Manchester City Council has defended its use of bus gates on Oxford Road after a tribunal overturned around 300 penalty notices on grounds of poor signage.
A bus gate is only open to buses, black cabs and bicycles. Parts of Oxford Road have these restrictions from 6am to 9pm every day, with fines of up to £90 for drivers of other vehicles.
Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)
The Manchester Evening News (MEN) said the council had confirmed it has issued 345,536 penalty notices since the bus gates were introduced last September.
However, the council suggested that the paper’s claim that it had raked in an estimated £10.4m from penalty notices was an overestimate.
A Traffic Penalty Tribunal told the MEN: ‘Adjudicators have found that the signs on some sections of the Oxford Road bus route fail to meet the required standard, taking into account the signs regulations and the Department for Transport guidance to authorities in the Traffic Signs Manual.’
A council spokesman said: ‘The vast majority of drivers have correctly followed alternative routes avoiding Oxford Road since the bus gates became operational last September - significantly reducing journey times for bus users as well as improving the experience of cyclists and pedestrians.
‘This significant reduction in traffic, which traffic counts show amounts to more than three million journeys since the bus gate came into force, also makes a big contribution to cleaner air along the Oxford Road corridor.
‘These very real improvements are the reason why the scheme was introduced and is proving effective.'
The council added that its position remains that the signs 'meet all relevant regulations' and it had also trialled additional electronic messages and temporary signs but 'these have made barely any difference to the number of infringements'.
'We are also currently waiting for Department for Transport approval for extra signage to further help motorists and have asked the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for more clarity about the small overall number of cases where they have found against us.’