Birmingham's new bus lane cameras catch 780 offenders a day - netting council more than £1.7m in just 11 weeks
Local drivers say lanes are inadequately signed, but no sympathy from council's transport chief
Ten new bus lane enforcement cameras have caught almost 60,000 drivers in the first 11 weeks of use - a rate of 780 per day.
If all motorists pay the reduced rate of £30 per fine for paying on time, the city council could bring in more than £1.7m from the scheme.
According to a Freedom of information requests from the Birmingham Mail, fines issued from September 3 to November 15 peaked in the first week of October, and there was an amnesty at the start of November, under which multiple tickets issued within minutes of each other were condensed into one fine, bringing the total number down.
Only 933 appeals were made and up to November 15 only 272 cases were upheld.
The camera on Priory Queensway has issued almost a third of the tickets, with locals complaining that many of those affected will have been visiting Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Many have said that the bus lane signs are inadequate, meaning drivers are unaware they could be caught.
Ben Cheney, of Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield, told the Birmingham Mail: “I challenge [the city council’s transport chief] Councillor Ali to meet me in Steelhouse Lane and walk the route into Priory Queensway. I will show him how poor the signs are.”
But Mr Ali said: “We have people blatantly driving in bus lanes. We have big symbols on the road and on the lampposts. They are not taking notice and should expect a fine.”
Tempers have flared over bus lanes in Birmingham in recent months, with a group of cyclists described as “vigilantes” following an incident in October in which it is claimed a taxi was surrounded by riders, with one of the vehicle’s wing mirrors ripped off. The vehicle was attempting to use a bus lane from which taxis are excluded.
The cyclists were taking part in a flash ride organised via Facebook to urge Birmingham City Council to enforce rules that prevent black cabs, also known as Hackney Carriages, from being driven in some bus lanes in the city.
Campaigners blocked the junction of Belgrave Middleway and Horton Square in Birmingham so that only buses and cyclists could use the lanes designated for them. A taxi driver, Abid Hussain, attempted to drive down the bus-only lane and was blocked by campaigners.
After the stand-off that developed, Mr Hussain claimed: “They [the cyclists] were a law unto themselves. I couldn’t move anywhere because of the sheer numbers.
“These people on two wheels, who don’t even pay road tax, were acting like vigilantes.”