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Bus Lane Policy Background

Bus Lane Enforcement in Birmingham city centre is now live.
If you drive illegally in a bus lane or bus only street then you may receive a fine.

Bus Lane Policy Background

Why introduce bus lane enforcement?

There are a number of potential benefits to be gained by ensuring effective bus lane enforcement:

  • Bus lane enforcement has been operating successfully in other local authority areas for a number of years. Studies have shown that the number of prohibited vehicles using bus lanes has reduced significantly as a result of enforcement, which has resulted in improved bus reliability, increased road safety and more use of bus lanes by pedal cyclists;
  • Effective and efficient bus lane enforcement will allow the Council and its partners to achieve easier and more consistent journey times for buses through congested areas by allowing the free flow of bus lane traffic; and
  • By improving the public transport network we will encourage commuters to choose more environmentally friendly forms of travel and thereby reduce CO2 emissions.

Background to Bus Lane Enforcement in Birmingham

The Midland Metro Birmingham City Centre Extension and Associated Highway Works report, approved by Cabinet on the 14th March 2011, delegated authority to the then Cabinet Member for Transportation, Environment and Regeneration to consider the detailed scheme proposals for associated City Centre Interchange Improvements (CCI). This included the introduction of a civil Bus Lane Enforcement (BLE) regime through the use of cameras and associated equipment.

CCI works are underpinned by a Statutory Bus Quality Partnership (SQBP) which provides a fundamental step change in bus network management, facilitating the development and delivery of a high quality public transport interchange for the City Centre. The purpose of the SQBP is to protect the investment by the City Council and Centro in new infrastructure associated with the CCI works. This also includes a commitment to enforce bus lanes. A report to the then Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration approved the City Centre QPS on 22nd February 2012.

Previously, BLE in Birmingham relied on powers contained within the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984; these powers can only be enforced by the Police. However, this activity was not a policing priority and the Police were unable to commit resources regularly to this activity. Consequently, drivers became aware that they were unlikely to be prosecuted for bus lane contraventions and a culture of disregard for bus lanes/gates by some motorists became apparent. In order for bus lanes to maintain their effectiveness in providing improved journey times and reliability for existing and potential bus users’ better enforcement was required.

The introduction of BLE within the City initially focuses on supporting wider CCI infrastructure investments and seeks to ensure that the effectiveness of bus lanes is maintained within the City Centre and not eroded by contraventions. The fixed camera locations ensure that the bus lanes can be effectively enforced, supported by mobile enforcement using cameras installed on dedicated patrol vehicles for other bus lanes across the City.

The Penalty Charge Notice level has been set at a value consistent with current Parking PCNs within the permitted levels under the relevant statute; it is estimated that this level will provide sufficient income to cover ongoing costs and allow expansion of enforcement activities in due course. The offence does not carry any endorsement on the driver’s licence.

The city council is required to join the Bus Lane Adjudication Service Joint Committee, which performs a similar role to the National Parking Adjudication Service in terms of representation and appeals against PCNs.

In accordance with Bus Lane Contraventions Regulation 2005 (Regulation 36) revenue generated will be used to cover the costs of setting up, operating and maintaining the scheme with any surplus used in relation to public transport provision or highway improvements in the authority’s area.

The Bus Lane Enforcement System is managed by Service Birmingham on behalf of the City in partnership with the Traffic Manager, Enforcement Manager and Parking Processing Manager within Traffic Management Services who operate the enforcement system.