Number of Bus Lane Cameras to Quadruple in Brighton and Hove
The number of cameras catching out drivers in bus lanes is set to quadruple as part of a £2 million transport project.
The funding will see 21 new cameras installed in Brighton and Hove including eight along a two-mile stretch of Preston Road heading into the city centre.
Motoring and civil liberty groups claimed the cameras were designed to “rake” millions of pounds from motorists rather than bring in safety benefits.
But the council said the cameras would make drivers think twice about driving in bus lanes while the total package would help get the city moving more freely.
The cameras will cost £315,000 in total with further investment on puffin crossings, bluetooth receivers gathering traffic data for the council and new computer systems.
The AA called for a grace period of three months around the introduction of the cameras and a “three strikes and your fined” approach.
More than 5,500 fines for driving in the bus lane were issued in Brighton and Hove in 2014/15.
These fines totalled £400,000 with just 15 tickets successfully appealed.
Bus lane cameras were introduced nine years ago and the latest figures show seven fixed and mobile cameras were in operation around the city – as of last April.
The £2 million Government funding for the smart transport technology scheme was obtained under the previous Green administration and will also give residents much more precise information on travel times around the city.
The AA’s Luke Bodset described the spread of bus lanes through cities as a “national plague” to “rake in millions” from drivers.
He said: “Our experience is that these are not designed as a deterrent but to be profit driven.
“Drivers are not lemmings throwing themselves into bus lanes, those who are caught out will be holidaymakers not familiar with the roads layout.
“Their memories of the city will not be of the beach or the attractions but of the fine they receive.
“This will not do the image of the city any good.”
Charles Farrier of the No CCTV campaign group said: “Increasingly we are seeing councils like Brighton and Hove using number plate cameras to extract money from motorists.
“This use of cameras is a costly back-door tax on motorists.”
Cllr Mitchell, chairwoman of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “It is all part of a package that will see enforcement extended to other bus lanes in the city.
“It will make people think twice about taking that risk and driving in the bus lanes.
“It is all about achieving an integrated system that speaks to itself, we can upgrade traffic systems which will interact with each other much better.”
Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses, said the investment was needed to make the city’s “increasingly congested roads” more resilient and improve traffic flow.