New bus lane cameras catch 600 offenders

HUNDREDS of drivers have been warned for using bus lanes while cameras were being tested ahead of going live on Monday.

Bus-only routes at The Jewel and Prestonfield will be monitored round-the-clock, with £60 fines for motorists who break the rules.

A trial period in December saw more than 600 drivers issued with warning notices for using the bus gates. Transport chiefs said the results showed that the 
cameras were necessary.

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The measures have been introduced under a sweeping review of bus lane enforcement published by the city council in September last year.

The bus gates at both locations are short sections of road on which general traffic is banned. Only buses, taxis, cyclists and emergency vehicles are allowed to use them.

Both cameras will be set up to issue penalties 24 hours a day, seven days a week and not just during peak traffic periods.

A total of 636 warning notices were issued to motorists caught ignoring traffic restrictions at the two locations during the trial period, which began on December 3.

Of those, 346 drivers were captured on Prestonfield Avenue, while a further 290 received notices after being snapped using the specialised lane at The Jewel, near the main entrance to Asda.

The council was forced into a review last year after a series of problems with the city-wide cameras first introduced in April. Thousands of drivers were fined after being caught out crossing lanes inadvertently in heavy traffic. One camera was subsequently decommissioned and another moved out of those installed at ten locations. A five-minute grace period either side of traffic restriction periods was also introduced.

City transport convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “In the eight months since the council began bus lane camera enforcement in April 2012, there has been a massive drop in the number of charge notices issued – more than 80 per cent – showing the message is getting through loud and clear.

“Having good bus priority measures makes bus journeys smoother and quicker, helping to boost public awareness of buses as a credible alternative to the car.”

Ian Maxwell, spokesman for cycle campaign group Spokes, said the organisation had long been keen to see enforcement measures on bus lanes improved.

He said: “Overall the process works perfectly well. It was just rather unfortunate that politicians were getting slightly panicked at the snags and lost sight of the overall benefits of the scheme.”