Bus lane penalties come into effect
A camera crackdown and £90 fines for drivers beating congestion by using bus lanes comes into full force today .
A three-week warning period for motorists has ended with strict penalties now on the cards for car users using public transport routes on six busy roads in Belfast.
The congested streets will be monitored by fixed cameras and a seventh roving camera on the move to catch drivers illegally using bus lanes to jump queues and cut across traffic.
Danny Kennedy, Stormont Regional Development Minister, said the crackdown includes a simple message for Belfast's motorists.
"At the beginning of June I introduced measures to reduce the number of drivers illegally using bus lanes," he said.
"To help drivers realise that if they ignored the restrictions they would risk a fine I applied a three-week warning period when offenders would receive a warning letter. That warning period has now ended.
"The advice is simple, observe the bus lane restriction and avoid the likelihood of a fine."
The £90 fines for abusing bus lanes will be reduced to £45 if paid within 14 days and drivers will have the right to appeal a penalty.
Cameras will be fixed in Belfast city centre at Castle Street, East Bridge Street, Donegall Square East, Donegall Square South, Great Victoria Street and College Street East.
The Department of Regional Development insisted the 50km of bus lanes in Greater Belfast are clearly marked and can be used by buses with more than nine seats, public hire taxis, emergency vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles.