Motorists escape bus lane fines

The empty bus lane on Pottery Road
The empty bus lane on Pottery Road

WIGAN motorists who use bus lanes to skip traffic jams are going unpunished – because councils have not been enforcing the rules.

Figures just released show only two town halls in the region have handed out fines to drivers breaking the rules in the last three years.

Manchester council issued 111,180 tickets between 2009-2011. Bury council issued 14,093.

But none of the other eight town halls – Wigan, Bolton, Oldham, Stockport, Tameside, Salford, Rochdale and Trafford – handed out any fines at all.

Instead, they left enforcement of bus-lane bans to police – who issued only 700 tickets across the whole of Greater Manchester, including 100 in Wigan.

In one area – Trafford – officers didn’t issue a single bus-lane fine in the whole period, even though the borough has six bus lanes which general motorists are restricted from using.

Bolton has 10, Rochdale, Stockport and Wigan have eight, Tameside has seven, and Oldham, Salford and also have six.

The data – obtained under Freedom of Information laws – shows Greater Manchester Police issued 100 fines in Wigan, 126 fines in Manchester and 39 in Bury between 2009-2011.

It also issued 175 in Bolton, 136 in Oldham, 46 in Stockport, 42 in Tameside, 30 in Salford, six in Rochdale and none in Trafford.

The police said the figures did not mean they did not take the issue of bus-lane cheating seriously. Chief Insp Rachel Buckle, from GMP’s road policing unit, said: “We have no hesitation in taking firm action against people that insist on breaking the law in this way.”

A transport report in January said Wigan could not justify setting up an enforcement scheme because it has too few bus lanes.

And earlier this year it was revealed that as part of the Saddle Relief Road project, the Pottery Road bus lane is to be scrapped alltogether, but the Wigan Lane bus lane will remain.

Only buses, black cabs and cycles are allowed into bus lanes during their hours of operation.

Between 2000-2008, the region spent £88m on 24 ‘quality bus corridors’ in Greater Manchester – including 121 bus lanes covering more than 21 miles.