The Shepherd's Bush bus lane which raked in £1m with 'confusing' signs
18 February 2013
A council is facing calls to pay back £1 million in “unfair” fines after signs warning motorists about a bus lane were attacked as confusing and unlawful.
More than 11,000 penalties have been issued to motorists caught driving in a bus lane running down the centre of a road in a busy shopping area at Shepherd's Bush.
Hammersmith and Fulham council began enforcing the southbound bus lane in Shepherd’s Bush Road in 2006.
But campaigner Phillip Morgan claims that signs alerting motorists to the bus lane don’t meet strict Department for Transport standards - and official adjudicators agree.
Mr Morgan pointed out to adjudicators that the official blue “Bus Lane” sign is positioned after the bus lane begins - when it should appear at the start of the lane to give drivers adequate warning.
A second sign - painted on the road surface - also appears towards the end of the bus lane instead of at the beginning as DfT rules require, he says.
Mr Morgan says that the failings - denied by Hammersmith and Fulham - mean the bus lane does not comply with strict Department for Transport guidelines.
In appeals backed by musician-turned-parking campaigner Mr Morgan, adjudicators at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) have upheld motorists’ objections and overturned fines.
In one ruling on the bus lane the adjudicator states: “The confusion to motorists is plainly evident from the CCTV footage.”
In a separate case, he adds: “The signage ... is highly confusing for the motorist and therefore not adequate. The sign ... barely gives the motorist any warning.”
The adjudicator also ruled: “The layout of the bus lane is not compliant with the DfT authorised diagram... which clearly provides for a warning sign before the beginning of the lane taper.”
He added: “It cannot possibly be adequate to place a sign warning of a restriction after the restriction has started.”
Mr Morgan said that because of the signs it was not obvious where the bus lane actually begins. He is demanding that the council refunds fines totalling around £1 million, to all motorists caught in the bus lane.
“It is very confusing; motorists veer into the southbound bus lane while trying to avoid another one at the side of the road,” said Mr Morgan. “But the bus lane is unusual; it tapers from a narrow point and then gets wider, so that drivers don’t initially know they are in it.
“Suddenly after 10 yards they see the blue sign and think ‘oh my God’ but it’s too late and they get a £130 fine.”
Hammersmith and Fulham council, however, insists its lane is lawful and says that is has gone ‘above and beyond what is legally required’ with its signposts.
Cabinet member for transport and technical services, Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, told the Standard: “Our signs and their positioning for this bus lane are correct and proper, having been authorised by the Department for Transport (DfT). The bus lane fully complies with DfT design requirements. Motorists choosing to ignore the signs and drive in the borough’s bus lanes when they should not will be fined.”
Mr Morgan, who started campaigning on behalf of motorists after overturning a bus lane fine issued by a neighbouring London council, has vowed to fight on, describing the Shepherd’s Bush lane as ‘a nightmare’.
Cyclist are a Absolute danger-they race through red lights-hog the middle of the road -generally act stupidly whilst believing they are immune to reckless driving. I saw a man on a racing bike going about 20mph through Harold lodge park foot path-the crank skidded when he nearly hit an old ladies older dog then started shouting abuse.
Get them off the road.
If you try to cure evil with evil-you will add more pain to your fate.