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JOHN DOBSON: 133 drivers caught out by Street traffic cameras

JOHN DOBSON: 133 drivers caught out by Street traffic cameras

New bus lane warning signs on John Dobson Street in Newcastle city centre, Image: LDRS

More than 100 drivers were caught in the first week since a notorious Newcastle bus lane camera was turned on again.

Figures show that 133 people were caught driving in the northbound bus lane on John Dobson Street during the first seven days since the camera was activated on November 1.

The week prior to the camera being turned on, 302 drivers were recorded going through the bus lane.

Newcastle City Council issued warning letters to these motorists to inform them of the changes.

Figures also show a drop in the number of drivers caught using the bus lane compared to same week in the previous two years.

Last year, during the first week of November, 235 people received warning letters for wrongly driving through the northbound bus lane and in 2019 that number was 533 –75 % higher than the figure for this year.

The council has now thanked drivers who have followed the rules since the camera was turned back on.

Coun Ged Bell, cabinet member for development, transport and neighbourhoods at Newcastle City Council, said: “I’m pleased to see that the number of drivers who have breached this bus lane restriction since we resumed enforcement has reduced and would like to thank those who have kept to the rules.

“Of course, we would like to see everyone abiding by the rules and would remind people that bus lanes are an essential part of a reliable and efficient public transport network.

“They help to keep buses moving, enabling services to arrive on time, which makes using public transport more appealing to more people.

“This is important because getting the bus, instead of driving, is one of the ways we can take action on climate change and poor air quality.

“Having bus lanes on key public transport routes, ensuring services can run
smoothly, helps to support everyone in making that switch.”

Enforcement on the northbound bus lane on John Dobson Street resumed on
Monday, November 1` following a number of changes made to the signage which alerts drivers to the restriction.

The council reinstated the penalties after a long-running dispute that saw the local authority accused of “fundamental negligence” over a failure to properly warn drivers of the bus gate restriction when it came into force.

A massive 91,806 motorists were hit with fines of up to £90 for driving in the bus lane between February 2016 and June 2017, before charges were suspended following complaints over a lack of adequate signage.

Following a long-awaited Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) verdict last year which concluded that the council was at fault, city transport chiefs offered to refund up to £2.5m worth of fines – of which only around £300,000 has been claimed back so far

The signage is now over and above legal requirements, the council said.

 

Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter


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