Drivers face CCTV clampdown on using bus lanes

OFF LIMITS ... bus lanes in South Tyneside..
OFF LIMITS ... bus lanes in South Tyneside..

DRIVERS illegally using bus lanes in South Tyneside are to be targeted by a new clampdown, it has been revealed.

South Tyneside Council is warning motorists to steer clear of bus lanes or risk being hit with a £60 fine.

The authority is to install portable CCTV cameras on poles to enforce restrictions on bus lanes in the borough.

Use of the lanes was previously policed by a manned CCTV vehicle, but it is now being redeployed to tackle illegal parking outside schools, said to be an increasing problem.

Bus lanes were introduced to reduce the number of pedestrian casualties and improve public transport services in South Shields town centre.

However, bus drivers are reporting seeing up to 40 motorists an hour using bus lanes illegally, leading to services being delayed.

The plan is for the cameras to be rotated around five sites across the borough on a three-monthly basis.

Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “It has always been illegal to drive in the bus lanes during the restricted times.

“We are just introducing a new method of enforcement.

“The CCTV vehicle is being used increasingly to improve road safety outside our schools, which is one of our key priorities.

“We will be using two semi-fixed cameras, meaning they can be rotated on a three-monthly basis around five different locations.”

Drivers caught using the lanes illegally will face a £60 fine, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Coun Allan West, the authority’s lead member for housing and transport, added: “Bus drivers are reporting problems on bus lanes in Fowler Street and Keppel Street which are delaying their services, particularly during peak times such as rush hour.

“We’re confident that the new cameras will improve bus services’ reliability, as well as generally improving road safety in the area.”

The cameras, to be funded from the council’s local transport plan kitty, will be installed in the spring.