Sunderland dad and football team fall foul of controversial Jarrow bus lane

Jason Lennox his family and friends have all received fines.
Jason Lennox his family and friends have all received fines.

A visiting football team has fallen foul of a controversial bus gate on a South Tyneside housing estate.

Jason Lennox, from Sunderland, had been to Perth Green Community Centre to watch his 17-year-old son play for County Durham Under 18s against Sunderland Academy on October 11.

As of July this year, more than 13,000 people have been caught out in the bus lane.

As of July this year, more than 13,000 people have been caught out in the bus lane.

Following the game, he and others left the Scotch Estate by the Edinburgh Road junction, unaware it is now closed to traffic, except buses.

It was days later when he, along with his wife and father-in-law, received a fine through the post.

He later found that four football coaches and at least 11 of his son’s team-mates were also hit with £30 fines for driving through the bus gate.

The bus gate was put in place as part of a multi-million pound road revamp in the area.

None of us are from the area so we were not to know. There needs to be much clearer signage and in plenty of time to allow drivers to turn around.

Jason Lennox

The closure led to huge amounts of controversy as thousands of drivers fell foul of the bus gate and ended up with a fine, with many blaming poor signage.

By July this year, 13,156 people had been caught out.

South Tyneside Council was unable to update this figure but says, to date, that £402,661.47 has been collected by South Tyneside Council in fines.

Mr Lennox, from Lothian Close, Sunderland, said: “It was two days later when I got the fine for driving through a bus gate. I’d never heard of one, then my wife received a fine, and my father-in-law.

The controversial Edinburgh Road junction.

The controversial Edinburgh Road junction.

“I wrote to the council to say I didn’t see any signs and if I had, then I wouldn’t have gone through it.

“At the match the other week, my son said a lot of his team-mates ended up with a fine and so did all the coaches. If the sign was any good, then we wouldn’t have all missed it.

“The council wrote back to say all the signs were in accordance with traffic regulations. My wife said she had seen a sign, but by the time she saw it, it was too late she was already in the bus gate and was unable to reverse.”

He added: “None of us are from the area so we were not to know. There needs to be much clearer signage and in plenty of time to allow drivers to turn around. The whole thing has left a very bad taste.”

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.”