The ten bus lane “hotspots” which will be policed by cameras to catch drivers cheating on the city’s Greenways were identified today.
The city council is to take over responsibility for catching drivers using bus lanes to bypass slow- moving traffic.
The fines for unlawful use of the city’s Greenways are to double to £60 when the council starts issuing them from April 2.
Five cameras will rotate between ten different locations where the bus lanes are abused, including routes into the city from Calder Junction, Leith Street, Old Dalkeith Road at Cameron Toll and Willowbrae Road at Jock’s Lodge, as well as routes heading away from town in Calder Road at Bankhead Avenue, London Road at Jock’s Lodge, North Bridge and Willowbrae Road at Jock’s Lodge.
Council chiefs estimate that they will dish out a minimum of between 2000 and 4000 fines a year, which would cover the annual operating costs of the cameras.
Motoring groups welcomed the crackdown on motorists that break the rules – but insist fines must not be issued to drivers who have no choice but to use the bus lane.
Neil Greig, director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “The majority of law-abiding drivers get fed-up seeing people abusing the bus lanes, so the news that they will be enforced for once is very good.
“In general terms I’ve got no problem with cameras, but the key thing is they can be very black and white. The position of the camera is critical because there have been cases in London where everyone coming out of a garage got a ticket when they actually had no choice but go in the bus lane.
“There will be instances in Edinburgh where people need to access them to access a driveway. Anyone also needs tthe right to appeal if they feel a fine is unfair and they only transgressed for a moment.”
Hazel McLaughlin, a member of staff at the Crofters pub on Calder Road said the cameras would be a welcome addition to the area.
“I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “We don’t really see many drivers using the bus lanes, but if it’s a camera then it will catch people out, and the more coverage there is of the area the better.”
Police officers are currently responsible for issuing £30 fines, but the city council will gain the power to dish out fines from April 2 at the “hotspots” and it plans to put up the payment to £60 a fine, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Police, who will retain the powers to issue £30 fines in areas without cameras, have previously faced criticism for not handing out enough penalties The number of fines issued reduced from 700 in 2009 to 600 in 2010. In 2011, only 500 fines had been issued by October.
The cameras will use Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to record infringements, with the information being transmitted back to a server.
It is estimated that the camera system will cost £290,000 to set up then an annual £120,000 to operate, but officials say that income from fines should exceed the annual operating costs.
Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport leader, said: “Illegal use of these lanes can cause unnecessary delays to bus journeys and accidents but once these cameras are up and running I’m hopeful we will see a sizeable reduction in those problems.”