Bus lane cameras and a few more seconds of fame

Last night the BBC called in search of commentary on the new bus lane cameras.  Only the last question got used, but Tara Mills and I talked for over a minute and a half about why I think the cameras are good news for law-abiding motorists, the amount of the fine (same as a parking ticket) and Belfast traffic (with a name check for Wesley Johnston) and bus usage, including my suggestion that the City Council should have capitalised on off-peak access to Belfast for those who want to shop outside rush hour.

I’ll write in a little more detail about the principles on Slugger later on, but for now here are the notes I wrote last night to talk around. The last paragraph is more or less what got broadcast.

I think the bus lane cameras are great news for motorists, buses and cyclists, despite what Jimmy Spratt said on behalf of the committee for regional development last July about it being nothing more than a revenue generating tax.

I’ve sat too often either driving or with my wife at the wheel in the outside lane at 8.30am watching dozens of private cars go up the inside, including some private hire taxis. I came to the conclusion that the Ormeau road bus lanes actually had a different set of three letters beginning with B.

I’ve sat on buses delayed waiting for gaps to pull round parked delivery vehicles, and slowing down other traffic as a result. This morning I was on my bicycle depending on the kindness of motorists to let me out and round – slowing them down.

In the end, the law-abiding motorist has nothing to fear, although as a motorist I hope to see discretion where people duck round a car turning right without holding up legitimate buses, cycles and public hire taxis in the bus lane.

There are issues of buses not using lanes which are designed to take them where they are going. The Donegal square South camera, if it stops others using the bus lane, I hope will see more buses go through the bus gate at line hall street as designed.

The proof will be in the eating. The PSNI are perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having paid relatively little attention to bus lanes, and I think that is why there was so much abuse. NSL will also have to up their game, as many motorists suffer from delays due to the existing lack of clearway and bus lane parking restriction enforcement on many routes.

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