ALMOST 1000 bus lane fines are currently outstanding across Edinburgh – costing the council nearly £60,000 in lost income.
New figures show more than 25,000 city drivers have been fined for driving in bus lanes over the last year.
You want to be catching nobody. That’s why, when it becomes just about numbers, it’s the wrong approach.Neil Greig
City chiefs raked in a minimum of £760,000 through the infringements, which carry a fine of £60 if not paid within 14 days of being issued.
But statistics revealed to the Evening News using Freedom of Information laws show 992 fines remained unpaid as of the end of November.
Critics yesterday insisted the council was following the wrong approach – and raised concerns over plans to introduce bus lane cameras on Princes Street as part of a bid to target drivers flouting the road’s traffic ban.
Little France Drive saw the highest number of bus lane infringements, with 6247 fines dished out over the last 12 months.
Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said placing cameras along Princes Street would unfairly target tourists and those who are new to the city.
He said: “Princes Street is a unique street, and it should really be designed in such a way that the rules are clear to those driving into Edinburgh. We shouldn’t need to have bus lane cameras on it.
“It will be tourists and people who don’t understand the system who will get tickets, and that just puts people off coming to Edinburgh.
“Bus lane cameras are almost an admission that [the council] has not quite cracked providing the right information for drivers.”
He added: “With Little France, you have visitors to the hospital and people who are quite stressed. They’re not quite sure what they should be doing and it changes all the time in the city centre as well, which adds to the confusion.
“The council should be trying to reduce these numbers. Really, you don’t want people going down the bus lanes – they’re for buses. You want to be catching nobody. That’s why, when it becomes just about numbers, it’s the wrong approach.”
There are currently only eight bus lane cameras across Edinburgh, compared to 16 in Glasgow, where 128,633 drivers were caught out last year.
But five new city sites are expected to have bus lane cameras introduced in the coming months – Princes Street, Calder Road eastbound, Duddingston Park South northbound, Liberton Road northbound and Lothian Road southbound.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “The purpose of bus lanes is to allow buses to bypass congestion during busy traffic periods, improving journey time reliability and in turn encouraging people to make use of public transport to the benefit of the city’s environment.
“Effective enforcement of bus lane regulations is essential to maintaining this system, and it is the driver’s responsibility to take heed of the signage and road markings to avoid risking a fine.
“The ERI link road at Little France was constructed for the sole use of buses and the bus gate is necessary at this location to discourage through-traffic, which would otherwise attract a build-up of cars to local roads in the area.
“Drivers are expected to follow the clear advanced warnings, signage and road markings which have been installed to alert drivers to the bus lane restriction and have been reviewed on a number of occasions.
“Looking forward, our plans to install cameras on Princes Street are to ensure the prioritisation on public transport along the route, creating a better atmosphere for those visiting, shopping or sight-seeing on the street. Like the rest of the city, these restrictions would be well signed, with any income gained from enforcement invested back into the city’s transport infrastructure.”