Is TfL Games Lane 'warnings not fines' tactic working?

Transport for London warning notice for driving in a Games Lane Only warnings were issued in the first six days of the Games Lanes

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Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy always said he would have a softly-softly approach to the £130 fines for driving in the exclusive Games Lanes during the Olympics and it seems the authorities have been true to their word.

I've found out that for the first six days of the Games Lanes from 25 July, Transport for London (TfL) gave out no fines at all and only warnings.

This photo shows a warning which one of our crew cars received (the driver actually had a 'sticker' allowing him in the lane - but that's another story).

It is similar to what TfL did with the introduction of the Low Emission Zone.

It seems to be more interested in compliance and getting behaviour change rather than fining drivers.

'Sensible' system

Since the 30 July TfL has issued 2,400 tickets which it says is "low" compared to the 3,000 a day it gives out for non-compliance of the Congestion Charge.

The reason for that is 98% of drivers are complying with the rules of the Games Lanes and TfL says it will be sensible with the appeals process.

Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for surface transport at TfL, said: "The operation of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and Games Lanes has gone well.

"We have no interest in unnecessarily penalising drivers and, with a very high compliance rate of around 98% to date, the overwhelming majority are following the requirement to stay out of Games Lanes when they are in use.

Start Quote

The operation of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and Games Lanes has gone well”

End Quote Garrett Emmerson TfL

"In order to give drivers time to get used to the changes we've made to the road network we issued warning notices rather than Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) during the first six days of its operation.

"We are now issuing PCNs to drivers who contravene the ORN, but will continue to be proportionate and sensible; we're seeking compliance from drivers, not income from fines.

"To date, some 2,400 PCNs have been issued."

So, how have the Games Lanes been for you? Have you been fined?

Certainly, after the initial confusion it seems the flexibility of the system has worked?

Let me know.

Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    These lanes have been brilliant!
    So many just don't understand the signs and are staying out, that my journeys on the A4 at various times have never been quicker. Up to 50mph (sorry) Earls Court to Chiswick. Some of the right turn restrictions have been a pain but a few left turn/u-turns have solved that.
    Just wish drivers would always utilise "not active" bus lanes more, that would sort delays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    As a regular commuter between Harrow and Camden, I have found the games lanes to be a real boon. Being a cyclist and holder of a motorcycle licence, so I can ride as fast as most white van men.
    The Marylebone Road, Euston Underpass and Euston Road games lanes have been assisting my commute to work. Fast times from Paddington where the lanes start for me.
    After the games make them cycle only lanes!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I wonder how many athletes, press and 'dignitaries' used their very own lane compared to the number of us normal plebs that had to use the other lane.

    Maybe we should have kept the lanes fair as they were and told the Olympics to ‘plan you journey accordingly and allow extra time’. The same bullshit TFL lays on the general public.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    If TfL want COMPLIANCE, why are they fining AFTER the event they seek to prevent? And just recidivists, or also those who came once never to return? Are they fining where no harm was done? 250 tickets suggests discretion. 2,500 on the other hand....

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    so i struggle to see how any discretion was used in not issuing me a ticket. When i called TfL and had a light hearted conversation over the matter the lady at the end of the phone stated that i must have misread the the matrix sign, I reiterated that the actual time plates show 7am to 7pm she then stated that many (brings me to think thousands) of tickets and warnings have been issued wrongly

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Reading this makes me laugh out very loudly... Having received a warning letter from TfL for driving in a Games Lane in Shooters Hill Road.

    This so called warning stated that TfL had used there discretion in not issuing me a ticket. However I'm not sure how discretion was used as the Games Lane at that location is in operation between 7am to 7pm. I was captured in it at 2052hrs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Does TfL change signboards by the day? I've been using the City Rd ORN, an Olympic-Bus-Motorcycle-Cycle lane for my daily commute - except yesterday, mid-lane, I realised the motorcycle icon had disappeared from the sign! I later gathered that this ORN apparently operates only on event days. Meanwhile, on Marylebone Rd, multiple matrix signs said 'All traffic can use Games Lane'...

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I haven't driven my car in any part of London for nearly 15 years so when\i got a 'congestion charge' fine |I wrote and pointed this out ( and that I could prove I was in France on that day)
    Had to go through full appeal process to get them to admit they had made a mistake..I never got an apology, but got my legal costs back
    after my Solicitor issued a writ. They are rissoles

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I was in London for a job a not long after the Lanes were painted.

    Talk about confusing. You'd come around a roundabout to find that suddenly a 10ft stretch of road in one lane was marked for the Olympics.

    You'd exit the roundabout to find that of the two lanes you could go into, one was for buses the other was for the Olympics.

    It's softly-softly or you'd be fining every driver in London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    This sounds like TFL when they sent me a letter telling me my car was exempt from Congestion Charging and then sent me a Penalty Notice for not paying the Charge. When I queried it they agreed that my car was exempt and then charged me £10 for an admin fee!



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