Drivers sent warnings over use of bus lanes in Leicester city centre
Hundreds of drivers have been sent official warnings for illegally driving in bus lanes.
Cameras in Charles Street and Causeway Lane, Leicester, caught 245 people entering the restricted roads in the first three days of last week.
Since Monday, drivers illegally driving in the bus lanes have been sent letters warning them that from July 2, anyone ignoring the "bus only" signs will get a £60 fine.
The Mercury monitored the northbound lane of Charles Street, beyond Humberstone Gate, on Friday between 1.50pm and 2.20pm. We counted 14 cars pass the camera illegally – compared to 27 we counted during the same time on June 14, the day before the council began to send out warning letters.
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Ady Culpin, marketing manager at First bus company, welcomed the clampdown.
"We support any initiative which helps our drivers get from A to B more easily," he said.
"If the bus lanes are used by cars it causes a problem because it blocks up the lanes, making us late, and affecting the reliability of our services."
He said he was not surprised so many people have been caught flouting the law.
"From the feedback we get from our drivers about the number of people doing this, I am not surprised."
Under the new rules, which have been in force since December, no vehicles except taxis, buses and bicycles can use the bus lane in Charles Street, or the one behind the Highcross shopping centre in Causeway Lane.
There are plans for another camera, which automatically records licence plates, in Rutland Street.
Exceptions include emergency vehicles and authorised vehicles which belong to Leicester City Council and Network Rail.
Councillor Rory Palmer, deputy city mayor responsible for transport, said these early figures revealed the extent of the problem of drivers making illegal use of bus lanes.
"We want our city's public transport to run as efficiently and smoothly as possible," he said.
"Clamping down on drivers who illegally use bus lanes, causing delays and congestion, is one way we can help achieve this.
"We will continue to issue warning notices for a further week. From then, drivers need to be aware they will face a fine for driving in these bus lanes."