New hi-tech cameras on the N2 have caught a whopping 8000 vehicles illegally using the dedicated bus lane in less than two months.
Sixteen new super-smart cameras have been installed along a 14km route between the airport and the Black River Parkway, the city’s traffic department says. Each camera housing contains two cameras – an infrared camera, which reads number plates, and a video camera.
Once the infrared camera reads a number plate, the second camera replays, and records, the four previous frames of video.
These images are packaged, encrypted and sent to a “back room”, which then saves and distributes them as fines if the images were taken during hours when the bus lanes are active.
The cameras were installed early in July and 2900 fines were issued for that month, followed by about 5000 in August.
Despite the news of the cameras from the traffic department, the Cape Argus yesterday saw more than 100 private vehicles illegally using the bus lane between 8.15am and 8.45am.
The fines issued, attached to the images recorded by the 16 cameras on the route, are for R300.
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the previous cameras belonged to the Western Cape provincial government and had either been damaged or vandalised.
“For a long time the system remained dormant, and enforcement was manual.
“This is both labour-intensive and causes massive congestion, so we asked province to urgently reinstate the system.
“We came to an agreement that the city would continue with the system, with an existing contractor we use, Syntell, which does fixed-speed cameras, in-vehicle cameras, number-plate recognition cameras and speed-over-distance cameras.
A SURPRISE IN THE POST
“It will take a while for people to get their fines and realise the cameras are now working and that they can’t evade them.
“In the past there were only a few cameras, so people would use the lanes illegally, and then duck back into a legal lane when they approached the cameras.
“But now there are many cameras, so there’s nowhere to hide.”
In the past, manual enforcement only happened sporadically.
“That meant you were only being held accountable out of every 15 or 30 transgressions.
“So it amounted to a R300 toll a month. Now it’s no longer worth it. Now it’ll be R9000 a month,” Smith warned. -Cape Argus