the new double decker buses are “too big and too wide”, particularly for the crowded keyhole area at Matiatia ferry terminal. “The keyhole is just too congested and it’s dangerous. “I’m really scared someone is going to get seriously hurt.” Taxis need to be able to drop off passengers, particularly the elderly, disabled people, and families with young children, on the “safe side of the road”, she says. At present, taxis and shuttles have to park across the road from the terminal, while public transport buses occupy the spaces right outside the ferry terminal. Auckland Transport has trialled plans to move taxis and shuttles into the front rows of the beach front car park at Matiatia, but Ms Grace says this poses challenges for many passengers, who catch a taxi precisely because they have luggage or cannot easily walk to a bus stop. She would like to see ordinary people present their ideas through Gulf News for potential solutions to traffic and parking issues at Matiatia. “The numbers of visitors to the island has grown out of proportion to our infrastructure. Maybe there should be a cap on visitor numbers,” says Ms Grace. • Rose Davis

Subscribe and read Gulf News and Waiheke Weekender Online