More CCTV cars to hit Plymouth streets to crack down on motorists
DRIVERS who use bus lanes and park in bus bays could face a tough new crackdown by city transport chiefs.
Under plans by the new Labour city council, revealed exclusively to The Herald, motorists can expect to see a range of measures. They include:
More of the controversial camera cars on Plymouth's roads.
A new bus lane along Outland Road.
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Camera cars patrolling outside school gates to catch illegally parked cars.
Buses' on-board CCTV being used to spy on errant motorists.
City Cabinet members yesterday gave approval for the council to join the national Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee.
Membership of the adjudication service means the council will be able to fine drivers for using bus lanes. Bus-lane offences can still be enforced by the police, issuing Fixed Penalty Notices, but this would give added powers to the council's bow.
Cllr Mark Coker, the city's Cabinet member for transport, told the Cabinet: "It will enable public transport to get through faster.
"That will help the elderly and the disabled. At present buses often cannot get into bus bays because of parked cars."
Enforcement cameras have been operating on bus lanes in the city since March, although the council has not yet started issuing fixed penalty notices.
The council has also used a camera car to catch drivers parked illegally.
Mr Coker later revealed that, in moves aimed at speeding up public transport, he is considering buying a fleet of the controversial camera cars.
And he warned that parents collecting their children from the school gates may need to look over their shoulders.
"The camera car is here to stay," Mr Coker said. "It's doing a good job, especially around the city centre. It does act as a deterrent.
"We need to look at widening the scope. There have been a lot of requests to use it at school gates.
"We are looking at the possibility of getting more camera cars. But it's not about increasing revenue. It's about safety."
Mr Coker also revealed that his officers were talking to bus companies about using on-board CCTV from buses to spot cars driving or parked in bus lanes.
"Bus lane enforcement is supported by all the bus companies and by bus passengers," he said. "As Plymouth grows this is going to be more and more important."
He added: "We have a commitment to introduce more bus lanes, and that is going to be more important around the city.
"We are looking at Outland Road to see what can be done."
Private hire driver Andy Ash, who led a campaign against the camera car last year, said he no longer cared if the council got 100 camera cars after a recent High Court ruling.
Mr Ash said the ruling meant that "we are 95per cent of the way back to where we were before the council got a camera car".
A Plymouth City Council spokesperson said last night: "We are monitoring the use of bus lanes by motorists and introduced our camera car in November 2010.
"Bus operators have reported improvements in bus punctuality and a reduction in passenger injuries since the introduction. We have also seen improved safety around schools.
"We are actively engaged in a campaign to educate and raise awareness to the correct use of bus lanes.
"We continually look at ways in which we can improve bus punctuality and road safety and we have been asked to continue to explore a range of options.
"No further plans have been developed at this stage."
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