Vehicles have been caught on camera driving in bus lanes and through bus gates around the town over 5,500 times in the month since Swindon Borough Council introduced camera enforcement on 30th June.
Over the first three weeks, the council issued 4,533 warning notices to drivers instead of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). From 21st July, only issued PCNs, which by 31st July had ben sent to 1,057 vehicle owners.
Most of the drivers had gone through bus gates. All the lanes and gates where drivers were caught had clear warning signs about the enforcement, carried out by using five mobile cameras which recognise vehicle registration plates.
Right, the bus gate on Torun Way in Haydon End, North Swindon
Cllr Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet member for Highways, Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transport, said: "We did not want to have to install cameras, but the number of people caught using bus lanes and bus gates shows the scale of the problem. These features are important parts of the transport network in Swindon, because they reduce congestion and encourage the use of timely public transport.
“We took a responsible approach by sending warning letters for the first three weeks, instead of issuing fines immediately. However, there are clear warning signs, and from now on if drivers ignore them, fines will be issued.”
The owners of 680 vehicles received more than one warning notice, and 103 have received more than one PCN. The record number of warning notices issued to one car was 20, for repeatedly driving through the same bus gate.
This driver ceased driving through after the date when PCNs were introduced, although among the drivers who received a warning letter, 130 went on to contravene again, attracting a PCN.
Unauthorised drivers using the 19 bus lanes or 24 bus gates will receive the nationally agreed fixed penalty charge of £60, although if drivers pay within 14 days this reduces to £30. It increases to £90 is not paid within 28 days.
As with parking fines, there is an appeal process, and a national independent adjudication service is available if drivers are dissatisfied with how the council has dealt with any appeal.