Signs of confusion? Councillor speaks out over Brighton’s £2m bus lane cameras

A councillor has spoken out after his questioning revealed that two bus lane cameras in Brighton were responsible for fines totalling more than £2 million last year.

Councillor Robert Nemeth by one of the new bus lanes

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth said that the road signs were not clear enough for tens of thousands of drivers.

More than 54,000 drivers passed the camera covering the “bus gate” at York Place and St George’s Place, Brighton, generating almost £1.5 million alone.

At Gloucester Place, 29,500 drivers went past the camera by the corner of North Road, resulting in more than £800,000 in fines.

The two cameras are at key sites in the controversial Valley Gardens revamp, where the new road layout introduced in 2020 restricted private vehicles to the eastern side of the area.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council were shocked to learn that more than 9,600 drivers were caught out by the cameras last October, a rate of roughly two a minute.

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth asked for more detailed information when council’s the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee met last Tuesday (18 January) after raising concerns about the number of fines.

The details provided after the meeting showed that 168 appeals were upheld because of a technical issue with a street name in Gloucester Place and York Place in software and in a traffic order.

The council said that the traffic team had quickly rectified the problems.

Councillor Nemeth said: “The extremely high amounts of cash that is extracted from motorists suggests to me two concerning issues.

“The first is that unclear road signage is regularly installed in Brighton and Hove. The second is that unclear signage is rarely remedied once it is discovered that it is faulty.

“I will continue to question why so much signage here is so bad.”

The council’s assistant director for transport Mark Prior told councillors that the signs in Valley Gardens went “above and beyond” what was required.

But more signs are on order, he said, to alert drivers to the bus gates and red-coloured road surface introduced at the bus gate junctions.

Mitchie Alexander

Increasing controversy about the high level of fines prompted a charity worker to share the experience of two volunteers who received fines for driving into Gloucester Place from the wrong direction.

Mitchie Alexander, volunteer co-ordinator for Brighton and Hove Grub Hub, directed volunteers to pick up the project’s food parcels from the rear of One Church, in Gloucester Road, by driving down North Road.

But two drivers were confused and went along Marlborough Place into Gloucester Road instead, resulting in two fines.

She said: “Some of them didn’t see the signs and thought I’d made a mistake with the directions when they saw ‘local traffic’ and thought they could access the area.

“One of them walked around again and still couldn’t see the signs. I’m sure there must be some.”

“Some of the volunteers aren’t used to driving in the centre (of Brighton) but they were doing it for the project.”

  1. bradly Reply

    “local traffic” is misleading

    • Martin Burt Reply

      Local traffic could be misleading, but normal traffic signs surely are not.
      If you do enter Gloucester Place, there’s still normal traffic signage, on approaching the traffic lights, there’s at least three signs saying it’s a right turn for anything other than a BUS, TAXI or Cycle, THREE.
      Drivers look at the traffic lights waiting for green light, there’s a sign there too, staring them in the face telling them they have to turn right.

      Even in the Photo above you can clearly see a blue circle and in big letters painted on the floor BUS GATE, even if GATE means nothing the word BUS should at least alert a driver, but obviously not.
      Just goes to show how many drivers Fail to look or pay attention, and that is the number one cause of most crashes.

      The signs and clues are there, but the standard of drivers paying full attention is lacking and reliant I bet on un updated SAT NAV’s in most cases.

  2. Car Delenda Est Reply

    It’s impossible to take Nemeth seriously anymore. It’s clear he sees motorists as his constituency.

  3. Richard Pringe Reply

    So why isn’t there a NO ENTRY sign, with exceptions indicated below, familiar to drivers for decades?
    It isn’t beyond the wit of the council officers to have done that from the outset, instead of just faffing around with lame excuses.. or perhaps it is. It should be apparent to all that if thousands of drivers are mistakenly driving in the so called bus gate there is something wrong with the signage. Or something wrong with those responsible for it.

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