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Council to take on bus lane enforcement

Cameras which will be used to fine people illegally driving in Wolverhampton's bus lanes will begin operating from next April if councillors back the plans next week.

The council's cabinet resources panel is being asked to support the authority taking over responsibility for bus lane enforcement from the police when it meets on 21 October.

A report to councillors states that competing pressures and priorities on police time have led to inconsistent enforcement of bus lanes with the result being that many motorists now have blatant disregard for the law.

The council carried out a monitoring exercise in 5 Wolverhampton bus lanes and found 240 vehicles illegally driving in them in just 12 hours.

The city has 22 bus lanes and bus gates and it is intended to introduce camera enforcement in phases.

Phase 1 would go live next April and the first lanes to be enforced would be:

  • Cleveland Street - city centre
  • Stafford Street/A449 outbound between the city centre and Five Ways Island
  • Wednesfield Road A4124 inbound
  • Wolverhampton Road A4124 outbound
  • Willenhall Road A454 inbound and outbound

Once phase 1 is operating successfully and the number of contraventions have decreased, it would then be proposed to implement phase 2 which would include Market Street, Ring Road St David's and Victoria Square between Lichfield Street and Berry Street.

Councillors will hear that once set up and ongoing maintenance costs are paid for, any surplus money raised by fines will be used to improve the city's roads and public transport.

Penalty charge notices of £70 would be issued to motorists found to be driving in bus lanes. The fines would be reduced to £35 if paid within 21 days.

Councillor Peter Bilson, cabinet member for economic regeneration and prosperity, said: "Bus lanes are there to encourage public transport by improving reliability and reducing congestion.

"It is clear from the monitoring we have done - and people will have seen this with their own eyes - a considerable number of motorists have a blatant disregard for the law and drive in bus lanes.

"In common with many other towns and cities across the country, we are now looking to takeover bus lane enforcement from the police and use cameras which are able to automatically read vehicle registration numbers to deal with this problem.

"We aren't looking to catch anyone out. We will be making people very aware that the cameras are being introduced and publicise the fact before they go live.

"Any money raised over and above the costs of introducing the scheme will be invested back into Wolverhampton's roads. As long as people obey the law and don't drive in bus lanes, they have nothing at all to worry about."

  • released: Tuesday 14 October, 2014