Driver wins two-year battle over 'bus gate' fine at Jarrow's Scotch Estate

A driver is drawing attention to his successful appeal against a motoring fine after being slapped with the penalty at a notorious stretch of road.

The controversial ‘bus gate’ at Jarrow’s Scotch Estate caused uproar after it was first went live in July 2017.

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Additional warning signs were put in place in February 2019 after a review of signage prompted by a Department of Transport recommendation.

South Tyneside Council say: "The Edinburgh Road bus gate is clearly signed and complies with the requisite Department for Transport regulations." Google maps.

However, the council maintained the previous signage complied with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

They stressed at the time it was an ‘extremely busy stretch of road and if motorists continue to exit via this route there is a real danger there will be an accident’.

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But one man's victory in a two-year battle over a bus gate fine shows the changes did not draw a line under issues with the system.

Rob Robinson received a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) in August 2020 fining him up to £60 for driving on what was referred to as a “bus lane”.

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He successfully appealed as the signage says “bus gate”, which he says is not a term used anywhere in the Highway Code.

Mr Robinson feels that the signage and road marking is inadequate, and thinks others may have been entitled to appeal their fines for driving on the bus gate.

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The Gazette asked the council if driving on a bus gate, as opposed to bus lane, was actually an offence, but they declined to answer. They did say that those who have already paid fines may not appeal.

Eventually Mr Robinson paid nothing after it was agreed that “the alleged bus lane contravention did not take place”.

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He said: “I came out and turned into the road and saw the sign saying ‘Bus Gate’ and drove through. Nobody seems to know what a bus gate is. Apparently it’s similar to a bus lane, but it can’t be a bus lane as it doesn’t have the required width.

“It wasn’t a matter of chancing it. I didn’t realise what a bus gate was. I appealed a couple of times. They said it would go to independent adjudication. It was agreed that it should have been better marked.

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“I never get parking fines and never knowingly do anything untoward. So I was really annoyed.”

A council spokesperson said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, the Edinburgh Road bus gate is clearly signed and complies with the requisite Department for Transport regulations.

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“Using either a bus gate, or a bus lane if not an authorised vehicle, is illegal and motorists are urged to observe the restrictions in place to avoid receiving a Penalty Charge Notice.

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“Vehicle owners have the right to appeal if they feel a Notice has been wrongly issued and details of how to do this are on the back of the Notice.

“If appeals are rejected, then a formal challenge can be made with the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal. Appeals are considered on their own merit.”