MORE than 4,000 fines have been handed out to motorists driving in bus lanes.
Since last April, Bedford Borough Council has collected almost £131,000 from drivers who have been caught where they shouldn’t be.
There are five such lanes in the borough – Greyfriars, Horne Lane, Ampthill Road, Kingsway and Bedford Road in Kempston – and mobile cameras have been snapping away at cars using them.
In 2010 the authority extended the use of the lanes to include taxis, private hire vehicles, bicycles and motorbikes.
And last year it began enforcing bus lane contraventions by issuing penalty charge notices (PCNs).
Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport, said: “When we took the decision to extend the use of bus lanes to include taxis, private hire vehicles, bicycles and motorbikes back in 2010 we made it clear that we would take action against those who used the bus lanes unlawfully.
“These inconsiderate drivers make roads unsafe and increase congestion.
“It is good news that the latest figures show bus punctuality has improved by 9 per cent and the number of tickets issued has dropped by nearly 70 per cent since bus lane enforcement was introduced last year.
“All bus lanes in Bedford Borough are clearly signposted and include clear markings on the road itself. There is no excuse for not realising you are driving unlawfully in a bus lane and it is right that we will take action to keep our roads safe for the majority of law abiding road users.”
A spokesman for bus firm Grant Palmer added: “We welcomed the introduction of bus lane enforcement in Bedford Borough when it was introduced last year and we are still very much in favour. Enforcement helps to keep bus lanes clear, which improves the reliability and punctuality of our buses, which helps all bus users.”