Drivers pay out £5m a year for illegally driving in Scottish bus lanes

More drivers in Scotland are breaking the law by driving in lanes reserved to help buses beat traffic congestion, newly-published figures showed today.

Edinburgh City Council said its bus lanes were clearly marked. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Motorists paid £5.47 million in fines for driving in bus lanes in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen in 2019, the last full year before the Covid lockdowns.

That compared to £4.47m in 2018, according to freedom of information figures obtained by insurer confused.com.

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They came as new statistics showed bus passenger numbers fell by a further 3 per cent in 2019.

Operators have blamed congestion as a major factor.

Most bus lane fines were imposed in Glasgow, where the total from its 18 cameras increased from £2.87m to £3.41m.

The total was the second largest in Britain after Manchester.

But Edinburgh, which has 15 cameras, recorded the biggest increase, from £788,522 to a record £1.35m.

By contrast, fines in Aberdeen, with 14 cameras, fell from £779,887 to £708,922.

The Edinburgh figure was increased by new cameras in Liberton Road, which were responsible for £263,000 of fines.

However, previously-published Edinburgh City Council figures showed this increased to £297,000 in just eight months to February 2020.

Calder Road cameras were responsible for £256,000 of fines, and those in Little France Drive £179,000.

Aberdeen’s cameras with the most fines were in Bedford Road with £168,000.

Confused said a poll of 2,000 drivers across the UK showed more than a third had appealed their fines.

A similar proportion of those who appealed blamed unclear signs, with 31 per cent blaming poor road markings.

It said the survey also found three in four of drivers paid a reduced or no fine when they appealed.

There were 9,555 appeals among the 115,534 fines in Glasgow, 46 among 49,620 in Edinburgh and 4,221 among 23,871 in Aberdeen.

The bus passenger figures from Transport Scotland also showed they fell 12 per cent over the last five years and 25 per cent down since 2007-08.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "All of our bus lanes are clearly marked and in many instances the signs and road markings go well beyond what is legally required.

“Bus priority measures such as bus lanes help bus operators run the kind of reliable and efficient services that people want to use.

“In a city where almost half of our population has no access to a car, it is vital we do everything that we can to sustain a crucial form of public transport such as the bus.”

Edinburgh City Council transport convener Lesley Macinnes said: “Bus lane enforcement is key to discouraging the misuse of bus lanes, which helps reduce bus journey times, benefiting the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on their bus service for safe, punctual transport during peak hours.

”It also helps protect the safety of the many cyclists who use bus lanes every day.

“Our bus lanes are clearly signed.

"All of the income from enforcement is invested back into transport, including public transport and active travel improvements.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “Ensuring a managed flow of traffic is the prime aim of the cameras.

"The ability to use the net surplus of funds from the bus lane enforcement for transport projects allows the council to deliver a much greater range of projects for the benefit of its residents and the travelling public.”

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