Homeless charity calls for emergency exemption from bus lane fines

Homeless Project Scotland has asked Glasgow City Council to provide dispensation for a fridge van.

Homeless Project Scotland call on Glasgow City Council for emergency exemption from bus lane fines Twitter

A homeless charity has called for an emergency exemption to be made so their fridge van carrying food for vulnerable people can access bus lanes without being fined.

Homeless Project Scotland (HPS), which operates soup kitchens and food collections across the country, were handed fines running to several hundred pounds for using the lanes in Glasgow.

They have called for Glasgow City Council to cancel the fines, insisting that they will not pay them.

More than 300 people are said to use the service operated by the charity at Glasgow Central Station in the city centre seven nights per week.

The charity say that they cannot afford to pay the fines and have asked for talks with council bosses.

One worker at the charity told STV News they are looking for some “courtesy and understanding” for the work they carry out, and asked for special dispensation to be given for one vehicle fridge.

The council explained that blue light emergency services are exempt from fines due to the urgency of their work.

It has also offered advice on routes for transporting the food, while reducing the fines to their initial £30 charge.

A spokesman for the council told STV News that it had also viewed camera footage for the incidents the charity received fines for and that there was “no indication” that the van had stopped or collected goods on those occasions.

“We have ensured HPS has exemptions for the bus gate and parking restrictions on Argyle Street to help them operate the soup kitchen under Central Station,” he said.

“No other dispensation is in place and no information has ever been provided by them that attempts to show an exemption is needed for the whole city, or for any other specific bus gates, to collect or deliver food.

“We have viewed the camera footage for each of the six incidents and there is no indication of HPS stopping to collect or drop-off any goods in any of the bus lanes they drove into.

“We have offered to give advice on how to get specific places without travelling in bus lanes and we also reduced the fines to the initial £30 charge, but that offer was rejected and the fines have since gone up in line with standard practice.”

The council spokesman added: “Bus lanes are a crucial measure for the efficiency of the city’s public transport system.

“The blue light emergency services are exempted because of the urgency of what they do, not just because it is more convenient for them.”

The charity is continuing its work in the run-up to Christmas and will hold a “fill your fridge” event on Christmas Eve to help those in need.

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