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Drivers caught in Chester city centre bus lanes will face a fine

New enforcement cameras will go live this summer

(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Drivers caught using bus lanes in Chester city centre will face fines when new enforcement cameras go live later this summer.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is introducing bus lane enforcement using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to discourage irresponsible drivers who wilfully ignore traffic regulations and drive in bus lanes, slowing up public transport users.

Unauthorised driving in bus lanes is an offence and police will still have powers to prosecute.

But the council is also taking on the power to enforce by ANPR cameras, which it says will improve detection rates and be a more effective deterrent.

The new scheme will also improve journey times for public transport users. As part of this scheme new Traffic Regulation Orders will be prepared which will set out which other vehicles can use bus lanes.

Most of the existing bus lanes can also be used by taxis and bicycles. All lanes will be clearly signed to indicate which vehicles are permitted in each case.

The enforcement using ANPR cameras – already in place in other major cities around the country – will start in bus lanes on:

Chester Bus Interchange Access (off St Oswald’s Way)

Upper Northgate Street

Wrexham Road

Hough Green

A second phase is likely to include:

Sealand Road

Love Street

The cameras identify cars that drive in bus lanes and result in the owner receiving a £60 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) which is reduced to £30 if it is paid within 14 days.

The cameras will be set up to automatically record digital pictures of vehicles when the driver ignores bus lane restrictions. All lanes will have prominent, clear signs.

These images will then be checked by trained officers, and if an offence has taken place, a PCN will be issued to the owner.

'Selfish and irresponsible minority'

The Council’s Director of Place Operations, Maria Byrne, said: “We’re using bus lane cameras to help us to manage the highway network, and encourage more people to cycle and use public transport, as buses can travel more quickly around the city.

“The vast majority of motorists do follow the rules but there is a selfish and irresponsible minority who drive in bus lanes, slowing up buses and disrupting other road users.

“We’re currently setting up all our back office systems and the additional enforcement will be introduced in phases later this summer. More information about the start dates will be available soon.”

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