New cameras put city in driving seat for bus lane fines

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TRANSPORT bosses are set to give the go-ahead to new measures which will see the city's bus lanes policed by a series of cameras.

The technology is set to be introduced in the new year and will allow council chiefs to fine any motorists caught driving in the Capital's Greenways.

Cameras are to be installed in streets including North Bridge and London Road as council bosses decriminalise enforcement of the bus lanes, taking it out of the hands of the police at a number of "hotspots."

The plans, which will raise thousands of pounds every year in extra revenue, are being looked at to improve traffic flows across the Capital.

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Members of the council's transport committee are set to debate the proposals next week, and both Aberdeen and Glasgow are understood to be looking at similar plans.

Currently the responsibility of the police, council bosses believe they could monitor the bus lanes more effectively, helping to free up police time.

The penalty currently stands at 30, but could raise to 60, although drivers will not be given points on their licence.

Edinburgh has not said how much it hopes to raise, but Aberdeen has previously said similar plans in the Granite City could net 90,000 in the first three years of operation.

Motoring organisations have welcomed the bid to cut congestion, but have questioned the motives for taking over the running of the cameras.

Edinburgh's five Greenways are on the A8 Glasgow Road from Maybury to Princes Street, Leith Walk, Lothian Road, the A70 Slateford Road from Inglis Green Road to Haymarket and the A71 Calder Road from the bypass to Ardmillan Terrace.

The routes are for buses and taxis only from 7:30am until 6:30pm on weekdays, and from 8:30am to 6:30pm on Saturdays, with the exception of Glasgow Road, which only operates during peak hours.

Motorists driving or parking in Greenways during restricted hours are committing a criminal offence, whereas using other peak-time bus lanes in the city - which are sometimes painted green but are not actual Greenways - is a civil offence.

Moves by police in Aberdeen to catch motorists in the bus lanes helped cut congestion and improved journey times.

However, any move that would see councils take over the police's role would need the backing of the Scottish Government before being approved.

The Scottish Government is expected to introduce legislation for decriminalised bus lane camera enforcement by the end of the year.