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.

An Auckland Transport spokesman said Fanshawe St was the first bus lane to be monitored by CCTV cameras. Others will follow, depending on the availability of suitable fibre technology, which could be some time away.

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.

Manned cameras aren’t needed on Fanshawe St anymore, hopefully that means more enforcement on other bus lanes

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.

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  1. Part of the compliance problem is that bus lanes across the city have different hours of operation. Some operate peak only, some peak and non peak; some operate for an hour (looking at you Mt Eden), whereas some operate 24/7.

    If all bus lanes operated 24/7, there would be increased compliance.

    1. +1 We rally need to standardise the hours of operation to simplify things. I think there is some room for three standards though; 6am-9pm and 6am-9am+4pm-9pm lanes. These can then be signposted as ‘peaks’, ‘all day’, and ’24-7′.

      This is way simpler and easier to read than the current mess while still allowing some flexibility.

      1. I’d want to see the afternoon start at 3pm, so that the next generation learn that their school buses can travel with less congestion, if we get things right. It may also reduce the fleet requirements through better utilisation.

      2. 9pm is probably a bit late really – there is usually hardly any traffic at that time of night. 4-7pm or 4-8pm at the most would do nicely. 6am-8pm or 6am-10am+4pm-8pm giving either 14 hours or 2×4 hours per day.

        1. Unfortunately drivers start parking in the lanes 15 mins before they end. Add on the time it will take a bus to reach the end of the lanes, on a bad traffic day when they are needed most, and it means you need them to run longer than you think. This is what they forgot when they made them end at 9am and 6pm.

      3. The new bus lanes near us are 7am to 10am, I imagine that will be the new standardised morning times.

  2. Great: next up some locations where abuse is rife – the 24/7 bus lanes on Park Rd outside Grafton Station (both directions), Symonds St between the SH1 offramp and Khyber Pass Rd, Great North Rd coming down the hill from the Grey Lynn shops towards the St Lukes ramps / Western Springs, Sandringham Rd inbound approaching New North Rd.

    1. Can we include the transit lanes too? Onewa Rd really need permanent enforcement along the whole length.

  3. Perhaps a better thing would be to put the cameras in the front of the buses? Driver controlled, or on automatic feed. They have a pretty good view of drivers in the buslane and can good clear photos of the rego plates…. Commonly used overseas. Cheaper than having to pay a man with a tripod and a silly hat…

    1. Seem to recall that’s what they did in London in the early 90s when they started implementing bus lanes. It was a particular problem around the Kings Cross end of Gray’s Inn Road, so LT buses using that route were fitted with on-board cameras that would record vehicles transgressing into the bus lanes. When the bus returned to the depot, the tape would be reviewed and penalties issued. Caused a monstrous revolt in the Evening Standard but it, eventually, worked. Auckland just being its usual 20 or so years behind the times.

      1. It is also used for vehicles stopped at a bus stop.

        I would prefer Auckland Transport to focus on real issues rather than pretend ones. Vehicles in the Fanshawe St bus lane is only a problem during the morning. It is not a problem 24 hours a day.

        A camera in front of a bus targets real obstruction, being able to target not only bus lane offences but also illegal stopping at bus stops.

        1. And a camera on the side could catch mobile phone infringements while they’re at it.

    2. Didn’t the Inner Link buses get equipped with cameras about 15 years ago because of concerns about parking on inner city bus stops? What happened to that initiative? Or did the cameras not survive the subsequent replacements of the buses used on the route?

  4. I thought the Fanshawe one to be interesting. Generally every second Wednesday morning around 7 am I will move into the bus lane to turn into the BP station. I do this again up the road to turn left to loop back to Hobson. I seek to move into the bus lane not too early but at a time when it seems ‘safer’ and less disruptive to the traffic flow (which is fairly light this time of the day).

    I’m going to have to be more careful about when I do this in the future to avoid any fines, and if there are buses in the lane, possibly stopping and waiting for them to pass before I move left at BP, possibly risking a rear-ending.

    I’m sure there are some who move into the bus lane to try to ‘get ahead’ but for others such as me it’s simply to turn left into these businesses/ facilities. Hopefully I’m not moving into the bus lane too early anyway.

  5. Problem is allot of drivers will drive down the bus lane, then merge into the general traffic lane when they see an enforcement officer. Making the camera fixed just makes this even easier.

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