More than 42,000 fines have been handed out in just six months at Aberdeen’s Union Street bus gate.
Aberdeen City Council introduced the restrictions back in September 2020 as part of its Spaces for People measures during the pandemic.
However, the cameras were broken for the first six months of 2021, meaning no penalty notices were issued to motorists.
They were repaired in July and between then and December, 42,220 fines were issued to drivers for breaking the rules.
More than £2.5m of fines at Union Street bus gate in six months
Extending from Union Street’s junction with Market Street to the turn-off with Adelphi, the gate only allows buses, taxis, bikes and a handful of other authorised vehicles to go through.
There is both an eastbound camera and a westbound camera to record drivers on the road in either direction.
The fine if caught is £60, although this is reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
This means that the 42,220 fines issued last year have the potential to bring in more than £2.5 million for the council.
Bus gate broken for six months
When the bus gate was first introduced in September 2020, there was just one mobile camera in place which only issued fines when a city warden was manning it.
In the first four months of its operation (September to December 2020) 2,277 penalty charge notices were issued to motorists.
At the time this was declared an “incredibly high number of vehicles flouting the traffic restriction” by councillor Alex McLellan of the SNP.
It works out to roughly 570 fines issued per month. The new figures for the last six months of 2021 show an average of 7,000 fines issued per month.
The reason there are no figures for the first six months of 2021 is that not a single person was fined because of an “unrepairable equipment fault”.
‘Inadequate and contradicting signage’
Ever since the Union Street bus gate was introduced, drivers in Aberdeen have been complaining that the signage to mark out the bus gate is poor.
Some believe that the signs are too small or placed in difficult-to-see locations.
There are usually lots of buses, both double and single decker, on this stretch of road and some drivers believe these buses inadvertently hide the bus gate signs.
Another complaint that some divers have is that there is no space to react after seeing the bus gate sign and wanting to turn around or change route due to the busy nature of the road.
What does the council do with this money?
All cash generated from fines from the city’s bus gates is used to help fund transport projects in the city, like cycle lanes or bus stop improvements.