Bus-lane violations down; priority measures up

Additional road markings showing the operational hours of full-day bus lanes have been put up at seven locations, including Eu Tong Sen Street (above) and New Bridge Road. LTA said it will progressively extend the markings to all full-day bus lanes f
Additional road markings showing the operational hours of full-day bus lanes have been put up at seven locations, including Eu Tong Sen Street (above) and New Bridge Road. LTA said it will progressively extend the markings to all full-day bus lanes from next year.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

More buses to be fitted with cameras to catch motorists who block their way

More public buses will get closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to clamp down on motorists blocking their way, as part of enhanced measures to cut waiting and travelling time for bus commuters.

While the Land Transport Authority (LTA) could not say how many more it will be installing, it said that since May, around 300 more buses have been equipped with the cameras which can continuously monitor the roads.

This brings the total number of buses with such cameras to 3,600.

The use of cameras and other bus priority measures on the road appear to be working as a strong deterrent, with fewer motorists being caught this year for not giving way.

As of last month, bus-mounted CCTV cameras captured 768 cases of motorists driving in bus lanes during restricted hours.

This is slightly less than half of the 1,560 cases for the whole of last year.

In 2008, when LTA first started using video cameras on public buses to catch errant drivers, there were 2,112 cases.

This year, there were also fewer incidents of motorists getting caught for not giving way to buses exiting bus lanes - with 1,448 violations as of last month, a 21 per cent drop from the same period last year.

Bus priority measures such as bus lanes and give-way schemes are aimed at improving the overall reliability and speeds of public buses, so commuters can experience more regular waiting times, said LTA, which plans to further enhance the scheme.

The mandatory give way to buses scheme is used at 322 bus stops now, up from 249 in May.

Since June, additional road markings showing the operational hours of full-day bus lanes have been put up at seven locations, including Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road.

LTA told The Straits Times that it will progressively extend the markings to all full-day bus lanes from next year, "to further increase awareness of these lanes".

Compared to normal bus lanes which cover the morning and evening peak hours on weekdays, full-day bus lanes, of which there are currently 28, also cover off-peak hours and are in operation on Saturdays as well.

Motorists who drive on bus lanes during restricted hours face a fine of $130.

If the fine is not paid, the case may be escalated to the courts and motorists may be fined up to $1,000 or jailed three months for the first offence.

Ms Des Tan, 26, who now waits about five minutes on weekday mornings for Service 67 in Choa Chu Kang, said the bus priority measures have made a difference.

Previously, she had to wait up to 15 minutes for her bus.

Said the product services analyst: "Some motorists still use bus lanes, but I see this happening less frequently during peak hours. Maybe motorists are more aware that buses have cameras and they can get fined."

adrianl@sph.com.sg