Saturday 31 May 2014

More electronic eyes to enforce bus lane rules

By Royston Sim, The Straits Times, 30 May 2014

THERE will be more electronic eyes watching out for motorists straying into bus-only lanes come Sunday.

More bus lanes and give-way schemes to clear the roads for buses will also hopefully mean a smoother, quicker bus ride for passengers.

Video cameras will be installed on more buses, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced yesterday, although it did not say how many.

Along with traffic wardens, the cameras will help to ensure that bus lanes remain clear during operating hours, it said.

To date, more than 3,300 buses have been fitted with cameras that continuously monitor the road in front of them. The system was first tested on 90 SBS Transit buses in 2008.

The efforts have worked.

"Since 2008, we have seen an improvement in motorists' compliance with the bus lane scheme," said the LTA.

The times that motorists were caught on camera driving in bus lanes during restricted hours have decreased: from 2,112 cases in 2008 to 1,560 cases last year.

The LTA said it is expanding the use of bus lanes and its Mandatory Give Way To Buses scheme - which enables buses to enter and exit bus stops more smoothly - to improve bus reliability and cut journey times.

More widespread bus priority measures will also complement an ongoing billion-dollar programme that will put 1,000 state-funded buses on the road, it added.

Transport academics have previously called for more such measures to ensure people travelling on buses have a smoother journey.

By the end of this year, about 300 bus stops islandwide will be covered by the Mandatory Give Way To Buses scheme, up from 249 now.

Enforcement efforts have helped to bring down the number of violations in the scheme by 40 per cent, from 3,325 in 2009 to 1,883 cases last year, the LTA said.

Bus lanes in Singapore currently cover 203km - 180km of normal lanes and 23km of full-day lanes.

Full-day bus lanes operate from 7.30am to 8pm on Mondays to Saturdays, while motorists cannot enter normal bus lanes from 7.30am to 9.30am and 5pm to 8pm on weekdays.

Motorists who drive on them during restricted hours face a $130 fine. If it is not paid, the penalty can go up to a $1,000 fine or three months' imprisonment.

The LTA said it will draw markings on full-day bus lanes at seven locations from June 16 to remind motorists to adhere to the timings.

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