WEST Berkshire Council has said its decision to introduce a bus lane on Park Way bridge is legal, after claims that the fines were unlawful.
The bridge was turned into a bus, taxi and bicycle lane (pictured) on November 4, 2011.
The council has confirmed that 6,184 fines were imposed in the first year of the bus lane being introduced. However, 104 of these fines were cancelled at appeal.
The fines, which are £30 each if paid within 14 days, rising to £60 thereafter, generated £170,000 for the council in the first year.
One motorist who was fined, Barrie Singleton, from Newbury, argues that the council’s charges are illegal because they incorrectly state the bridge is on Parkway, not Park Way.
“You cannot mis-state the location of the alleged charge. Parkway is a shopping centre, not a road,” Mr Singleton said.
“I assert it is immaterial whether the council’s signage was apparently legal, it was manifestly ineffective from the outset.
“By law there should be a dotted line with bus lane written in it before the solid line, so as motorists approach the bridge they can break out of the lane,” He added.
Former Chieveley resident, Regine Parkinson, aged 67, who was caught driving over the bridge last year also claims the council’s signage is inadequate.
“I was making the usual visit to Newbury, always park at Camp Hopson. There was not prior warning that things had changed, the actual sign was not at all pointing the way to make it clear.
“I bet if you did a survey on drivers, which way they were booked going over the bridge, most of them would have come from Camp Hopson car park. The council know how to catch people, there should have been a sign from Camp Hopson to say what the situation was,” Mrs Parkinson added.
However spokeswoman for West Berkshire Council, Peta Stoddart-Crompton said the council’s signage and fines were legal.
“An offence is committed if a vehicle travels in any part of the bus lane and the camera takes photographs of both the vehicle and its number plate to confirm that the offence has been committed. The bridge is situated within the bus lane and within Park Way. It is not therefore the case that such a bridge does not exist. Legally it is immaterial whether the penalty charge notice says Park Way or Parkway as it can clearly be proven that the offence has been committed using the photographs and because the difference is negligible.
“The traffic signs and road markings on the approaches to and over the bridge fully conform to the Traffic Signs and General Directions 2002, the regulations that the council is required to comply with. However, the signs provided go beyond the statutory requirement.”
The council said no motorists had challenged its Park Way bridge bus lane charges in court.
Last February, three months after the bus lane was introduced, West Berkshire Council cancelled a number of fines after it emerged that the signage had not been properly illuminated after dark.