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Drivers heed bus lane message

Drivers heed bus lane message

The first year of Auckland City’s bus lane enforcement campaign has seen the number of infringement notices drop dramatically, especially during the afternoon peak.

In March last year, the council launched an extensive enforcement campaign warning drivers that driving in bus lanes during their operational hours incurred a $150 fine.

According to Chris Geerlings, Auckland City’s parking services manager, figures show that Aucklanders are now overall heeding the bylaw.

“Research has shown that last year’s campaign has helped somewhat – people are sticking to their own lanes and keeping bus lanes clear. This is good news as it was never seen as a revenue raising exercise, it was simply a way to keep buses moving,” he said. “We want to remind the public that this bylaw is permanent and will continue to be vigorously enforced.”

Comparing figures* taken prior to last year’s campaign to August 2003 show that the morning offence rate has dropped from six per cent to 2.5 per cent, while in the afternoon it dived to 1.9 per cent from 13.2 per cent. Over the morning period the highest infringement rate is between 8.10am to 8.40pm, while the afternoon period peaks at around 6pm.

The bylaw is simple: drive more than 50 metres illegally down the lanes during the hours of 7am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm and you could cop a $150 fine. It is proposed that eventually all Auckland City parking officers will be specially trained to issue fines for the moving vehicle violation. Discussion is underway for the Police Commissioner to issue a warrant to such effect.

*Figures taken from May/June 2002 infringement rate research.

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