(image: Chester Bus Interchange)
Cheshire West and Chester Council is introducing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to carry out bus lane enforcement in Chester.
The cameras will be used to discourage irresponsible drivers who wilfully ignore traffic regulations and drive in bus lanes, slowing up public transport users.
The cameras went live on Monday (19th August), however during the first four weeks drivers caught driving in bus lanes will only receive a warning letter to help educate and raise awareness.
Unauthorised driving in bus lanes is an offence and the police do still have powers to prosecute.
The council is also taking on the power to enforce by use of ANPR cameras, which will improve detection rates and be a more effective deterrent.
Cllr Karen Shore, CWAC cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said: “We’re using bus lane cameras to help us to manage the highway network, and encourage more people to cycle and use public transport, as buses can travel more quickly around the city.”
Cllr Shore explained: “The vast majority of motorists do follow the rules but there is a selfish and irresponsible minority who drive in bus lanes, slowing up buses and disrupting other road users.
“This scheme will also improve journey times for public transport users.”
“Most of the existing bus lanes can also be used by taxis, motorcycles and pedal cycles. All lanes will be clearly signed to indicate which vehicles are permitted in each case.”
Full enforcement using ANPR cameras will officially begin from Monday 16th September in the bus lanes on:
- Chester Bus Interchange Access (off St Oswald’s Way)
- Upper Northgate Street (off the Fountains roundabout)
- Wrexham Road
- Hough Green
The cameras identify cars that drive in bus lanes and result in the owner receiving a £60 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) which is reduced to £30 if it is paid within 14 days.
How does it work?
The cameras will be set up to automatically record digital pictures of vehicles when the driver ignores bus lane restrictions.
These images will then be checked by trained officers, and if a contravention has taken place, a PCN will be issued to the owner.
Cheshire West and Chester Council will use the revenue raised to reinvest in the highways network and transport schemes. All lanes will have prominent, clear signs.