AA: Bus lane cameras likely to cause dissent

Paul Watters says bus lanes in Belfast need to be used intelligently
Paul Watters says bus lanes in Belfast need to be used intelligently

In a recent AA-Populus poll, 64 per cent of drivers in Northern Ireland considered bus lane cameras to be acceptable.

Some 28 per cent of those who considered them to be acceptable said they felt strongly about it.

Of the 22 per cent who disagreed, 10 per cent disagreed strongly.

However, Belfast’s bus lanes cameras may change that view in the city.

In Scotland in particular, bus lane cameras have created huge debate in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

These cameras have been raking in millions of pounds every year and increasingly drivers are regarding them as a blunt instrument and stealth revenue raiser.

Judging by the initial number of infringements it looks like in Belfast too, we will see some dissent from drivers if the cameras are not used ‘intelligently’.

Intelligent bus lanes are ones that have plenty of buses in them, are well designed, properly signed, and don’t have features that entice unauthorised or unfamiliar traffic in.

In Glasgow, tourists in hire cars were often the target of penalties and the result was the city was regarded as being tourist unfriendly.

So Belfast bus lane enforcers should use their ‘stick’ (the penalty charge) carefully and intelligently.

With technology doing the enforcing, it is possible to use it sensibly so the worst offenders are treated differently to those who make one mistake and just deserve a warning.

It is also essential not to ticket people who move into the bus lane to let an emergency vehicle through.

In other cities penalties in these circumstances created an outcry.