Bus lane rakes in $1m from er­rant driv­ers

Waikato Times - - News - ADAM JACOBSON of money from

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 the large num­ber of in­fringe­ments is­sued by Auck­land Trans­port (AT) 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’’, at­tempted to dis­pute the in­fringe­ment but his appeal was de­nied by AT.

‘‘AT should be putting this money into re­solv­ing the prob­lem rather than just get­ting this shock­ing amount 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.

AT 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 left­hand turn.

‘‘Buses are the back­bone of Auck­land’s pub­lic trans­port sys­tem and it’s es­sen­tial that they can move as freely as pos­si­ble, and this is why bus and tran­sit lanes are so im­por­tant,’’ Ireland said.

Reg­u­lar en­force­ment was in place across the lanes to keep them run­ning as smoothly as pos­si­ble, he said.

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