How many “bus lane” signs can you ignore? Better enforcement needed?

If you frequent the area, you might have noticed that the Ballarat Road has a lot more buses than usual. Not for the first time, the Regional Rail Link project has closed part of the Sunbury line, with buses ferrying passengers between Albion and Flemington Racecourse, resulting in convoys of buses doing train impersonations:

Sunbury line bustitution

Sensibly, the Regional Rail Link Authority organised to have bus lanes on the 6-lane section of Ballarat Road, to help the many people using the buses get through the traffic.

And they didn’t skimp on the signage, either — there are “BL” paint markings on the road, variable message signs, and conventional bus lane signs, all placed on a regular basis along the road.

Sunbury line bustitution: bus lanes

Sunbury line bustitution: bus lanes

Sunbury line bustitution: bus lanes

What amazed me while heading down there on Friday was that some motorists managed to ignore this prolific signage and drive for long distances in the bus lane.

Obviously some people are creatures of habit, but if you can ignore three separate types of signs (one flashing at you), repeated every couple of hundred metres, along a distance of several kilometres, then I’d suggest you’re either wilfully ignoring them, or just not paying attention.

Either way, it appears better enforcement is needed. Hopefully they are cracking down at least when it matters, during peak hours.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “How many “bus lane” signs can you ignore? Better enforcement needed?”

Yes, excellent signage. There is no point in having the signage if the rules are not enforced adequately.

People are ignorant or “think they can get away with it”. Most likely the same people who also don’t touch on with their Myki for short tram rides or suburban train trips.

More arguement for a permanent ‘bus only lane’ for that strip of road, and upgrade some of the MMBF routes to SmartBus.

Having said that, I need to head out that way myself soon.

“What amazed me while heading down there on Friday was that some motorists managed to ignore this prolific signage and drive for long distances in the bus lane.”

I’m amazed this amazed you. The driving standards are rapidly slipping in Melbourne.

I am now noticing a lot of cars “wobbling” in their lane. You pull along side and see a smartphone balanced on the steering wheel. Just terrifying as a parent of a toddler.

I’m not on PT this time around but have been through the previous RRL bus replacement services on the Sydenham line. I’ve travelled that stretch and watched many car drivers ignore the bus lane signage for short and long distances and delay the bus while they then try and re-merge with the crowded ‘normal’ lane. I don’t think that the bus lanes are monitored or the rules enforced at all. It would be too costly to monitor and the chances of a police patrol car being in the area and observing an infringement and deciding to act on it are pretty remote. They just hope that enough people will do the right thing to not cause too much delay.

It shows the malaise that is Melbourne, and it doesn’t specifically apply to PT though this example is a good one. Governments and authorities believe “doing something” is putting up a sign. And then not enforcing it.

Number One with a bullet: Melbournians just don’t give a s***. It’s all “me me me” and stuff anyone else. This is why we have chronic fare evasion and vandalism, there’s no where near enough enforcement and people do it because they can.

Uncle Ted’s PSOs are great when you’re a monied WASP at an inner city station tut-tut-tutting that someone should “DO SOMETHING!!” but have very little effect when the problem is on the train. Same here – set something up, something new, but don’t put enforcement where it is needed. Brilliant logic.

What’s point of upgrading the one MBBF that uses this section off road to Smartbus? When it mostly already runs at smartbus levels and in some cases beats it.

Couldn’t agree more about the problems with lack of enforcement, though to be fair it did seem that the majority of drivers were keeping out the bus lanes most of the time.

However, the bus lanes – enforced or not – weren’t of much benefit to us poor sods who had to deal with the replacement buses, given that the timetabled bus journey Albion-FlemRacecourse was so unrealistic that passengers frequently arrived to see the train leaving the station even when road traffic was fluid.

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