Bus blockade threat for Queenstown


A bus blockade threat hangs over Queenstown.

As many as 100 tour coach drivers are threatening to bring the resort’s CBD to a standstill without warning unless a solution to their parking woes can be found.

Their spokesman, Christchurch-based driver Rod Griffiths, says drivers are fed up with a steady erosion in bus parks at the resort’s hotels and a recent council clampdown on bus parking around the CBD.

Most are not recompensed by their employers for the resulting parking fines.

Town centre czar Steve Wilde has stepped in to mediate, and says he’s taking the threat seriously.

“I think their frustration has reached boiling point, and that’s dangerous.

“The ramifications are simply unthinkable - international headlines, tens of thousands of people disrupted and tens of millions of dollars down the drain.”

Griffiths is warning if drivers think they are being strung along, they will “wildcat” and hold daily blockades - involving more than 50 buses at a time - parking across key CBD streets.

“If mediation doesn’t work, all hell will break loose.”

Downtown QT’s Wilde says he discussed the issue with Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden and council regulatory boss Lee Webster on Tuesday.

“All the parties need to get around the table - the bus companies, the hotels and the council - and talk about it.

“From what I can see, and this is only anecdotal, it seems this has been ticking along for a number of years and everyone’s backed themselves into corners.”

Wilde says for the two months of the peak tourist season the group can hatch solutions and start working on a “longer-term game plan”.