A SCOTS driver has been fined for driving in a bus lane – three seconds before restrictions came into place.
Janice Warnes was one of 4593 drivers caught in an Edinburgh City Council crackdown on bus lane bandits.
She was slapped with a £60 penalty after her 4×4 was snapped at 7.29am and 57 seconds, in a lane that came into force at 7.30am.
Janice Warnes was caught before the lane came into operation
Ms Warnes was driving from the city centre when she briefly cut into the bus lane.
She said: “We received the letter this morning and couldn’t understand because the time on the fine says 7.29am 57 seconds. It’s either a mistake or the cameras come into operation earlier than the council says they do.
“Now I’m worried how much earlier they start. I drove through at 7.28am this morning, before I got the letter through the door, so I’ll have to wait and see if I’ll get fined for that as well.”
She added that while she supported the scheme the council had to play fair.
Ms Warnes said whe approved of the scheme – provided the council played by the rules
She said: “I do actually think the system is a good idea. I always stick to the rules but the council need to as well. It’s really quite unfair they’re charging people outside the times. But the worst thing is if you appeal you lose the chance to pay the £30 discount fine and could end up with the £60 fine.”
A council spokeswoman refused to comment Ms Warnes specific case but said she was welcome to appeal.
But director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig, said Ms Warnes should not have to appeal as she had stuck to the rules of the road.
“It is just unbelievable,” he said. “The ticket says itself that it is not legal. The cameras have to agree 100% with the signposting. This is exactly the sort of thing that will undermine public confidence in the system.”
Other city motorists have complained that the council is taking up to two-and-a-half weeks to send out fines.
Fiona Patterson was slapped with two penalty notices after she strayed into a bus lane as she turned into her own street.
Many motorists are getting letters weeks after straying into lanes
She said: “Rather than doing a hard left at the junction I moved into the bus lane temporarily,” she said. “The ticket said I had to be in it for at least 10 seconds but I’m sure it was less than that. Now I’m worried that I’m going to have hundreds of pounds’ worth of tickets dropping through the door all week because of where I drove weeks ago.”
A spokesman for the council said the fines were taking longer than normal to process due to the high number of offenders.
He added that the system was designed not to penalise those who strayed into the lanes accidentally or for short periods of time.
But Mr Greig said the authorities had to get their act together.
“It is just incompetence,” he said. “People could be racking up fines without even realising it. It could also make it harder to appeal as people’s memories could fade.
“They should have had the system set up and ready – their excuse is very poor indeed.”