Bus lane fines bonanza

NEARLY £700,000 has been raked in after 28,000 motorists were caught in one Glasgow bus lane.

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Nearly 28,000 drivers have been caught in one bus lane
Nearly 28,000 drivers have been caught in one bus lane

Glassford Street is the most prolific money generating street as the city clamps down on illegal use of bus lane.

The fines were issued during just eight months.

New figures obtained through a Freedom of Inform-ation request show 27,922 charge notices were issued between April 23 – when the council launched its CCTV crackdown on bus lanes – and December 31 last year resulting in at least £685,380 in fines.

CCTV is installed at 11 locations on main roads in the city, including North Hanover Street, Hope Street, Maryhill Road and Argyle Street.

Drivers spotted in bus lanes receive a £60 fixed penalty fine, cut to £30 if paid within 14 days.

At least 19,657 notices have been issued to motorists using the bus lane in Cathedral Street, generating £512,430, while the bus lane camera in Maryhill Road/Bilsland Drive netted 14,984 drivers, resulting in £411,190.

Between these two roads and Glassford Street, the council has taken £1.6million.

The number of motorists being fined has prompted calls from drivers' groups for more signage around bus lanes.

Gordon Stewart, secretary of the Institute of Advanced Motorists' Glasgow South group, said: "It would help drivers if there were more signs showing where the bus lanes are or where they are coming up.

"Glasgow city centre's one-way system can be confusing to drivers and visitors. Drivers can end up in bus lanes, like North Hanover Street near Queen Street Station, by mistake and they are difficult to get out of.

THE number of drivers caught shows there's not an understanding of where the bus lanes are or when people are not allowed to drive in them."

The bus lane camera which spotted the fewest drivers was Maryhill Road at Dalsholm Road, which caught 1616 people and generated revenues of £41,700. In Duke Street, bus lane CCTV caught 2137 motorists, bringing in £56,730, while in West George Street, the bus lane netted 8875 drivers and £230,970.

More than £3.8m has been raised in fines since the camera-backed enforcement, with more than 126,000 penalty charge notices being issued.

Paul White, of the Confed-eration of Passenger Trans-port, said bus lanes needed to be treated in the same way that double yellow lines are.

He said: "Bus lanes make buses more reliable, encourage modal shift, lower bus emissions and fuel costs and enable operators to run more services with the same number of vehicles.

"The social and economic benefits are undeniable.

"Perhaps there needs to be a shift in perception regarding their value and the need for drivers to keep them clear.

"Drivers are generally careful to avoid double yellow lines when they park, even when the reasons for the parking restrictions aren't immediately clear. The same care should be taken to comply with bus lane regulations."

The cameras work by reading the number plates of any vehicles entering a bus lane and check them against a list of transport approved to use the lanes, including buses, taxis and private hire cars.

A GLASGOW City Council spokesman said the number of bus lane offences was beginning to drop.

He said: "There was a significant reduction in the number of offences in January, pointing to greater compliance.

"Driving in bus lanes has always been illegal and anyone with a driving licence is well aware of that fact. The vast majority of drivers will never receive a penalty because they stay within the law.

"The minority of drivers who abuse bus lanes inconven-ience others and cause frustration, as well as threat-ening the safety of pedestrians and other road users.

"We believe civil enforce-ment will help lower the number of offences, improve the flow of traffic on a number of congested stretches and improve the reliability of bus journeys on key routes."

rachel.loxton@heraldandtimes.co.uk

LANES WHICH CAUGHT FEWEST

West George Street: Charge notices: 8875 Income: £230,970

Duke Street: Charge notices: 2137 Income: £56,730

Maryhill Road/ Dalsholm Road: Charge notices: 1616 Income: £41,700

LANES WHICH CAUGHT MOST

Glassford Street: Charge notices: 27,922 Income: £685,380

Cathedral Street: Charge notices: 19,657 Income: £512,430

Maryhill Road/ Bilsland Drive: Charge notices: 14,984 Income £411,190

Burglary

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