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Rogue drivers dodging through Leeds bus
lanes are finding dummy fines landing on their doormats- but
ignoring them could be a costly mistake, for if they do it again
they could be fined for real.
From Monday 8 August new bus lane cameras, which have been
taking a trial run and issuing warnings to make their presence
known, go live by sending out enforcement notices leading to real
penalty charges of £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within
The cameras, operated by Leeds City Council, have been filming
motorists' abuse of bus lanes in the fortnight leading up to the
new fines and issuing warning notices.
The idea is to make sure that the cameras act as a deterrent to
drivers considering ducking into the lanes. This is aimed at
keeping them clear for the real users- buses- to help the flow of
traffic, particularly in the city centre.
Metro, which co-ordinates the transport for West Yorkshire, is
supporting the scheme.
"Bus lanes are designed to enable buses, which can be carrying
the same number of people as 30 or more cars, to skip congested
stretches of the road and deliver passengers to their destinations
quickly and efficiently," said Metro Chairman, Cllr James
"By ignoring the restrictions on bus lanes, which usually only
apply at peak times, and using them illegally, inconsiderate
motorists are cancelling out the advantages they provide and
shouldn't therefore be surprised to face a fine for this selfish
A survey by Leeds City Council In late January found nearly
2,000 drivers- 1,941 in total- illegally cutting into city centre
bus lanes over three days in the same week. The vast majority of
these offences took place during the morning rush from 7.30-9am,
holding up buses full of commuters and other passengers.
In one case- along the Wellington Road lane adjacent to Clyde
Approach- 572 drivers were seen to break the law on the same day by
using the bus lane.
The council has recently acquired the responsibility from the
police for enforcing rules on keeping bus lanes clear. Certain
vehicles other than buses, such as emergency vehicles and
registered taxis (but not private hire vehicles) are allowed to use
the lanes. The majority of vehicles, however, cannot and road signs
make it clear what restrictions apply. Cameras are also clearly
marked. If the cameras are successful at improving traffic flows,
the council also intends at a later stage to introduce a mobile
camera to tackle the same issue elsewhere.