Inspection sparks Bath bus gate sign review
Bus gate signs in Bath are once again being reviewed after an official watchdog ruled that they could be clearer.
Adjudicators from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal have this month looked at ten disagreements between Bath and North East Somerset Council and motorists caught on camera breaking the rules at the bus gate in Northgate Street and on Pulteney Bridge.
The drivers claimed that signs were inadequate or misleading at the sites in the latest twist to a long-running debate over whether enough is done to warn visitors about the city centre restrictions.
The cases – nine brought by motorists and one an appeal by B&NES against a previous tribunal decision – were heard by three inspectors who carried out site visits earlier this month.
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They concluded that while the signs on Northgate Street and High Street complied with regulations and guidance from the Department for Transport, they could be clearer.
Signs at both ends of Pulteney Bridge and the existing signs at New Bond Street were found to be clear.
The panel upheld four appeals, and rejected the council's own appeal, dismissed three of the cases, and asked B&NES to compromise on the rest.
A statement from B&NES said: "The council is in the process of reviewing the signage on Northgate Street and High Street to take account of the adjudicators' findings and once these have been addressed it is hoped that appeal decisions will be decided consistently which will create clarity and certainty for the motorist."
The bus gate system allows only buses and taxis to drive all the way through the centre of Bath between 10am and 6pm, and was introduced in 2001.
At one point, a motorist was caught every eight minutes breaching bus lane rules in the city.
The authority is one of only 13 in the country outside London to enforce bus lane regulations, and the only one outside the capital to do so using Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology.
The ANPR system was installed in November 2009.