Results from review of controversial bus lane in Northampton 'announced shortly'

Another furious driver contacts the Chron after being caught on camera avoiding car turning right into petrol station

Friday, 25th June 2021, 2:52 pm
The Weedon Road bus lane camera in the top right of the picture.

The outcome of a review of the controversial bus lane camera in Northampton will be announced "shortly", West Northamptonshire Council has said.

The pledge came after yet another motorist contacted the Chronicle & Echo to complain after being caught by the camera in Weedon Road, opposite Westbridge Garage.

Many motorists have complained about the siting of the camera because they say they have to go into the bus lane to avoid people turning right into the petrol station. Drivers have been calling for the camera to be moved or for the bus lane to be altered at that point in the road.

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The camera, which is the only one on the one-mile stretch of the bus lane, caught 10,000 drivers over two months, resulting in fines of at least £300,000.

The latest motorist to contact the Chron has labelled the camera a "cash cow" after being caught going into the bus lane to avoid a vehicle turning into the garage.

The driver, Sam, says she was sent a video of the incident of the breach and saw at least another six cars doing exactly the same thing as her within a 10-second time period.

She has been fined £60, which can be reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks.

Sam said: "I am going to avoid going that way altogether. I'm not going to cause a tailback because someone wants to get into the garage. There's an empty bus lane we should be able to use for five seconds.

"I put the video on Facebook and the amount of people who also said it was disgusting. There have been comments saying we should boycott the garage. Maybe we should, and then the garage will moan and the camera will be taken away.

"This has happened to so many people before that instance. It's just a money grabbing incentive. It's disgusting."

Sam said she would like to see a dotted white line on the road which allows motorists to enter the bus lane to undertake stationary cars going into the garage.

The 24-hour bus lane was introduced in August 2020 as part of West Northamptonshire Council's Covid plans, which is to essentially encourage more people to bike and use the bus to cut down on emissions.

West Northamptonshire Council did not respond to questions about the number of drivers seen in the 10-second video clip.

But in a written statement from Councillor Phil Larratt, portfolio holder for climate, transport, highways and waste services, they said the results of a review of the scheme were imminent.

“Bus lane enforcement ensures that priority for buses and taxis is maintained," Councillor Larratt said.

"We have instigated a review of the Westbridge / St James bus lane scheme and we will announce the outcome of this review shortly.

"The hours of operation and positioning of the bus lane camera are being taken into account in the review process.

"The number of motorists receiving fixed penalty notices has been high although numbers are currently declining as awareness of the camera is increasing.

"For more information about bus lane enforcement in West Northamptonshire please visit https://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/northamptonshire-highways/parking/Pages/bus-lane-enforcement.aspx