Northern Ireland

Drivers fined £4.2m for using Belfast bus lanes

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Media captionMotorists can appeal their fines if they believe they are unfair.

Drivers have been fined more than £4m for using Belfast's bus lanes illegally in the past four years.

One fixed camera on Donegall Square East, next to Belfast's City Hall, has generated £1.5m since 2015, official figures show.

A fixed camera on Great Victoria Street raised £890,342 in fines.

Motorists caught using bus lanes illegally face a fine of £90, although this can be reduced to £45 if paid within 14 days.

Motorists can also appeal their fines if they believe they are unfair.

'Improving road safety'

The first bus lanes opened around Belfast city centre in 2012.

The money from Penalty Charge Notices was raised between the introduction of the measures on 22 June 2015 and 28 February 2019.

Belfast bus lane fines

Top 5 locations (2015-2019)

  • £1.5mDonegall Square East

  • £890,342Great Victoria Street

  • £521,787Castle Street

  • £487,815College Square East

  • £257,485Donegall Square South

Source: Department for Infrastructure

In 2015, six fixed bus lane enforcement cameras were installed around Belfast at a cost of £162,600 in:

  • Donegall Square South
  • Donegall Square East
  • Great Victoria Street
  • East Bridge Street
  • College Square East
  • Castle Street

The fixed camera on Castle Street raised £521,787, while a camera near the Grand Opera House on College Square East raised £487,815 and one on Donegall Square South raised £257,485.

Elsewhere, in and around Belfast, motorists straying into bus lanes can be caught by mobile CCTV camera vehicles, police officers or traffic attendants.

The department's aim was to reduce the number of vehicles illegally parked on roads or driving in bus lanes or other bus priority measures, said a spokesman.

"This in turn reduces traffic congestion and helps traffic to flow more freely, assists delivery vehicles, allows buses to keep to their timetable and improves bus journey times," he said.

The system also improves road safety and provides accessibility for all road users, including blue badge holders, added the spokesman.

After the cost of operation and collection is removed, the money collected is reinvested into services provided by the department.

Information, released by the Department for Infrastructure this week after a freedom of information request, shows £5.34m was spent upgrading the bus lanes for Belfast's Glider system, which was introduced in July 2018.

Spending for the developments around the Upper Newtownards Road and Falls Road to allow the city's Rapid Transit System to become operational involved:

  • Land acquisition
  • Upgrades to street lighting
  • Resurfacing of footways

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