A SINGLE bus lane camera has snared an incredible 10,000 drivers in the space of ten weeks, it was revealed today.
The camera, which covers a section of road heading out of the city on Calder Road, is catching three times as many motorists as one on the opposite side of the road, and has brought in up to £600,000 in fines.
Even in recent weeks, as the number of fines has fallen across the city, a driver was caught on average once every eight minutes during the week and once every five minutes on a Saturday by the camera.
The most profitable of the controversial Greenway cameras was revealed as it emerged that city leaders are now set to roll out the scheme into other areas of the city.
Motoring groups today urged city chiefs to investigate why so many people were being caught before expanding the scheme.
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “Ideally, the cameras in Edinburgh should be deterring and not issuing penalties, so in a perfect world there should be zero offences.
“Clearly that will never happen, but the authority has to determine if the people being caught are wilful evaders.
“But if I, as a southerner, drive up to Edinburgh and make a simple mistake, because I’m not familiar with the area, should I be penalised? We’d like the authority to check who is committing the offences and use this to make the scheme work better.”
Edinburgh has about 65km of Greenways and earlier this year identified the ten key areas drivers cut into the most. As of April 23, five cameras were deployed at five of the sites to scrutinise bus lanes, with two later removed due to major problems.
New figures show the remaining two cameras on Calder Road – the main corridor connecting the M8 to central Edinburgh – and one on London Road caught 2803 in the first week, which continued for weeks after. After around six weeks the figure had dropped to 1203 and by early July appeared to have levelled out at around 650 every week.
The camera at Calder Road outbound caught the majority of drivers – 9498 of 15,567 between April and July 8.
Councillor Paul Edie, Edinburgh Lib Dem leader, said: “We want to change drivers’ behaviour and get them to obey the rules but 10,000 fines is a very high figure indeed.”
City council chiefs have confirmed that more cameras are set to be rolled out as part of an ongoing review.
The locations being considered include North Bridge, Cameron Toll and Leith Street/Picardy place, with five cameras being rotated around ten sites.
Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “The figures have fallen as the weeks have progressed and drivers have become used to the fact that they could be fined if they use them during prohibited times.”
“The most fundamental question is has the new bus system worked and have journeys speeded up?
“The answer really ought to be made public because that is the reason this system was brought in.
“The authority needs to look at why 650 drivers per week are still going into bus lanes. It seems unlikely it’s deliberate because a substantial fine would put you off, so is there still some confusion over times and signage?
“The authority should be able to use the data to work out when and where people are being fined and get an idea of why that is.
“The writing of signs is often quite small so we could do with a big sign saying ‘rush hour only’ – simpler than a list of times – to make it absolutely clear.
“We sometimes lose track of what these enforcement measures are for.
“If 650 drivers are still being fined then the system is failing them.”