MOTORISTS beware - bus lane cameras go live across Chester this month.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is introducing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to catch culprits.

The cameras will be used to discourage irresponsible drivers who wilfully ignore traffic regulations and drive in bus lanes, slowing up public transport users.

The cameras go live on Monday, August 19. Drivers caught driving in bus lanes will only receive a warning letter during the first four weeks to help educate and raise awareness.

Unauthorised driving in bus lanes is an offence and the police will still have powers to prosecute.

But the council is also taking on the power to enforce by ANPR cameras, which will improve detection rates and be a more effective deterrent.

Cllr Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “We’re using bus lane cameras to help us to manage the highway network, and encourage more people to cycle and use public transport, as buses can travel more quickly around the city.

“The vast majority of motorists do follow the rules but there is a selfish and irresponsible minority who drive in bus lanes, slowing up buses and disrupting other road users.

“This scheme will also improve journey times for public transport users.”

Most of the existing bus lanes can also be used by taxis, motorcycles and pedal cycles. All lanes will be clearly signed to indicate which vehicles are permitted in each case.”

Full enforcement using ANPR cameras; already in place in other cities and large towns around the country will officially begin from Monday 16 September in bus lanes on:

  • Chester Bus Interchange Access (off St Oswald’s Way)
  • Upper Northgate Street (off the Fountains roundabout)
  • Wrexham Road
  • Hough Green

The cameras identify cars that drive in bus lanes and result in the owner receiving a £60 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) which is reduced to £30 if it is paid within 14 days.

The cameras will be set up to automatically record digital pictures of vehicles when the driver ignores bus lane restrictions.

These images will then be checked by trained officers, and if a contravention has taken place, a PCN will be issued to the owner.

The council will use revenue raised to reinvest in the highways network and transport schemes. All lanes will have prominent, clear signs.