Plea to ditch 24-hour bus lane cameras

GLASGOW City Council has been urged to ditch 24-hour bus lane cameras fining drivers when there are no bus services running.

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Councillor Balfour wants the bus lane cameras switched off when buses aren't running
Councillor Balfour wants the bus lane cameras switched off when buses aren't running

There is not enough bus traffic to merit the around-the-clock penalties, says one councillor and former bus driver.

Malcolm Balfour called on the local authority to re-think the "cash cow" lanes.

First Bus, Citybus and McGills do not run 24-hour services - with the exception of First Bus' Glasgow Airport shuttle service.

First Bus run Night Bus services but these only ­apply at weekends and stop at 4.30am.

Despite this, there are five 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, bus lanes in the city centre and a further five across the wider area.

The five city centre bus lanes which churn out fines 24-hours are: Argyle Street at Hielanman's Umbrella; North Hanover Street at Queen Street Station; West George Street between Hope Street and Renfield Street; Hope Street at Waterloo Street; and Glassford Street south of Wilson Street.

Night bus services use only the Hope Street and Glassford Street lanes.

On the other three there are no after-hours services but you will still be fined for driving in them.

Outwith the city centre, night services also use the Maryhill Road and Pollokshaws 24-hour bus lanes.

But these are again at the weekend and they stop at 4.30am. So, for example, you could be fined for driving in the bus lane on Maryhill Road at 2am on a Monday night, when there are no services on the road.

Even if the contravention happened on a Saturday night, there are only seven buses using the road between 12am and 4.30am, as part of the night service. This is not enough to justify the use of an entire lane, it has been argued.

Mr Balfour said: "As far as I am aware, of the 10 24-hour bus lanes in the city, there are only four where night buses operate.

"These buses mostly run hourly and cease at 4.30am. And there are no 24-hour services.

"So why does a bus lane need to be enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week?"

He added: "It is not unreasonable for someone driving in the city centre during a quiet period to make use of all the lanes available.

"I worked as a bus driver for 15 years. I can see the merit in bus lanes. But, in my experience, they are only needed during peak times and rush hour.

"Instead, we have the ­ridiculous situation of a motorist being fined £30 to £60 for driving in a bus lane in the middle of the night when we know there are no services on the road. It is totally unfair."

Mr Balfour said: "The whole system needs to be reviewed, drivers are up in arms about it."

The Evening Times told recently how Glasgow City Council U-turned over plans to fine drivers for using bus lanes on Christmas and New Year's Day, when there are no buses on the road.

A total of 370 people were nabbed on both days in 24-hour and part time bus lanes. The council stands to make at least £11,100 from the fines.

Roads bosses have agreed not to fine people who drive on the lanes this year but say they will leave the cameras on as part of a "pilot scheme".

Mr Balfour said that they should be turned off.

He said: "My concern is that they leave the cameras on, record how many people used the lanes, and work out how much this would have made in fines and decided to switch them on again next year."

Road expert Neil Greig, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists has also spoken in favour of having the cameras turned off and said the council should "just admit it got it wrong".

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "Bus lanes should not be driven in during enforcement hours, no matter what time of the day. If you drive in a bus lane you are committing an offence."



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