Council Waives Thousands of Bus Lane Fines
Thousands of fines for drivers caught on camera driving in the bus lane on a busy Edinburgh road are to be waived or refunded, the Council announced today.
Drivers were unfairly penalised after being caught by one of two cameras entering bus lanes on Willowbrae Road in East Edinburgh. Edinburgh’s transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said that it was difficult for some drivers to avoid crossing bus lanes when turning into driveways and side streets, or when avoiding a vehicle making a right turn.
Out of a total of 4,301 fines issued on this road, 2,288 had been paid, 510 had been appealed against and 2,013 had not been paid.
In spite of misfiring, the bus lane enforcement scheme will continue, but the two cameras on Willowbrae Road are being removed until "a fair and workable system" can be introduced.
The remaining three cameras will continue to operate as usual on London Road and Calder Road.
The Council also said any driver who is ticketed, and who commits further offences before receiving formal notification of the first ticket, will only be required to pay the first fine. Once a driver has received this formal notification, any subsequent tickets issued will be enforced.
Additional signs are to be erected alerting drivers about remaining bus lane cameras.
Hinds on U-turn on Willowbrae
Hinds asked for a review of the bus lane enforcement policy to be carried out after a higher number of drivers than expected were continuing to use bus lanes during restricted hours despite the new rules.
Hinds said: “The vast majority of drivers in Edinburgh behave responsibly and this scheme was intended to target those who ignored the bus lanes and entered them to the detriment of bus passengers and other drivers. However, it is important that any enforcement action is based on common sense."
She added: “The review which has now been completed has shown that 2 of the 5 cameras in operation, both situated in Willowbrae Road were penalising some motorists who were entering the bus lanes with good reason. One particular area of concern was when drivers entered a bus lane to slow down in anticipation of a left turn across a bus lane. There was also an issue about drivers entering a bus lane in order to avoid queuing behind a right-turning vehicle. Immediate action has been taken to decommission these sites and the officers have been requested to come back in due course with a fair and workable system for these locations.
“In the meantime I have requested that all the tickets issued at this location be withdrawn and that refunds be issued to those drivers who have already paid their tickets.
“In addition, once the problems at Willowbrae came to light, I instructed that apart from suspending these cameras, no further tickets were to be issued at the other 3 locations (2 at the Calder Road and the other at London Road at Jock's Lodge), until each ticket had been carefully scrutinised to ensure that they were justified. Officers have assured me that the review has confirmed that remaining 3 cameras are operating effectively and these will remain in operation. I have been assured that the scrutiny of tickets at these locations has now been been carried out. Of course any driver who feels aggrieved with any ticket issued at these locations has a right of Appeal and we will look closely and sympathetically at each case raised.”
Such has been the confusion created by the bus lane enforcement policy that the Council has issued this set of FAQs:
Q. If I have received a fine for being caught driving in the bus lane on Willowbrae Road am I likely to have it waived?
Q. If I have received a fine for being caught driving in one of the three other bus lane cameras am I likely to have it waived?
A. Only if the driver can provide evidence that they were in the bus lane for a necessary reason (e.g. avoiding an obstruction, making a left turn, making way for emergency vehicles)
Q. Will the three other cameras remain in operation at present?
Q. There were five other sites identified when the camera enforcement scheme was announced. Are they currently enforced in any way at present? Are there plans to introduce cameras at these sites?
A. They are not currently enforced by cameras. Although cameras may be introduced at these locations in the future this will only happen after a full review of how we manage and enforce the bus lanes, which has already started. In addition drivers should be aware that it is an offence to drive in the bus lanes during the specified times and the Police still have powers to enforce this.
Q. It has been reported that there is a backlog in issuing fines. Is this the case and if so how long is it taking to issue drivers with fines?
A. The relevant Regulations allow 28 days from the detection date for a notice to be issued. When it became apparent on 16 May that there were some issues, particularly at Willowbrae, the issuing of notices was suspended to allow the review to be carried out. The notices issued in relation to Willowbrae Road have been withdrawn and refunds will be issued where appropriate. Instructions were also given that no notices were to be issued in relation to the other 3 locations until each ticket had been scrutinised. This has now been done and these tickets are now being issued.
Q. If I appeal my fine today for example when can I roughly expect to receive the ruling on whether it is successful or not?
A. We aim to respond within 10 working days.
Q. Why was someone fined for driving before the stated times of enforcement?
A. There was an error with enforcement software which resulted in six notices being issued incorrectly. This error was promptly corrected and all associated notices have been cancelled.
Q. How many fines for being caught driving in the bus lanes enforced by cameras have been handed out since April 23?
Q. How many appeals have you received since April 23?