Brighton Bus Gates: Latest figures show drivers are being fined every 3 minutes

A driver is fined every three minutes despite having worked to raise awareness of bus closures in Brighton for the past two years.

And thousands of drivers are fined each month for driving through a year after more signs were put up to highlight the new road layout that Bustore in Valley Gardens.

The latest figures have been released by Brighton and Hove City Council.

This follows the release of the Council’s Annual Parking Report, which said 213,549 fines were issued to drivers for entering bus lanes – or bus barriers – or other “traffic management areas”.

Additional signs were introduced early last year after councilors were shocked to hear a driver was being fined every two minutes on an average working day in 2021.

Drivers were fined after crossing at least one of the bus barriers – a type of short bus lane that can be used by “local transport”.

Conservative councilman Robert Nemeth calculated that in 2021 a driver would be fined every two minutes, based on a 10-hour workday, given how much quieter the roads are at night.

Cllr Nemeth spoke out again after hearing that more than a year after he asked why the numbers were so high, thousands were still walking through the bus gates.

The Argus: The latest figures for Busgate fines have been releasedThe latest figures for bus gate fines have been released

He said: “The intentional trapping of motorists to essentially collect motorway tolls is grossly crooked and further damages our reputation as a welcoming city.

“So many people contacted me after I first exposed the scam and said they would never go back.

“Making these crossbreeds so wrong is ultimately a problem of resignation. Whoever is responsible for this is incapable of office.”

Last year, Cllr Nemeth unsuccessfully urged council to redesign the junctions and refund £2million in fines. But the council said there was “nothing wrong” with the signage.

Labor Councilor Gary Wilkinson has reiterated calls for “physical changes” to the roads to make drivers more aware of bus barriers.

He said Labor wanted to encourage “sustainable travel” and keep bus lanes clear of cars, but the hefty fines suggested there was still a problem.

Cllr Wilkinson said: “It would be a very good use of money for bus lane enforcement to then go back in and reinforce the message and improve and improve the signage.

“Although the signs and road markings have always complied with legal guidelines, I now believe we need to consider additional physical changes to emphasize the layout, such as bus lanes.

“I would also like to see higher than average bus lane violations being reported much earlier to check for signage issues sooner.”

The Argus: There are signs warning motorists of the bus barriersSigns warn drivers of the bus barriers

The council issued 97,169 fines to drivers who used just three bus stops in 2021 – at Marlborough Place and Gloucester Place, St George’s Place and York Place, and St Peter’s Place.

The peak month was August 2021, when more than 12,600 drivers received fines for going through the three bus barriers.

In January last year, the council introduced more “new road layouts ahead” and repeated signs after councilors asked for more details on how drivers were made aware of the new road layouts.

Council deputy transport director Mark Prior told councilors the road would turn red where the bus gates begin to warn drivers who missed signs that went “over and over” the legal requirements. The red surface has yet to appear.

The Argus: Numbers comparing the number of fines at the different bus barriersNumbers comparing the number of fines at the different bus barriers

Last year, the number of fine notices dropped to 63,622, which still equates to one driver driving through the barriers every three minutes in a 10-hour workday.

August was again the busiest month, with 6,689 drivers fined for going through the bus barriers.

Most drivers were caught at the St George’s Place and York Place bus gate as they headed north towards London Road rather than turning onto Trafalgar Street.

In 2021, an average of 4,575 drivers missed the curve every month. In the previous year, the average was 3,362.

The council said: “Additional linings and signage have already been introduced near Valley Gardens’ bus gates since the issue was discussed in the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee in January 2022.

“This was in addition to existing signage, which already met Department of Transport requirements.

“To ensure consistency at the city’s bus gates, council officials decided that a red finish was not appropriate.

“Bus gates play a crucial role in keeping public transport moving in busy parts of the city and improving the reliability and travel times of more sustainable travel options.” Brighton Bus Gates: Latest figures show drivers are being fined every 3 minutes

Fry Electronics Team

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