A DRIVER has been hit with £1800 worth of fines after being snapped by new bus lane cameras 30 times in just two weeks.
The motorist – who works as a private hire driver – topped a league table of 82 serial offenders who were caught in the Capital’s Greenways at least five times in the first 14 days of the controversial devices going live.
It also emerged today that, during the first six days of the initiative, city drivers were being hit with a fine once every two minutes in the busiest ticket hotspot, Calder Road.
The council said it hoped effectively targeting persistent offenders would lead to a big drop in the number of people flouting the rules.
However, the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) said it was unfair that black cab drivers were allowed into the lanes while private hire drivers were not.
One of the private hire driver’s colleagues was left with a £780 bill after being caught 13 times. Another six private hire drivers were fined at least six times, while another one has been penalised five times.
Steve Wright, chairman of LPHCA, said: “This issue is being fought all over Britain. Private hire vehicles are taxis in the common language of English and in law. Private hire drivers are being discriminated against. It’s constraint of trade.”
Of the drivers fined five times or more, 64 were car drivers, with the worst offender spotted 11 times in a Greenway. Nine were private hire drivers and another nine were in vans.
In the first six days of the Greenway cameras, 2487 drivers were caught in Calder Road, where two cameras were watching over two separate stretches of road.
In Willowbrae Road, where two cameras were also stationed in two locations, 1709 drivers were caught. In London Road, at Jock’s Lodge, 397 were clocked by one camera.
The council said five cameras will move around ten locations “regularly”, although an exact timetable of when the camera locations will change has not been set. Fines are halved if paid within two weeks and motorists have a right of appeal. If fines are not paid, drivers could face bailiffs or be forced to appear in court.
Brian MacDowall, a spokesman for the Association of British Motorists, expressed his surprise at the figures. “They suggest serious flaws in the planning and layout,” he said.
“A longer grace period would have allowed road users to acclimatise to the new system. If motorists are being caught with that regularity, I would question whether the system is robust enough to leave no confusion.”
A spokeswoman for the council defended the scheme and said it was clear where motorists could or could not go.
She said: “These figures show that there are still drivers who persistently use bus lanes during prohibited times despite extensive publicity about the new enforcement regulations.
“Signs and lines clearly state when drivers should stay out of these lanes. Fining drivers who use these lanes will send out a clear message that these rules are there for good reasons, to cut congestion and pollution.”
n Have you been fined multiple times by the spy cameras? Contact Daniel Sanderson on 0131-620 7938 or firstname.lastname@example.org