It is sadly unsurprising that Calderdale Council’s cabinet has decided to spend our money on installing bus lane cameras. It is always strapped for cash, yet believes that this is a good use of resources.
Where is the evidence that misuse of bus lanes is a significant problem? No doubt there are some drivers who do misuse the bus lanes and bus-only roads, some with entitled arrogance and some by genuine mistake, but does this actually have such a detrimental effect and constitute such a major problem that it needs solving by spending £115,000 on a trial, a subsequent £295,000 and with an annual cost of £140,000?
This would be a ludicrous waste. How many vulnerable and elderly people could be helped with that sort of money? How many existing services would be threatened by this type of unnecessary spending?
Aside from the initial and ongoing costs this would incur, there are places where cameras may worsen traffic flow. Many people tend not to use bus lanes even when it is permitted, for fear of having mis-read the signage, so signs threatening camera enforcement would probably exacerbate this situation, with traffic using one lane when in fact two could be used.
If the council is serious about the use of bus lanes, it could concentrate on ensuring existing signs are clear and visible, well placed and unobstructed by trees.
The idea that enforcing bus lanes will improve bus journeys and ultimately encourage people to get on a bus rather than make a car journey is surely misguided. Firstly, there has to be real evidence that bus journeys are currently being frequently adversely affected. Secondly, bus fares are expensive and for people making multi-purpose journeys, buses will never offer the flexibility that a car does.
This is Calderdale, and we need to encourage people to come here, not adopt an aggressive ‘big city’ anti-motorist mentality.
In these days of ‘austerity’, which the cabinet often bemoans, there are certainly more deserving causes on which to spend council tax payers’ money. Think again please.