Bus lane rakes in $1m from errant drivers
A 150-metre bus lane in Auckland has racked up more than $1 million in fines in a year.
From November 2016 to 2017, 8462 infringement notices were issued to drivers for breaching the Kingdon St to Broadway transit lane in Newmarket.
Figures released to Stuff under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act showed the notices totalled to about $1.27 million in fines.
Remuera resident Jay Williams said many infringements issued by Auckland Transport amounted to nothing more than ‘‘revenue gathering’’.
In August, Williams was stung with a $150 fine after entering the bus lane 28m earlier than the 50m allowed by law. The signage marking the bus lanes was ‘‘confusing’’ and with other cars ahead it was difficult to see where the 50m entry point started, he said.
Williams, who believed the fine was ‘‘unjust’’, tried to dispute the infringement but his appeal was denied by Auckland Transport.
‘‘AT should be putting this money into resolving the problem rather than just getting this shock- ing amount of money from people.’’
Another common spot where motorists were pinged was the Pah Rd transit lane in Royal Oak, which netted Auckland Council an average $3000 a day in infringement notices.
In the six months from October, 3718 tickets were handed out to motorists trying to beat queues, totalling $557,700 in fines.
Auckland Transport spokesman James Ireland said there was an ‘‘ongoing battle’’ to keep Auckland motorists out of bus and transit lanes. ‘‘This is not about raising money, this is about compliance, and keeping the city moving.’’
Transit lanes, which become active at certain times of the day, are restricted to passenger service vehicles, motorcycles and vehicles carrying the specified minimum number of passengers.
Motorists could only enter a bus lane or transit lane 50m before making a left-hand turn.
‘‘Buses are the backbone of Auckland’s public transport system and it’s essential that they can move as freely as possible,’’ Ireland said.
Regular enforcement was in place across the lanes to keep them running as smoothly as possible, he said.
Te reo sign possible
Plans for a bilingual welcome to Rotorua road sign may proceed after the NZ Transport Agency said it was willing to work with the Rotorua Lakes Council on the issue. Plans for the signage, part of a push to establish Rotorua as New Zealand’s first official bilingual city, had hit a roadblock after the agency cited rules that required signs to be in English. However, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said talks with agency chair Dame Fran Wilde had been positive. ‘‘Council has a constructive working relationship with NZTA and we will keep working on this, we’ll get there. This will set the precedent for other places so it needs to be done properly and we need to get it right.’’ Agency director of safety and environment, Harry Wilson, said the agency was open to exploring options for te reo signage.
Trainee pilots hurt
Two international trainee pilots have been hospitalised after a late night smash that saw one of them thrown from a car on a rural Waikato road. Family members of the two Indian men are flying to New Zealand to support the pair who are in a serious, but stable, condition in Waikato Hospital. The pair were two of three trainee pilots in the vehicle that crashed and rolled multiple times on a rural road near Matamata on Monday night. All of the men lived together while training at NZ Aviation flight school at Waharoa. A 19-yearold man in the back passenger seat was thrown from the car, police said.
Processing issues have meant about 1000 Kiwis have been missing out on their full entitlements under new accommodation supplement rates. However, the error is expected to be rectified by the end of the week and those affected will be repaid. Ministry of Social Development client service support group general manager Dwina Dickinson said the ministry, through Work and Income, provided the supplement to about 290,000 clients. Of these, about 135,000 saw an automatic increase when changes to the weekly payment took effect from April 1. ‘‘We’re double-checking about 1000 records that didn’t process as expected.’’
New Stage Challenge
The team behind the annual Smokefree Rockquest high school events will now be running the replacement for Stage Challenge. In February, Education Minister Chris Hipkins promised that the Government would step in to find a replacement for the popular school cultural event, after it was canned because of a lack of funding. More than 500,000 students had participated in the shows in the past 25 years. Yesterday, Hipkins – a former Stage Challenge participant himself – said a new school arts events would replace Stage Challenge later this year. RockQuest Promotions Ltd (Rockquest) would run the event in 2018, funded by a one-off grant of $800,000 from the Ministry of Education.