'New Fines War On Bus Lane Drivers' cries Evening Standard
Before the death of Harold Shipman knocked it off the front page for later editions, today's Evening Standard was leading with the headline "New Fines War On Bus Lane Drivers". The article, dubbed an exclusive, by the paper's Local Government Correspondent Ross Lydall, revealed that:
Fine for drivers caught in London bus lanes have soared by almost 50 per cent in 12 months
By which, judging from the figures quoted, I believe he means that the volume of fines issued, not the monetary value of the fines themselves, have gone up. Lydall's article continues
...the surge in penalties is certain to re-ignite the argument over a war "war on motorists" who are being repeatedly used to raise revenue...The bus lane fines could net authorities up to £33 million for 2002-03
Well I'd argue that you are bound to re-ignite this "war" if you are the people using the phrase in your banner headlines. And I would also argue that there wouldn't be a "war" on bus lane drivers, or any revenue at all for local councils, if people weren't driving in the bus lanes.
There is something I just don't fundamentally get about motorists complaining when they get fined for being caught breaking the law. If you don't want to get fined for not having renewed your motor tax, then renew your motor tax. If you don't want to get fined for being caught by a speed camera, then drive within the speed limit. And if you don't want to get embroiled in London's "fines war on bus lane drivers", then don't drive selfishly in bus lanes because you think your individual right to drive where you like is greater than the law of the land.
The thing that made me laugh most though was the last two paragraphs of Ross Lydall's article:
Transport for London figures show that buses have also speeded up dramatically.
Journeys on the 300 high-frequency routes are now delayed by an average of 1.4 minutes compared with 2.2 minutes in 2000.
Now, how does the Evening Standard actually think that has been achieved?