800 motorists snared in city bus lanes in just two days

A BUS lane camera caught nearly 800 motorists in a two-day blitz in the city centre.

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The Cathedral Street bus lane where the motorists were caught
The Cathedral Street bus lane where the motorists were caught

They were snapped on two of the busiest days of the year as thousands of people crowded into Glasgow for the parade of Olympic and Paralympic heroes and the Christmas lights switch-on.

A Freedom Of Information request showed 368 fines were sent to motorists who used the Cathedral Street bus lane between 6am and 10pm on September 14 when a temporary traffic order was in place, closing North Hanover Street.

It was the day when Glasgow held its Parade Of Champions. Thousands of people took to the streets as the cavalcade left Kelvingrove Museum and headed to George Square.

Among the sporting stars were double cycling gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy, gold medal rower Katherine Grainger, gold-winning Paralympian cyclist Neil Fachie and silver medallist in the 470 Class sailing Luke Patience.

Two months later, on November 15, North Hanover Street was again closed and 429 fines were issued to drivers caught in the bus lane between 6am and 9pm.

More than 15,000 people packed into George Square that day to be part of the Christmas lights switch-on.

Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, with the help of young siblings Liam and Beth Lindsay, and star guests Olympic bronze medallist Beth Tweddle and Santa Claus, pressed the switch for the first time since becoming Glasgow's First Citizen.

The fine for using a bus lane is £30 but goes up to £60 if not paid within a fortnight.

The huge number of fines issued – 797 over the two days – has resulted in a call for the city council to adopt a more understanding approach when roadworks or restrictions affect traffic flow.

However, the Freedom Of Information request also revealed that on November 14 – when there were no traffic restrictions in place – 100 vehicles with issued with fixed penalty notices for the same section of road.

The bus lane in Cathedral Street is the short section that includes the bridge over Queen Street Station. Only buses, registered taxis and private hire cars and cyclists can use it.

Neil Greig, of the IAM Motoring Trust, said: "There was traffic chaos in the area when North Hanover Street was closed, but bus lane cameras are inflexible and work in a black and white world.

"If you are in a bus lane you are obviously breaking the law and a ticket will be issued.

"Clearly, what happened inCathedral Street was that while people were trying to take on board new road signs they may have inadvertently gone into the bus lane.

"What we really need is flexibility when there are short-term problems on the roads."

The council says bus lanes are vital to keep city centre traffic moving.

Roads bosses say the lanes increase bus service reliability, improve bus passenger journey times, encourage use of public transport and provide a safer lane for cyclists.

There are only a small number of reasons when it is allowed to drive in a bus lane during the time it is in operation.

These include when directed to do so by a police officer in uniform, to avoid a collision or debris in the road, to drop off or pick up a passenger; to turn right or to enter or exit a driveway to a roadside property.

A council spokesman said: "Driving in bus lanes has always been illegal. There is a clear and constant reminder of the law – the bus lane marking on the road.

"Before going live with the enforcement scheme, we ran a month-long advertising campaign and the project was well covered in the press.

"The majority of drivers will never receive a penalty because they stay within the law."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Automotive

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