Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

In Bus Lanes CCTV to Catch Drivers

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

In Bus Lanes CCTV to Catch Drivers

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Reporter

ROGUE drivers caught using bus lanes will face new fines as cameras target Tyneside's busiest roads. CCTV cameras costing PS80,000 will pick up motorists by their number plates and anyone straying into the wrong carriageway could be served with a PS60 fine.

The scheme, being rolled out later this year, is part of a city-wide project to introduce standardised bus lanes, which will be enforced by the council and not the police.

This means heavy goods vehicles will be banned from every existing no car lane in the city, except a few roads reserved for shop access around Barras Bridge and Percy Street.

Craig Mordue, the council's manager for Parking Services, said the plan would help deal with congestion and ensure the money recouped from fines was spent locally rather than being lost to the Treasury.

He said: "If we pick up the powers and deal with enforcement then that money goes directly to the city and we can re-invest that into the bus network.

"We can make public transport more sustainable and we will have better resources to deal with that.

"It's four or five cameras across the whole city, they are not in every single bus lane - that's not the idea behind it.

"The Great North Road is an ideal place as we don't want a multitude of goods vehicles coming from the A1 and using the road as a short cut."

However, criticism from motoring organisation the RAC and the council's Liberal Democrat opposition leader Anita Lower includes concern that the new cameras are being installed to generate additional income for the authority.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said a common sense approach was needed to enforcement for drivers who cross the lanes for just a few moments.

He said: "Cameras need to be set up fairly and signed clearly so that drivers are not unduly punished for minor errors just to generate more money for the local authority.

"Motorists are generally law abiding with bus lanes and want to obey the rules.

"However, there are some areas that produce exponential amounts of fines and often this is due to poor traffic design that can leave motorists with a difficult choice. …

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