Cameras will help improve bus travel
Traffic enforcement cameras always cause controversy and those introduced to monitor two bus lanes in Leicester city centre last summer are no exception. The news that they have raked in nearly £450,000 from penalties in four months will strengthen the view held by at least some motorists that this scheme is a "stealth tax" and that its main purpose is to make money for the city council.
This is manifestly not the case, however. The bus lanes in question are in Causeway Lane, which is near to the Highcross centre, and a section of Charles Street.
Both are clearly marked and there are highly visible warnings that bus lane cameras are in operation.
The city council also ran a substantial publicity campaign ahead of the cameras being introduced, including posters, flyers and media coverage on the radio and in the Mercury.
NEW LEBANESE HOME BUFFET EVERY DAY @ CEDARS LEBANESE REST £ 6.99...View details
A LA CARTE MENU ALWAYS AVAILABLE :)
Terms: Entertainment SATURDAY NIGHT Live Belly Dancer
Contact: 0116 2169184
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
In the first two weeks of the scheme, warning notices rather than fines were issued to motorists who were caught on camera in a further effort to raise awareness.
These measures have clearly been aimed at deterring drivers from using bus lanes rather than covertly raising money from the unsuspecting public.
The cameras in Causeway Lane and Charles Street are the first stage of enforcing bus lane restrictions in Leicester and will be extended to other areas in the near future.
All this is being done so that buses can travel freely around the city, which is vital in ensuring that Leicester has an efficient and reliable public transport system.
This will benefit everybody in the long run as it means more people are likely to use public transport, resulting in less congestion and pollution.
Unfortunately, many motorists are still being fined for using bus lanes despite the efforts being made to deter them. The number doing so has decreased since the introduction of the cameras but remains substantial.
Hopefully, as time goes on and word spreads, the situation will improve. A council scrutiny review into this issue is also welcome as it is important to ensure that the system is fair and effective.
What will benefit the city most is car-free bus lanes and nobody being fined.