NOTHING like a little technology to keep bus lanes more free-flowing.
Since their introduction in 2008, CCTV cameras on board buses have proven to be highly effective in deterring bus lane offences, according to the Land Transport Authority.
The number of motorists caught by these onboard cameras has plunged from 2,112 in 2008 to 866 in 2014, the authority said yesterday.
And as of May this year, there were 228 cases - a drop of more than 50 per cent from the same period last year.
The LTA said about 4,000 buses, or around 80 per cent of the total public bus fleet, are equipped with these cameras.
The bus cameras complement wardens standing on the kerb during bus lane hours.
Operating hours for normal bus lanes are 7.30am to 9.30am, and 5pm to 8pm on weekdays. Operating hours for full-day bus lanes - marked by red lines instead of yellow - are 7.30am to 8.00pm on weekdays and Saturdays.
The restrictions do not apply on Sundays and public holidays.
Retiree Gary Tay, 64, said he is always mindful of bus lane operating hours, and has never had an infringement, adding that although "we understand the rationale for bus lanes... it can sometimes be a little frustrating to see an empty bus lane when you are caught in a jam".
He said that because of the way some bus lanes are drawn, motorists have to swerve abruptly when they want to turn into or emerge from a side road.
An LTA spokesman said: "To further remind motorists of onboard bus CCTVs, we will be rolling out a series of banners and bus advertisements."
Meanwhile, the authority has been stepping up enforcement of the Mandatory Give Way to Buses Scheme, which was introduced in 2008 and is now at 330 bus stops.
In the first five months of the year, there were 2,336 violations, up from 1,764 cases in 2014.
Motorists who fail to give way to buses pulling out of these bus stops face a compound fine of $130 - the same penalty for those driving in bus lanes during operating hours.
Offenders who do not pay up may be hauled to court, where they face a heftier fine of up to $1,000 or a jail term of three months.
The LTA said it will leverage more on technology this time to monitor how crowded bus stops are.
In a one-year trial, it will install video cameras at five selected bus stops from the fourth quarter of this year, starting with the one in front of Thong Teck Building in Scotts Road.
Besides giving real-time assessment of crowd levels, the LTA spokesman said: "The system will allow us to work with public transport operators to make timely intervention such as adjusting bus schedules, replacing single-deck buses with double-deck or bendy buses, or injecting half-way trips to help ease crowding."
This article was first published on June 24, 2015.
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