Council made £770k from bus lane camera fines

The bus lane at the ERI. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
The bus lane at the ERI. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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Motorists in the Capital were fined for driving in bus lanes once every 20 minutes last year.

More than 25,000 drivers were hit in the pocket for the infringements, which carry a £60 fine if not paid within 14 days of being issued – meaning a minimum windfall for the city council of 
£776,000.

In 2013, city coffers were boosted by £672,204 in bus lane fines, even though slightly more penalties were issued.

The figures were blasted as “staggering, extraordinary and outrageous” by the AA, and driving groups said the number of motorists being caught should be decreasing.

Little France Drive has again emerged as the top fine blackspot, with the bus gate there catching 6455 drivers last year, or 18 drivers every day.

The street has been described as a “trap” in the past, with patients attending appointments at the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary getting caught out while hunting for a parking space.

Other high-earning enforcement cameras catching more than 3000 drivers last year include Calder Road, Kirklands Park Street and London Road.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the consistently high number of fines was a cause for concern.

He said: “The numbers should be going down. If the numbers are going up then there is still an issue about signposting and the operation of bus lane cameras, because by now people should know where they are.

“In Glasgow, numbers have been coming down substantially because people are now getting the message.

“For us, the best bus lane camera is the one that catches no-one at all, because that shows the message has gone out and the signposting is sufficient.

“If the number of fines is increasing, then not only is there a lack of public awareness and education, but bus services are also still being disrupted by traffic.”

Despite the massive bill for Edinburgh motorists, where there are eight bus lane enforcement cameras, Capital drivers could count themselves lucky – 128,633 drivers were caught by Glasgow’s 16 cameras last year, while in Aberdeen, 33,806 drivers faced fines after being snapped by one of its ten cameras.

The AA’s Paul Watters said: “These cities should be looking to dramatically reduce the levels of fines being issued.”

City transport leader Lesley Hinds said that the cameras were essential to keep traffic flowing and ensure bus services remain on schedule.

She said: “Lothian Buses carried a total of 118.4 million bus passengers in 2014, an increase of three million over the previous year’s figures.

“The primary purpose of bus lanes is to provide 
journey time reliability and time savings by allowing buses to bypass congestion during busy traffic periods.”

She added: “This increases the appeal of travelling by bus compared to taking the car and helps us towards our goal of cutting air pollution and boosting public transport links.”