Take the bus - at least you’ll avoid a motoring fine!

Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist
Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist

Oh, how wonderful – somebody sent me a photograph of my car. Unfortunately, the people who sent it are the Bus Lane Enforcement Wing of Glasgow Council.

I admit, I’ve never been a fan of buses.

Whenever you see a tailback of cars trundling along a main highway in the middle of the day, you can be sure there are a couple of buses at the front holding everything up.

And you can bet they are only carrying a couple of passengers and a dog.

Now, buses are probably a good idea at rush-hour.

But for the other 23 hours it’s the stop–go–stop journey these fume-reeking, wheeled boxes create for all the cars stuck behind them that really irks.

With every stop, more cars join the queue until the bus is leading a mile-long procession through the town.

They block the streets and create jams, keeping a line of individuals and delivery trucks from going about their business, while a couple of dozy passengers fumble around in bags and pockets looking for the right change.

The next time you’re driving around a West Lothian town, try driving at bus speed and stopping every 100 yards to ask whoever happens to be on the pavement if they have change of a fiver.

I guarantee you won’t get very far before one of the drivers pulls you from the vehicle and gives you a hefty slap – or the police pull you over. But buses get away with it.

And now, if you stray into a bus lane in Glasgow, you’re going to have your photograph taken and receive a demand for cash.

It’s happened to five of my Facebook friends on the same stretch in the past week!

And do you know why?

Because the bus lane – and the cameras - are operational 24-hours a day, seven days a week. I kid you not.

It didn’t matter that it was raining, pitch dark, that I was a stranger in a strange town - or that I strayed into the bus lane a little before 1am on a Sunday morning.

Those behind the scheme stated that: “By improving the public transport network we hope to encourage commuters to choose more environmentally friendly forms of travel.”

For “encourage” read “force”.

Which is why, in just 11 weeks, their income from fines totalled just over £1million!

In Edinburgh, a driver was caught on average once every eight minutes during the week and once every five minutes on a Saturday by a single camera. At £60 each time! Little wonder they’ve decided to roll out the scheme across the city.

With that kind of revenue being filched from the pockets of motorists and poured into the council’s coffers, it’s only a matter of time before West Lothian Council decide to “improve public transport” by slapping down bus lanes and “encouraging” us all to take the bus.

Watch this space.

Drew McAdam