Auckland Transport collecting an extra $4m in bus lane fines per year

The Automobile Association (AA) says Auckland motorists are being unfairly stung for misusing bus lanes.

Auckland Transport (AT) collected more than $11 million in fines in the last year and the AA says the system needs an overhaul.

But AT is instead planning to install even more cameras.

Sharlene Scotty was fined for driving in a bus lane and, while she managed to challenge her fine, others haven't been so lucky.

"I was in the bus line and I got into it too soon but the signage was quite confusing," she told Newshub.

She's not the only one getting confused.

In the last year AT issued more than 80,000 tickets to motorists caught in bus lanes. That's an average of 220 a day. And it's collected $11.3 million in fines - $4 million more than the previous year.

The AA says motorists often don't realise they're in a bus lane.

"We think that Auckland Transport could be doing much more than the bare minimum," AA spokesperson Mark Stockdale told Newshub.

Under the current rules motorists are allowed to drive in bus lanes for 50 metres while turning, but if that distance is exceeded they could cop a $150 fine. And that distance could be the problem.

"If you ask 20 people to measure what 50 metres looks like you'll get 20 different answers," Stockdale says.

The AA is calling for AT to add special lane markings to help motorists know when they can enter a lane, or even follow Australia's lead and allow motorists to travel up to one block in a bus lane before turning.

But AT says the number of people being fined is actually quite low and this year's figures are higher because it's added more bus lanes.

"It is obviously the amount of vehicles transiting lanes but vehicles transiting in new lanes not just the old lanes," says AT parking compliance manager Rick Bidgood.

AT says Aucklanders will see even more bus lanes within the next six to 12 months and there will be more cameras to catch those driving in them when they shouldn't be.