Dance mums fined hundreds after being caught by controversial bus lane camera

Dance mums have been slapped with more than £700 worth of fines after being caught out by a controversial bus lane in South Tyneside.

Monday, 12th November 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 4:31 pm
Pupils at Polka School of Dance with their parents' fines

Dance school owner, Stephanie Matthews says 24 of her pupils’ parents were fined after a visit to Perth Green Community Centre to take part in a competition.

Stephanie, from Bowburn, County Durham, was herself caught out at the notorious junction - leaving the Scotch Estate by Edinburgh Road.

The Scotch Estate bus lane leading on to Leam Lane from Edinburgh Road

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She says she was unaware that it is closed to traffic, except buses, and claims the signs are not clearly visible.

She said: “It happened on October 26 while it was absolutely throwing it down with rain. I didn’t know the way out so I, along with a lot of the parents, used our sat navs. It took us down that road.

“Every single one of us missed the sign. It clearly isn’t signposted well enough.”

Two dozen parents from Polka School of Dance received £60 fixed penalty fines - with all parents paying the fine at the reduced price of £30. The 30-year-old dance teacher said: “They must have got almost £700 from us in the space of 15 minutes. They must have clocked us all within seconds of each other.”

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She added: “We’re all going to dispute it as a group. There’s no option to reverse or get out of it once you’ve gone the wrong way.

“I really think something needs to be done.

“Everybody is absolutely furious.

To date, 16,181 fines have been issued since the junction was changed last year.

Figures up to the end of October show £402,661.47 has been collected by South Tyneside Council in fines from drivers incorrectly using that junction.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “Our absolute priority is road safety and the exit was closed to vehicles except buses to enhance safety.

“The restrictions also help to ease congestion and improve traffic flows at what is a very busy gateway in and out of South Shields.

“We’d like to remind motorists who do not observe the restrictions that they are not only risking their own safety and the safety of others but are also committing an offence.”