14 January 2021

Northamptonshire County Council will crack down on vehicles illegally using bus lanes – improving journey times for bus users.

The authority will use number-plate recognition cameras to discourage illicit use of the lanes, with fines being issued to offenders.

Enforcement starts on Monday, 1 February but during January, warning notices will be issued to those who flout the rules to act as a warning.

Freeing up the bus lanes makes bus journey times more reliable and therefore a more attractive mode of transport.

It also encourages people to make cycle journeys along the routes with the lanes being relatively safe with lighter traffic.

The measures will be introduced at three sites in Northamptonshire:

  • Drapery, Northampton town centre
  • Weedon Road / St James’ Road, Northampton
  • The bus gate linking Church Street to Cambridge Street in Wellingborough town centre

The need for such measures has already been scoped-out, with three trial sites in the county having had cameras installed to check the level of contraventions:

  • Bus gate, Wellingborough town centre – 11,110 over 18 days
  • Weedon Road, Northampton – 723 over 16 days
  • Drapery, Northampton – 2,987 over 7 days

Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said:

 

Part of the solution to reducing congestion and pollution is to encourage people to use more sustainable forms of transport.

“A real challenge to promoting bus travel is guaranteeing reliable journey times. I believe this plan will make significant improvements in making bus travel an attractive option for commuters.

“I also think it will encourage cycling as the bus lanes, if free of cars, are fairly traffic light and better for those who choose pedal power.

“Obviously at the moment with the Covid-19 pandemic people should only be making essential journeys but this infrastructure will continue to be in place once restrictions are lifted.”

The bus lane enforcement scheme has been in development for more than a year and is an extension of the existing parking enforcement controls.