£3million bill for motorists straying into Leeds bus lanes

Thousands of motorists have been caught driving in the bus lane at Boar Lane, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme.
Thousands of motorists have been caught driving in the bus lane at Boar Lane, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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Bus lane cameras across Leeds have cost tens of thousands of Leeds motorists almost £3million in tickets over the past two years.

The city’s most profitable camera clocked more than 25,000 drivers driving on the bus lane, in Boar Lane, Leeds city centre, in the two years up until April 2014.

More than £250,000 in fines was generated by the city’s second most prolific camera, which caught more than 10,000 vehicles straying into the Kirkstall Road bus lane near Viaduct Road in its first 12 months in action from March 2013.

Leeds City Council has said the cameras are designed to reduce congestion and encourage public transport usage, adding that income generated was ring-fenced for highways spending.

The Yorkshire Evening Post is releasing the figures as part of its new Your Right to Know campaign, in which we uncover financial information, performance standards and statistics from public bodies through legislation available to us.

Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association, has suggested the high numbers of fines might be down to poor signage and planning.

He said: “Badly signed and under-utilised bus lanes can backfire by causing more congestion, confusion and fines.

“Fines of £3m over two years suggest that something is going wrong as nobody wants to receive a fine.”

Adding that a fundamental review is “long overdue”, he said bus lanes can help speed up busses and encourage drivers to switch transport but only if they are well thought out and used.

There are 39 bus lanes in Leeds, of which 22 have enforcement cameras installed on them. Motorists face a £30 fine for using bus lanes, rising to £60 if they fail to pay within 14 days.

Another spot where drivers were caught out was Vicar Lane, where its two cameras issued more than 22,000 tickets over the two-year period, while Burley Road and The Headrow also caught out thousands.

In total more than 90,000 tickets were issued by the cameras and around 2,900 were cancelled by the local authority.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said bus lanes are a key part of the city’s commitment to reducing congestion and improving public transport links.

“We monitor the impact of bus lane enforcement to make sure the measures we have taken are delivering the best possible outcomes for road users,” she said. “Evidence shows that in some locations offences have reduced by 80 per cent suggesting that the cameras are having an impact, making sure bus lanes aren’t congested with traffic that shouldn’t be there so that buses can run to time.”

DRIVERS REACT TO LANE FINES

Thousands of disgruntled motorists have filed appeals against their bus lane fines.

From August 2012 to July 2013 a total of 7,045 appeals were filed by drivers.

From August 2013 to July 2014 a total of 6,137 appeals were filed by drivers.

Over the two years up to July 2014 drivers in Leeds filed 13,182 appeals against fines for driving in bus lanes.

Despite the high number of appeals less than a quarter of those who protested had their tickets cancelled.

During the two year period up to July 2014 appeals peaked in June 2013, when 930 people submitted their grievances.

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