Driver's shock after receiving FIVE bus lane fines in same day's post

A driver has told of his shock after receiving FIVE fines in the same day's post for driving in a recently-installed bus lane.

Zahid Rao with his five penalty notices
Zahid Rao with his five penalty notices

Zahid Rao, 33, was caught out by a traffic camera on the Edinburgh Road junction to exit the Scotch Estate, in Jarrow, five times between December 10 and the start of this month.

He is now left facing an overall cost of £300, with each occasion setting him back £60.

The bus lane was introduced last August.

Mr Rao is one of 4,512 motorists to have been caught out by the bus lane since it was introduced last July, with South Tyneside Council raking in over £270,000 in fines.

The delivery driver moved to his home in Olwen Drive, Hebburn, from Dundee in Scotland last August, and said he did not realise he had been driving in a bus lane until receiving the five fines together.

The council says it aims to issue tickets within 14 working days of offences being committed, but there was a delay on this occasion because of the festive period.

Mr Rao, though, claims it is ‘unfair’.

The bus lane was introduced last August.

He said: “If they had sent me the first fine earlier, I would have never made the same mistake again.

“As it was, I didn’t realise I was making the mistake and so the fines stacked up without me even knowing it.

“It’s very unfair.

“It was a big shock to see all the fines, and now I’m left with a very difficult bill to pay.

“It’s very upsetting.”

Mr Rao says he mainly uses the road at night as part of his job, and has complained to the council about the fines.

He added: “Drivers are being ripped off and I’m concerned others will fall victim to this, ending up with a stack of fines without even realising what they’ve done.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “The bus lane at Edinburgh Road is clearly signed and complies with the requisite Department for Transport regulations.

“Video cameras automatically record incidents of people illegally driving in the bus lane and their vehicle registration plate.

“We aim to issue tickets within 14 working days of the offence being committed, however on this occasion, that was affected by the Christmas holiday period, both for ourselves and the DVLA, which provides driver and vehicle information in connection with the offence.

“Vehicle owners have the right to appeal if they feel the ticket has been wrongly issued.

“Details on how to do so can be found on the reverse of the Penalty Charge Notice.

“Ideally, we would not have to issue any fines, however exiting via Edinburgh Road is both illegal and unsafe and we would encourage motorists to observe the restrictions to avoid receiving a penalty.”