Cars caught driving in the Main North Road bus lanes during their hours of operation could find themselves being ticketed from Monday 1 March.
“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,’’ says Christchurch City Council Transport Operations Manager Steffan Thomas.
“Our focus has been on educating drivers about the bus lanes rules, but from 1 March 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.’’
Infringement notices result in a $150 fine.
“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.
“Please 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 50 metres – that’s the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool or half a rugby field,’’ Mr Thomas says.
The Main North Road bus lane that heads into the city operates weekdays from 7am to 9am. During those hours only buses, bikes, emergency service vehicles, motorcycles, motor scooters and mopeds are permitted in the bus lane.
A small section of that bus lane, between Mary Street and Loftus Street, also operates weekday afternoons between 2pm and 6pm.
The Main North Road bus lane that heads out of the city operates between 3pm and 6pm weekdays, apart from in some specified areas.
“In the areas immediately outside schools the north-bound bus lane operates between 4 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,’’ Mr Thomas says.
Drivers also need to be aware that the bus lanes on the stretch of Main North Road immediately outside the Northlands Shopping Centre operate at all times.
All bus lanes across the city have signage informing people about their hours of operation.
A mix of peak-time and full-time bus lanes are used to help improve the reliability of bus travel whilst balancing the need for road space for other transport network users.