THE OPINION'S DIVIDED ON PLAN TO CRACK DOWN ON MOTORISTS WHO USE BUS LANES GOOD IDEA, OR an excuse to make money?

THE latest crackdown on vehicles illegally using bus lanes will have cameras tracking offenders across the city.

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But questions are being asked about the city council's plans to start using the cameras in April.

Fines have been fixed at the same rate as parking tickets, and council bosses expect to earn £250,000 in the first year, which would be spent on transport infrastructure.

The new powers mean the city council will be able to enforce fines on drivers for the first time.

Until now, only the police have had the authority to fine drivers who misuse bus lanes, but a change in the law last month at the Scottish Parliament means councils can now apply for the power.

Hi-tech cameras will read car number plates as they enter the bus lane and instantly check the registration against a list of approved vehicles, containing registration numbers of buses, taxis and private hire cars.

The system will then compile an evidence dossier containing a video clip of the unauthorised vehicle .

The encrypted file is then sent to a council enforcement officer through the 3G mobile phone network.

The enforcement officer will decide if an offence has occurred and a letter, including images of the car in the bus lane, will be sent to the registered owner, demanding payment of a £60 fixed penalty fine, which is reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Cameras are to be placed in North Hanover Street, Glassford Street, Hope Street, West George Street, Duke Street, Cathedral Street, Maryhill Road, Argyle Street, Great Western Road and Victoria Road.

Jim Coleman, council spokesman for land and environment, believes that civil enforcement of fines will help drive down the number of offences committed in Glasgow and make bus travel a more attractive option for people.

He said: "The drivers who abuse bus lanes are inconsiderate.

"They inconvenience others and also threaten the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.

"Introducing these regulations will improve the flow of traffic on a number of congested stretches and improve the reliability of bus journeys on some key routes."

But, as the Evening Times discovered, Mr Coleman's comments were at odds with some people in Glasgow.

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