2,335 drivers fined for illegal use of bus lanes in Walsall
More than 2,300 motorists have been fined for illegally using bus lanes in Walsall in just three months, council chiefs have revealed.
A specially-equipped vehicle with a mobile camera has been introduced by Walsall Council to crack down on queue jumpers. There was an initial amnesty period during the summer but since September there have been 2,335 £60 tickets issued.
The penalty is halved to £30 if paid within 14 days. The council said the hard-hitting approach had come after regular requests from bus operators.
The firms want to make sure motorists do not flout the rules.
Transport chief Councillor Adrian Andrew said: "I can confirm that the mobile enforcement camera car previously approved by cross-party full council for enforcement of bus lanes has been operating on a daily basis since July to ensure only authorised vehicles use the bus lanes in Walsall.
"In July and August warnings were issued to motorists using bus lanes.
"Since September fines have been issued to those motorists driving in designated bus lanes. A total of 2,335 fines have been issued since September."
There are bus lanes in Birmingham Road, Walsall; High Street, Bloxwich; Somerfield Place, Willenhall and Wolverhampton Road West, Bentley.
They are also in use around the town centre in Stafford Street, Hatherton Road, Lichfield Street and St Paul's Street. Money generated will be ploughed into operating the crackdown.
The council had originally hoped to have the mobile camera up and running by last autumn, but said there had been technical hitches with the equipment, which had led to hold-ups.
A statement on the council's website says: "Every driver in the borough is responsible for making sure they comply with all traffic regulations.
"Using a satnav is not an accepted excuse for contravening regulations. By entering a bus lane or other restricted area, you will still be held responsible. If in doubt, stay out."
Transport officers have previously said they will also look at the option of removing one of the bus lanes at the Arboretum junction if they can successfully enforce the restriction elsewhere in the town.
A revised layout was created in the town centre two years ago which initially saw scores of motorists hit with penalty tickets.
Hatherton Road was closed to all through traffic at the junction of Hatherton Street, apart from buses and bicycles. It was part of an overhaul ahead of the Tesco supermarket opening. Cars going along Hatherton Street in the direction of the town were also forced to go left at Lichfield Street, and not past the town hall.
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