New bus lane cameras catch 1,680 Liverpool drivers SPY cameras to catch motorists abusing bus-only lanes in Liverpool city centre have caught more than 1,680 in their first three days in operation.
Council chiefs have been amazed by the numbers of people caught breaking the rules since the cameras were activated on Monday.
But those caught will escape the £60 fine as the council is issuing “dummy tickets” for the first few weeks on the new scheme.
Drivers using the bus lanes in Lime Street, Old Haymarket/St John’s Lane, and the right turn into James Street from The Strand face the fine.
The penalty is reduced to £30 for early payers.
Parking manager Roy Tunstall said: “I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the number of people abusing the bus lanes.
“It is an amazingly large number of people, I have to admit I am quite alarmed by it.
“We knew there was excessive abuse, but not like this.
“We are hoping that in time the number starts to fall, but realistically there will always be motorists who flout the rules.”
Surveys show in the three initial sites identified, up to 77% of motorists abuse the bus lane.
Officials anticipate around 10,000 tickets will be issued each year.
Taxis – both hackney cabs and private hire vehicles – can use the bus lanes.
The cameras are linked to a control room and recordings will be checked before a penalty notice is issued to bus lane hogs.
There will also be checks to ensure there are no mitigating circumstances, such as broken down vehicles.
Last year, the council said the cost of the scheme, including improved lane signage and camera installation, was £235,000, with the running costs estimated at £210,000 a year.
Mr Tunstall said: “We have got to support the use of public transport, and the way the council can do that most effectively is by cutting journey times. To do that we have to give buses priority on certain routes, we need to have bus lanes with proper enforcement.
“Talking as a motorist I know how irritating it can be when you are complying by the rules and see others breaking them.
“People have been used to a free run, so we are expecting to be catching a lot of people in the beginning with it starting to level off.”
He said the council had spent more than £100,000 on publicity and highly visible signs to make sure people did not have the excuse of saying they did not know about the enforcement.
The local authority has also invested in new computer software. THE ECHO