Plymouth bus lane fine cameras to go live next week
DRIVERS caught veering into bus lanes to cheat their way out of traffic jams can expect to be hit with stiff fines from this weekend.
The council launched a tough crackdown on bus bay parkers and drivers who flout bus lane rules earlier this year.
New enforcement cameras were brought in to target bus lanes at the end of March.
Until now, however, a 'grace period' has meant motorist captured on camera breaking the rules have escaped without a fine.
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But that is now set to change, after the city's transport chief moved to tweak the local authority's powers.
From Monday, motorists caught on camera beating heavy traffic by using bus lanes can expect a £60 fine to land on their doorsteps.
The council launched a bus lane education and awareness campaign in March, in partnership with bus operators, the police and contractor Amey.
A report drafted ahead of the decision to begin imposing fines, made at the weekend, states that: "Following this campaign, Plymouth City Council will be undertaking enforcement of bus lane contraventions".
It continues to say enforcement will come "through issuing Penalty Charge Notices, using Automatic Number Plate Reading cameras".
The move, though initiated by the city's former Tory administration, is among a raft of transport measures being drawn up by the new ruling Labour group on the council.
The Herald revealed last month how Plymouth could get a whole fleet of controversial camera cars, some patrolling outside school gates.
A new bus lane along Outland Road and CCTV on board buses to spy on errant motorists are also among the measures being considered by the council's Cabinet member for finance, councillor Mark Coker.
Councillors last month approved the idea of joining the national Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee.
Membership paved the way for the council to begin fining drivers for using bus lanes.
The offences could already be enforced by the police.
But Cllr Coker said at the time: "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.
"Bus lane enforcement is supported by all the bus companies and by bus passengers.
"As Plymouth grows this is going to be more and more important."
The move is subject to a call-in by other city councillors, which would delay the introduction of the £60 fines until the measure is debated.
However, a consultation period on the plans earlier this year returned not a single objection, the council said.