Is it so hard not to drive in a bus lane?
It seems we have a wee problem with people being pinged for driving in bus lanes.
The opinion piece:
Throw us a bone, Auckland Transport – bus lane fines are ridiculous
OPINION: It’s hard to go about your daily business in Auckland without transgressing some sort of traffic regulation and being made to pay the price.
Auckland Transport’s coffers are $300 the richer for my ignorance.
Parking outside my gym near Eden Park on a recent Saturday morning I was mindful there would be parking restrictions due to a sporting event later that day; it just wasn’t entirely clear where and when.
It became clear at 11am when I left the gym to find my car being hooked up to a tow truck. Even the warden who issued the infringement advised me to contest it – to no avail, as it turned out.
I also had an idea there was a distance limit as I moved into the bus lane on Great North Road to turn left into the shoppers’ carpark at Pt Chevalier a couple of weeks back, but thought it had something to do with circumstance and location.
Once again enlightenment came in the form of a $150 ticket.
I remonstrated. Auckland Transport (AT) helpfully provided pictures of the manoeuvre and a diagram outlining my offending.
It transpires left-turning motorists are not permitted in a bus lane any sooner than 50 metres before the intersection, regardless of circumstances including the presence or otherwise of a bus.
AT says it enforces it at 70m. I am poorer and wiser because I changed lanes at 89m.
It has since been pointed out that this is a nationwide Land Transport Road User Rule which any driver with a valid licence should be aware of.
I got my licence so long ago I’m not even sure they had bus lanes then.
Ignorance of the law aside, why should anybody be $150 worse off because they are a crap judge of distance?
AT’s bus lane ticket take is on the rise – it earned $2.3 million from the fines last year, 10 per cent more than in 2014 and 18 per cent up on 2013.
It says it is gradually marking the 50m limit on the lanes, as roads around the city are re-sealed.
Meanwhile the agency is busy installing 24/7 bus lanes around the CBD as a means of tackling congestion in the face of an upcoming construction boom.
Either that or employ something that’s free: common sense.
So I ask this: why should bus users be infringed by car users not following the law through infringing on a bus lane. The answer is they (the bus users) should not.
So here is the counter-opinion:
- $150 and 10 demerit points for being pinged in a bus lane
- $400 and 35 demerit points for being pinged using a cell phone while driving
The safest way not to be pinged is not to infringe the bus lane unless committing to your turn within 50 metres from the point of your turn itself.
People say they would leave their cars at home if buses (in this case) were more reliable and not stuck in traffic. Well that is what a bus lane is for to get those buses moving thus making wanting to use the bus and leave the car at home more attractive. We can not exactly do that if we have cars constantly infringing the bus lanes now can we?
The next five years are going to be fun times in the City Centre with major works to get under way. Patience and doing our bit while in the City Centre will make everyone’s live just that little bit easier in the morning and evening commutes.