Transport officials are banking on raising up to £219,000 a year from motorists caught driving illegally in bus lanes.

Brighton and Hove City Council has said ten drivers are day are issued with a £60 fine after being caught on camera in the bus lanes.

When the cameras were introduced in March this year, the council only issued warning letters to drivers caught in the lanes.

Since June 15 however those caught in the city centre lanes have been slapped with a £60 penalty notice.

A council spokeswoman said: "The new bus lane enforcement scheme, designed to ensure the city centre corridor is kept clear for buses, taxis and cyclists, is working well.

"Since enforcement started on June 15, around ten tickets a day are being issued, indicating that most drivers have got the message that driving in bus lanes is illegal.

"Keeping the bus lanes clear to improve the public transport network is the aim of the enforcement and the long lead in period has helped educate drivers about the importance of keeping bus lanes clear. There is also a transparent appeals system in place for anyone who feels they have been wrongly ticketed.

"Before the council set up an enforcement scheme, it was estimated that about half the traffic using the bus lanes was doing so illegally."

Buses, taxis, cyclists and tuk-tuks are allowed in the lanes as well as police and council vehicles.

Peter Salvage, operations manager at Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company, said: "It is very difficult at the moment to get an overall picture of the situation because of the amount of roadworks in North Street.

"But we have seen a great reduction of the problem in key areas such as cars violating the no entry sign from Dyke Road at the Clock Tower and along Western Road."

Work is due to start on new bus lanes later this year on the A259 between Saltdean and Ovingdean. If completed on time the 4.5km long lanes are predicted to cut journey times into Brighton by up to a quarter for bus passengers and should be open next year.

The council is aiming to make at least £75,000 in the first year of operation of the city centre lane cameras.

Bus lane enforcement in Brighton and Hove was under the jurisdiction of Sussex Police but two years ago the Government made it possible for local authorities outside London to hand out fines.

Steve Percy, of motoring group People's Parking Protest, said a rethink was needed on car use in the city so that people were not forced to break the law because of the confusing road layout in the city.

He said: "Everything has happened too quickly with the parking changes, NCP car parks and the bus lanes. When are the charges to the motorist going to end?

"The Conservatives have said they are looking into underground parking and I support that. If there are more parking spaces in the city a lot of the cars will pull into them and walk.

"If you want motorists not breaking the law through parking restrictions or bus lanes, give them more spaces to park their cars."

Five CCTV cameras are monitored by operators who take photos of any vehicles in the six bus lane sections of Western Road, Dyke Road, Queens Road and North Street.

The scheme is designed to speed up bus travel and help the 42 million bus journeys made in the city each year to run on time.

Anyone caught driving in a bus lane will receive a £60 fine, dropping to £30 if paid within 14 days or rising to £90 after 28 days.

What do you think about bus lanes? Are they useful or just a way for the council to make money?

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