08 March 2012

Bus Lanes

Some very welcome news from Plymouth City Council:

Motorists are being warned to stay out of Plymouth’s bus lanes as the Council prepares to introduce new measures to keep the city’s roads safe and traffic moving.  From Saturday 31 March enforcement cameras will be in operation on bus lanes and bus gates and, after a period of monitoring, fixed penalties will be introduced for drivers caught breaking the law.

Councillor Kevin Wigens, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: "Blocking bus lanes and squeezing through bus gates is not only against the law, it is potentially dangerous. It also holds up buses, delaying services for passengers, and is extremely frustrating for other motorists who stay in the right lanes.

"We are working with local bus companies to improve the city’s public transport network and ensure that services are reliable and on time. Keeping bus lanes free and traffic flowing is crucial to this. We hope that these cameras will deter selfish motorists from blocking bus lanes, holding up traffic and putting other road users at risk.”

The cameras, which will be clearly signed, will initially be placed at five problem ‘hotspots’ in the city where bus lanes and gates are most frequently misused. However, they can be moved to any bus lane or gate in the city at any time if needed. All of the city’s bus companies are supporting the new measures and the Council has been working with local taxi firms to ensure their drivers are reminded about the restrictions in place.

Plymouth’s bus lane restrictions apply 24 hours a day. Most can be used by buses, taxis, cycles and motorcycles but there are some exceptions and some lanes are reserved solely for the use of buses. The sign at the beginning of each bus lane shows clearly which vehicles can use it.

Peter Oliver, Acting General Manager of Plymouth Citybus, said: "Plymouth Citybus wholeheartedly supports the use of these cameras. Double parking and the misuse of bus gates cause considerable problems to the operation of our services. There is also the serious issue of the high number of near miss accidents where cars race up bus lanes in an attempt to jump queues. We are happy to support Plymouth City Council in ensuring bus lanes are kept clear as much as possible.

"The introduction of the camera car a couple of years ago has made a huge difference to our ability to access bus stops across the city and we have high hopes that these new additional cameras will have a similar effect on our ability to keep to time, through improved access to the bus lanes.”

The Council will be running an awareness raising campaign to warn motorists about the new penalty charges, using adverts on the backs of buses and posters in key city centre car parks.

Bus Lane
As a bus passenger this is long overdue. I  just await the backlash when the council actually start sending out fines to motorists. In some parts of the country I am sure they use the cameras on buses to record cars obstructing bus lanes and bus stops. This maybe an idea for Plymouth as I feel it would then mainly penalise drivers who do cause hold ups rather than those who use the bus lanes but dont get in the way! Either way its good to see bus lane abuse getting monitored properly.

Elsewhere on the net

  • Increasingly and frustratingly the web can be the only source of information. But, and here's the rub, what percentage of existing passengers and, more to the point, potential passengers actually use this "most important source"? Public Transport Experience
  • It should come as no surprise to industry watchers that Go North East has mounted a robust campaign (i Say Yes Now) to counter the proposal from Nexus PTE and the Tyne & Wear ITA to seek to introduce a quality contract scheme for the county. Omnibuses

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