Drivers fined after bus lane camera blunder

HUNDREDS of drivers are believed to have been snared by a bus lane enforcement camera at Jock’s Lodge that was supposed to be suspended.

HUNDREDS of drivers are believed to have been snared by a bus lane enforcement camera at Jock’s Lodge that was supposed to be suspended.

Drivers travelling east along the A1 route from the city centre towards Portobello have been funnelled into a single bus lane for the past five weeks to avoid roadworks at the junction of Willowbrae Road and Restalrig Road South.

A flood of motorists have since been issued £30 penalties after being captured on a stationary bus lane camera opposite Jock’s Lodge.

The fines have been issued even though a sign reading “bus lane not in operation” was erected at the exit from Holyrood Park, less than 300 metres before the busy junction.

It is not known how many have been fined. But hundreds – if not thousands – of drivers could have been caught up in the blunder. The camera was active between February 11 and March 8, when it was shut off.

Craigentinny resident Catherine Anne, 46, said she had already received three tickets post-dated from February 20 to 28 traced back to the junction.

She said: “When you come out of Holyrood Park, there’s a sign on the left-hand side as the bus lane starts which clearly says it’s non-operational. That was put up because of those roadworks. The sign’s been there for weeks. I come along that route six times a day. I’ve never had a problem with it, I’ve never had any fines before. I only use the bus lane as the sign indicated that was what you were to do, obviously because of the roadworks.”

Ms Anne said she paid two fines to avoid extra charges, but would now be seeking refunds.

The footway resurfacing works between Baronscourt Road and Piershill Terrace are scheduled to finish on Friday, ending a six-week run.

Right-hand turns from London Road into Willowbrae Road have been banned for the duration of the roadworks.

Retiree Ian Steven, 80, uses the route regularly to return home to Craigentinny. He said three of his neighbours were fined in recent weeks after being caught.

Mr Steven said: “They don’t seem to have switched this camera off. It’s how many other people have paid penalties. I’m sure that you get notices in and if you don’t pay them in a certain time it goes up to £60 and then £90.”

The error is not the first time the council has run into trouble with enforcement of bus lane cameras. The local authority was forced into a review last year after a series of problems with the city-wide cameras first introduced in April.

Thousands of drivers had been fined after being caught crossing lanes inadvertently in heavy traffic. One camera was decommissioned and another moved out of ten installed.

The council said it would refund fines – but would NOT be contacting people who paid to stop the penalty increasing.

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Measures put in place to aid traffic flow were unclear and drivers were mistakenly directed into the bus lane.

“However, we stopped enforcing the bus lane on March 8 and we are dealing with all inquiries from drivers who received a charge notice prior to this date.”