Auckland bus and transit lanes are turning into a trap for unsuspecting drivers, with violations pulling in nearly $11 million within a year.
Data released to Newshub shows Auckland Transport (AT) issued a total of 72,387 infringements to offending motorists last year.
Commuters caught driving in a special vehicle lane get smacked with a $150 fine. In total, this came to $10.8 million in infringements.
Auckland Transport is putting a lot of pressure on people with these changes.
AA spokesman Barney Irvine told The AM Show there's "no question" the fine is too high.
"For running a red light or a typical speeding offence, you get fined $80. It doesn't make any sense for transit lane violations to be nearly double that. To a certain extent, they've got it around the wrong way," he says.
But Mr Irvine assured The AM Show that AT is “not in the game of revenue”.
“That’s not what they’re about,” Mr Irvine said.
Transit lanes are limited to certain vehicles during peak periods in order to decrease congestion and ensure a smooth traffic flow. Bus lanes are limited to buses, bikes, motorbikes and mopeds during the restriction times. Motorists are only allowed to enter them 50 metres before making a left turn.
“Auckland Transport is putting a lot of pressure on people with these changes,” he said.
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The worst areas for infringements in Auckland include notorious areas like Khyber Pass Road, Queen Street and Hobson Street.
Mr Irvine says there are a number of reasons why so many motorists are being caught, some simply because they don’t understand the change in rules.
"Others get caught out through no fault of their own (like people who pull out of a driveway into the transit lane, and then find they can't merge with the general traffic lane). And of course some people will be deliberately flouting the rules.”
AT says it operates its bus and transit lanes in "full compliance" with national legislation and associated bylaw provision.
Watch the full interview with Barney Irvine above.
The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone..