1 October 2013

Cars in bus lanes could attract £60 fines

Efforts to keep cars out of bus lanes could be stepped up by Brighton & Hove City Council.

Drivers could face £60 penalties for flouting regulations in certain bus lanes, for the first time.

Until now, the council has only issued penalty charges in city centre bus lanes – Western Road and North Street - with about 25 vehicles a day breaking the rules.  Before enforcement in 2006, a local newspaper reporter counted 80 vehicles using a bus lane in a single hour.

The authority is now proposing extending enforcement to all its bus lanes, including Lewes Road, London Road and the A259 near Rottingdean.  A new bus lane is also planned for Edward Street outside the American Express building.
If approved, drivers flouting the rules will receive a £60 Penalty Charge Notice, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.  Cameras will be used to identify vehicles not allowed to drive in the bus lane.

All proceeds from paid penalties must by law be re-invested in transport improvements.  Most currently goes on subsidised bus services for elderly people.

Bus lanes can also be used by taxis - and by cyclists in most places.  An 18-month trial started in May 2013, allowing motorcycles to use the lanes on the A23 and A259 near Rottingdean.

Entrances to bus lanes are made obvious with signs and road markings.

Chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee Cllr Pete West said:  “Bus transport is incredibly important to the city, with about 45 million bus trips a year.  But there is a small minority of drivers using bus lanes and slowing bus journey times.  That’s unfair to the majority who obey the rules in order that the bus system works.

“We do not expect to raise significant revenue.  Instead we expect to almost eliminate abuse of bus lanes.”

Councillors will consider the plan at a meeting of the environment, transport and sustainability committee on October 8.  If approved an exact start date would be announced later.