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Penalties left drivers furious all over the UK

By Deborah McAleese

Published 14/05/2015

Belfast is set to follow in the car tracks of other cities across the UK where motorists are fined for driving in bus lanes.

Cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Cardiff all have fixed CCTV cameras dotted along their bus lanes to catch out and penalise rule-breaking drivers.

The thinkers behind these schemes say those who abuse bus lanes inconvenience others, put pedestrians, cyclists and other road users at risk and reduce the effectiveness of the city's public transport service.

But slapping a fine on tax-paying motorists caught venturing into a bus lane is not a popular move.

In Edinburgh a similar scheme was suspended just weeks after its launch in 2012 when some drivers were fined simply for crossing bus lanes into the driveways of their homes.

The Scottish city later relaunched the scheme, but still faced fury from motorists.

In Glasgow there was anger over more than 500 penalties being issued every day - raking in £1m in less than three months after they were installed.

Similarly, Leeds council was slammed after a single bus lane camera made more than £250,000 in just 10 months. A staggering 6,259 tickets were handed to motorists who were filmed straying into the lane within that 10-month period - an average of around 20 per day.

And in Cardiff the council made more than £500,000 within the first two months of the scheme.

Many Belfast motorists have voiced their anger at news of the scheme, but they might be even more aggrieved to hear that they face higher fines than motorists elsewhere in the UK.

Anyone caught on camera venturing into a bus lane here can expect a £90 fine (reduced to £45 if paid within two weeks). Elsewhere in the UK the maximum fines are fixed between £60 and £70.

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