Wolverhampton's most prolific bus lane cameras revealed
Bus lane fines are being dished out to the equivalent of 22 drivers a day on one city centre road in Wolverhampton, it has been revealed.
Thousands of drivers were caught cutting through Market Street in the city centre last year, a section of which is only open to buses and taxis.
The section was opened up to regular traffic on several occasions due to the long-running roadworks at Pipers Row, which may have caused confusion among some drivers when it was closed again.
However, the council confirmed drivers were let off for a month after the bus lane returned to normal and were given warning notices.
Vehicles approaching from Garrick Street must turn right onto Bilston Street rather than heading up Market Street, otherwise they will be fined.
A total of 8,343 fines were given to vehicles for using Market Street in 2019, the equivalent of 22 a day, new figures obtained by the Express & Star showed.
Another hotspot was High Street in Wednesfield where cameras were responsible for the second highest number of fines. A total of 6,280 were issued.
Darlington Street, Wolverhampton Road, Willenhall Road and Stafford Street were other roads where drivers were regularly caught flouting the rules. Travelling in bus lanes in the city results in penalties of £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
In total, 34,842 penalties were issued to drivers for using bus lanes during 2019 - which is 95 a day on average.
Interestingly, the figures showed a spike in the number of drivers who were fined for using Market Street in November when restrictions on the road returned following temporary period when they were lifted.
The figure was much lower in October and December, suggesting some motorists may have continued to use it unwittingly only to be caught out.
Council bosses say there is no excuse for using bus lanes and drivers who do can expect to receive a fine.
The Express & Star reported last month on a motorist who was furious after he was fined for using what was dubbed as the "unavoidable" bus lane, when making a legitimate U-turn on Wolverhampton Road, Heath Town.
Councillor Steve Evans, environment boss at Wolverhampton Council said: “Although there has been a bus gate in Pipers Row since 2015, it was suspended during the roadworks to avoid causing confusion. The bus gate was re-introduced last October, when the council issued warning notices for a month, to give motorists chance to get used to the return of the bus gate.
“Similarly, the bus lane in Market Street was suspended for a while during the Metro extension works, but has now come back into operation.
“It is important to protect bus lanes both for the benefit of public transport, emergency services’ vehicles and the safety of pedestrians as well as improving traffic flow.
"Our engineers do ensure that the bus lanes are well signed but unfortunately it is necessary to resort to enforcement where drivers fail to comply with these restrictions.”
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