Rīga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme representative Baiba Bartaševica-Feldmane said: “Public transport [timing] can be predictable if it drives along its own lanes as much as possible. However, if public transport lanes are filled by those who should not be there, it certainly affects the schedule."
State Police, asked how many drivers were committed such offenses, stated: “This situation is quite variable, but of course, most offenders of this kind have been identified in the city of Riga. The figures are large enough – 313 drivers have been identified this year, while in 828 cases such behavior is qualified as aggressive driving, when the driver has overtaken other road users through public transport lanes, thereby ignoring their interests."
The State Police's 360-degree video system has identified more than 2,300 cases of drivers in public transport lanes during this year.
Juris Jančevskis, chief of the State Police Traffic Safety Board, said: “A fine of €40 is expected for [unauthorized] driving in the public transport lane, while if this action is already qualified as aggressive driving, the fine is well higher at €70 to €280.”
Despite the punishments, there is no shortage of violators. It is not possible to set up a police patrol at each public transport lane, but the most frequent offenses are in specific places.
“We have the most notable places in Rīga in Ķengarags, Maskavas Street, and in the center, Brīvības Street toward the center [..],” Jančevskis said.
According to the State Police, there are special patrols, with an increased focus on public transport lanes, while the Transport Department of the Riga City Council explained that it is planned to further increase the kilometers of public transport lanes every year, but there are also ways planned to eliminate the use of these lanes by drivers of vehicles for which they are not intended. Specifically, specially installed cameras will record offenders and then the owner of the car will receive a penalty.
The head of the Transport Department of Riga City Council Jānis Vaivods said: “Drivers may face the situation in the future that, following the use of the lane, they can receive a charge for violation of the Road Traffic Regulations, and the department is currently actively addressing the issue of setting up these types of cameras in order to be able to charge in the future."
Initially, such a camera that would detect infringers would operate in a single public transport area in the test mode, but in the future, such practices could be developed in the city.