Tunnel and Bus-lane Enforcement Starts Next Month

1 October 2010

A group of Wellington City Council officers and contractors have been warranted to monitor the city's bus lanes by the Commissioner of Police. Increased monitoring of bus lanes is likely to start in late October.

The Council is doing this to increase safety around the Pirie Street bus tunnel and to help prevent any confusion for motorists once the new Golden Mile route through Manners Street is complete in November. The aim is also to improve the efficiency of bus-based public transport by discouraging unauthorised or illegal use of bus lanes.

Most of the bus lane monitoring will take place at these spots. Monitors will be easily spotted. They'll wear a highly visible uniform to distinguish them from parking wardens and Police and they'll be standing next to a camera and tripod.

The Council's Infrastructure Director, Stavros Michael, says the aim is to reduce accidents and remind motorists of correct usage of the bus lanes.

"Our main focus is on the Pirie Street bus tunnel due to people illegally using that route. And we'd also like to remind motorists that they can't turn into Manners Street by day when the new bus route is in place."

If someone has been found using a bus lane illegally, they will be issued with a zero-dollar infringement notice as a warning. Motorists caught illegally using the lanes a second time will be liable for a $150 fine.

Stavros says that although the focus is on Pirie and Manners streets, other areas will also occasionally come under surveillance.

"If one of our officers is working in a particular area on another job, they might don their monitoring uniform and grab the camera for a few hours' work on the bus lanes - especially if it's deemed to be a problem area."

Stavros says if it is found that some areas experience a high rate of offences by motorists, the Council will look into engineering measures to stop the behaviour.

"We'll look at increasing signage or traffic calming devices to alert motorists to the fact that they're approaching a bus lane. We'd rather do that than have staff standing at the side of the road occasionally clicking the camera," he says.