Despite what some claim, the main issues with bus and transit lanes are that there are not enough of them, that they don’t operate for long enough and that even where they do exist, they can become clogged with cars ignoring the rules. On that last point, the key way to fix the issue is through enforcement. For AT that means a few staff that move around the different bus and transit lanes to monitor compliance, but compliance. But often, as soon as there is no monitoring, drivers will quickly revert back to old habits.
So it’s interesting, and positive, to see Auckland Transport introducing CCTV cameras to monitor one of Auckland’s most important bus lanes, on Fanshawe St. As I discussed the other day, Fanshawe St is a critical bus corridor and at peak times moves 2.5 times more people than the two general traffic lanes combined. This message appeared late last week with little fanfare on AT’s page for bus and transit lanes.
From 10 July, Auckland Transport will be using CCTV cameras to actively monitor all vehicles travelling in the Fanshawe Street bus lane. Vehicle infringements will be issued to unauthorised vehicles driving in these lanes. If you need to enter the bus lane to turn left, this can be done up to 50 metres from your turn.
The Fanshawe St bus lanes operate 24/7 and no stopping is permitted.
The update to the website may have had little fanfare but it was picked up by both the Herald and Stuff. Here’s the Herald who choose to take a big brother is watching stance. Perhaps they’re not aware or decided to ignore that most traffic lights, and certainly all the big intersections, have camera’s that can be monitored live by AT/NZTA staff.
Big brother is spying on motorists in Auckland from today with the introduction of CCTV cameras on the busy Fanshawe St bus lane.
Auckland Transport has installed the first set of CCTV cameras on Fanshawe St with the ability to monitor motorists and issue fines 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Until now, enforcement officers with a mobile camera on the footpath have been monitoring the bus lane for up to three hours.
Two cameras are installed on the bus lane leaving the city, before and after the BP petrol station, between Nelson St and Halsey St. Motorists will only get fined if they are caught on both cameras.
I certainly hope we see more cameras rolled out to other bus lanes. Improving enforcement will help ensure those bus lanes stay free of cars and therefore keep buses moving faster. That in turn makes buses more attractive to users and and more efficient to operate.
Fanshawe St is an interesting corridor to start with because not only is it one of the busiest bus lanes in Auckland, it also seems to have relatively decent compliance from what I’ve seen – although I’m normally travelling in the counter-peak direction. The biggest issues with it tend to be with cars pulling into the AT parking building, the BP petrol station and people heading west and turning left on to Halsey St. Stuff reports that just 687 infringements were issued in the last 12 months.
Overall this seems like a positive step and look forward to camera’s being rolled out to other bus lanes. And they would work even better combined with expanding the bus lane network and bus lane hours.