Readers defend council over bus lane fines after driver gets five tickets in same day's post

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Readers have rallied to the council's defence after it came in for criticism over the fining policy at a controversial new bus lane.

More than 4,512 motorists have been fined £60 a time for using the bus-only Edinburgh Road junction to exit the Scotch Estate, in Jarrow - bringing South Tyneside Council £270,000 in fines.

Zahid Rao, 33, of Hebburn was among the latest to be hit - with five penalty notices landing on his doormat in the same day's post.

The delivery driver, who recently moved to the area from Scotland, said he didn't know the area - and called the council "unfair" as he received all the fines in one go, not having the chance to learn from his mistake.

Other drivers have previously claimed the signs could be easily missed.

A poll of readers has come out slightly in favour of drivers being issued with warning letters for the first time they breach bus lane rules, only getting a fine if they offend again.

But readers had little sympathy for Mr Rao, believing drivers should have learned by now - and that signs and markings are clear enough to see.

Kyle Taylor said: "If people don't know about it by now then they must have been on another planet."

Robert Woodcock said: "When I first moved to the North East I was pulled over by the police for driving in a bus lane and even though I explained that I was new to the area and was told 'yhat I should read the road signs that clearly state that it was a bus lane'. Fair Comment, yes I should have! But five times? Come on."

A number of people commenting on the story on our Facebook page criticised the council for making money from fines, and said the bus-only junction wasn't needed.

Peter Watt was among those expressed that view. He said: "I've never heard of an accident in or around that road. It's just a cash cow for South Tyneside Council."

Josh Heslop said: "If the fine was preventing danger I'd agree more, but it's purely money."

Others rubbished that view, defending the council's action.

Ian Prince said: "The planning people decided it was dangerous to go from the slip road to the right turn lane. The only way to stop this is a ban."

Charlotte Simpson said: "Only got himself to blame. As as for the comments about council making money, they changed the road priority over six months ago. They have clearly marked the road 'bus only', as required by law.

"If folks think the rules don’t apply to them, or don’t understand the road signs - well they are selfish and shouldn’t be driving on the same roads as the rest of us.

"We all need to follow the laws of the land and take responsibility for our own actions. I would imagine those folks that choose to drive on this bus lane know fine well they shouldn’t, but, do it anyway because it’s convenient for them, and figure it’s not being monitored."

Steven Johnston said: "How can you not see it’s a bus lane? It’s got a sign and six feet lettering on the road that both mean the same as all around the country."