Extra signs warning drivers about bus lanes – or “bus gates” – in the centre of Brighton are on order to try to stop thousands of drivers going the wrong way.
Councillors were told though that the existing signs in the revamped Valley Gardens area, warning drivers about the bus lanes, went “above and beyond” the legal requirements.
Even so, in October, 9,600 penalty fines were issued to drivers breaking the rules – at the rate of one every two minutes during the day.
But the number of people fined for driving in the restricted bus lanes fell by almost a quarter in November, with the number creeping up again last month.
The figures were shared with Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee at a meeting at Hove Town Hall yesterday (Tuesday 18 January).
The council’s assistant director for transport, Mark Prior, told the committee that red road surfacing would be laid at each bus gate entrance in Valley Gardens.
And signs would be reinstalled for a further six months saying: “New road layout ahead.”
Mr Prior also said: “Independent adjudicators have studied the signs and road markings in Valley Gardens and advised that the authority went above and beyond the design and legal requirements to make the bus gates clear and therefore enforceable.
“All cases referred to the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal, the final appeal stage for penalty charges related to the signs, have been upheld in the council’s favour.”
New repeater signs were on order for Marlborough Place to alert drivers to the bus gates. And an extra sign informing drivers about the correct routes was also on the way for the bottom of North Road.
Non-essential signs would be removed to avoid confusion – and council officials have written to satnav companies to ensure that they are aware of the restrictions. Google Maps and the AA had already updated their maps, councillors were told.
Videos to show drivers the correct routes had been commissioned and a media campaign was also under way.
The council filmed a video when the new layout was introduced in November 2020 which is still available on its Facebook page.
Last month the council published a map on its website showing the enforcement cameras in the Valley Gardens area.
Mr Prior said: “We consider these measures have been made appropriately to address some of the key reasons users give for travelling through the bus gates.
“We will continue to monitor the numbers which are expected to continue to decline.”
Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth asked for an up-to-date breakdown of camera fines given to drivers at all locations across Brighton and Hove before the meeting yesterday.
He also asked for details of the appeals that the council had won and lost for the past three years.
He was told that the information was not ready in time for the meeting.
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