$150 fine: Council eyes up motorists using Main North Rd bus lanes

Motorists using the Main North Rd bus lanes at times of operation will be fined $150. Photo:...
Motorists using the Main North Rd bus lanes at times of operation will be fined $150. Photo: Newsline
Motorists caught driving in the Main North Rd bus lanes during the hours of operation could cop a $150 fine from March 1.

Christchurch City Council transport operations manager Steffan Thomas said so far only warning notices have been issued for misusing the new lanes.

"Parking compliance officers have been closely monitoring the bus lanes for the past few weeks and have been issuing warnings to those motorists misusing the lanes.

"Our focus has been on educating drivers about the bus lane rules, but from March 1 we will switch to an enforcement approach. 

"Instead of issuing warnings, parking compliance offices will issue infringement notices if they see someone driving in the bus lane when they shouldn’t be.

"Bus lanes are designed to give people who travel by bus priority on the transport network at busy times of the day.

"When a motorist chooses to drive in a bus lane, they are potentially stopping buses from having a clear route of travel and adding to the journey time of all those on board."

He urged motorists to respect the rules and stay out of the bus lanes when they are in operation.

"The only time that motorists should be in a bus lane, during the hours they are in operation, is if they are making a turn.

"Even then, they can only drive in the lane for less than 50m - that’s the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool or half a rugby field."

The Main North Rd bus lane into the city operates on weekdays from 7am to 9am. Only buses, bicycles, emergency service vehicles, motorcycles, motor scooters and mopeds are allowed in the lane during these hours. A small section of the bus lane, between Mary and Loftus Sts, is also operational on weekdays from 2pm to 6pm.

The Main North Rd bus lane out of the city operates between 3pm and 6pm weekdays, apart from in some specified areas, Thomas said.

"In the areas immediately outside schools the north-bound bus lane operates between 4pm and 6pm.

"This exception has been made to make it easy for parents and caregivers to pick up their children at the end of the school day." Thomas said.

The bus lanes on the stretch of Main North Rd immediately outside Northlands Shopping Centre operate at all times. All bus lanes have signage stating their hours of operation.

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