Bus lane blunder means hundreds of drivers wrongly issued with fines for months

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Hull City council has been left without any legal powers to issue its normal £60 penalty notices to drivers using the bus lanes between 7am and 6.30pm Monday to Saturday, which is expected to cost £200,000

A bus lane on Beverley Road in Hull has been wrongly issuing fines
A bus lane on Beverley Road in Hull has been wrongly issuing fines

A council bus lane blunder has lead to drivers being wrongly issued with penalty notices for months.

Hull City council has temporarily frozen bus lane enforcement, which is expected to cost at least £200,000, HullLive reports.

The council has been left without any legal powers to issue its normal £60 penalty notices to drivers using the bus lanes between 7am and 6.30pm Monday to Saturday.

It comes after experimental traffic regulation orders extending the operational hours of bus lanes expired recently without a new permanent order being made to replace them.

And since Friday, Hull City council has asked motorists not to use the lanes until the new order is officially in place. However, that is not likely to happen until the end of next month at the earliest.

The new order is subject to a statutory period of public consultation which runs until April 13. Any objection would prolong the process.

Meanwhile, the council also admitted potentially hundreds of penalty charge notices had wrongly been issued since mid-January because of the mix-up.

It’s believed some automatic number plate recognition cameras monitoring the bus lanes have been switched off until the new order is legally effective.







Fines can’t be issued after some drivers have wrongly been issued with fixed penalty notices
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Image:

Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

Despite having no enforcement powers on some routes for two months, the council only acknowledged the issue this week after being approached for a comment by HullLive.

Pre-Covid data shows the council received £713,000 from penalty notices issued to drivers who fell foul of bus lane rules in 2018/19.

In a statement, the council said: “We will be issuing full refunds to anybody who was wrongly issued with a penalty charge notice in the period between the experimental Traffic Regulation Order expiring and it being replaced by permanent orders.

“This was as a result of an administrative error and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.







Pictured is a bus lane sign with the new restriction times on Anlaby Road, Hull
(

Image:

Peter Harbor – Hull Live)

“We will be contacting all affected drivers directly so there is no need to contact us. After a successful trial period, Hull City Council”s cabinet voted in December to make the 7am to 6.30pm bus lanes permanent and this is currently being implemented .

“While this is in progress, we ask drivers not to use the bus lanes.

“We will begin enforcing the orders as soon as they are made permanent at which point driving in a bus lane will result in a penalty charge notice.”

Analysis of the extended hours pilot presented to the council’s cabinet showed it had delivered an overall nine per cent improvement in bus journey times across the city.

Both of Hull’s main bus operators said they had been able to run quicker and more punctual services as a result.

The experimental traffic order covering bus lanes on Ferensway and Spring Bank came into force on 17 August in 2020 and expired on February 17 this year.

A separate experimental order covering changes to the operational times of other bus lanes in the city came into force on 13 July in 2020 and expired on 13 January this year.

However, an official notice for a proposed new permanent order was only published on Wednesday of this week.

It is a legal requirement to publish notice of proposed new traffic orders in advance of them coming into force.

It says: “The bus lanes continue to promote the development of sustainable travel, and support an increase in cycling and use of public transport across the city by providing improved connectivity, and a more coherent network along the key corridors linking to the city’s strategic cycle network.

“The scheme will also support the council’s air quality and carbon neutral strategies.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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