Edinburgh council raises record £1.6 million from bus lane fines

Fines on motorists driving in bus lanes raked in a record £1.6 million for the city council last year. A total of 58,448 notices were issued in 2021/22, more than ever before.

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And opposition councillors today said proper signage was essential to make sure motorists did not end up being punished for driving in bus lanes by mistake.

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The 2021/22 bus fine income of £1,666,301.37 compares with £1,094,584.57 for 2020/21 and £1,375,137.52 in 2019/20.

Cameras were first introduced to enforce bus lane restrictions a decade ago and there are now a total of 26 cameras across the city.

Lib Dem group leader Kevin Lang said the council was right to take a tough approach to people who misused bus lanes.

But he said there were issues about signage and drivers being hit with fines when they did not realise they were doing anything wrong.

"I had a case in Telford Road near my ward where an individual got caught out totally by accident, didn’t realise it was a bus lane. When I went to check it myself the sign was completely obscured by an enormous tree.

More than 58,000 penalty notices were handed out to motorists for driving in bus lanes in 2021/22. Picture: Dan Phillips.

"So it's important the council ensures signage is as prominent and as clear as it can be so people are not being caught out inadvertently."

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And Tory transport spokeswoman Marie-Clair Munro also stressed the need for clear signage. "With the cost of living crisis, people need every penny they can get, so proper signage is important because many drivers sometimes don't realise they're in a bus lane until they have incurred a fine.

"With so many changes to the Capital's road layouts and Spaces for People, many drivers are not familiar with the city centre any more. That can cause confusion as well, especially coming out of Covid when a lot of people have been working from home and not using their cars.

"They come into the centre and they maybe think they have to go into that lane because of the way the road layout is. Sometimes you can be drifting into a bus lane when you haven't realised.”Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “Bus lane enforcement is vital to discouraging the misuse of bus lanes by drivers, which in turn increases bus journey times, disadvantaging the thousands of people who choose to travel by bus.

Enforcement cameras for bus lanes were first introduced in Edinburgh in 2012/13 and there are now 26 across the city. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor.
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“We’re committed to encouraging the use of clean, efficient public transport and we need to support that through a variety of measures, and better enforcement of bus lanes is part of this. We’re also hoping to both increase the number of bus lanes and level of enforcement in Edinburgh, in partnership with public transport providers.”

He said the matter was due to be discussed at the transport committee in October with the aim of ensuring a “clear and consistent” approach.

He added: “Drivers can, of course, avoid bus lane charges by adhering to the rules and staying out of bus lanes during hours of operation. Any surplus income accrued is invested back into our roads and transport infrastructure, including public transport improvements.”

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