‘Premeditated cash cow!’ UK bus lane camera issues 30,000 fines to drivers in one spot

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The road in question, Askew Road, has seen more bus lane fines given out to drivers than any other across Tyne and Wear, County Durham, and Northumberland. A total of 29,895 charges were issued from the town centre spot between April 2021 and March 2022.

This equates to almost £1.8million worth of £60 notices.

Luckily for drivers, Gateshead Council put a complete hold on fines on Askew Road between October and January while the street was being redesigned.

Otherwise, the number of fines could have been significantly higher.

Gateshead Council’s service director for highways and waste, Marc Morley, said the authority was “as fair as possible” in its operation of the controversial Askew Road camera.

The council agreed to waive any fines issued during one weekend of particularly bad gridlock last September.

Drivers had also previously dubbed the bus lane a “premeditated cash cow” and hit out at the signage around it, Chronicle Live reported.

Mr Morley said: “There are prominent signs and road markings in place to inform drivers they cannot use this stretch of road, and we have repeatedly adapted and improved that signage and the markings since the bus lane was first introduced.

“In 2019, before the bus lane was introduced, this stretch of Askew Road saw, on average, almost 497,000 journeys per month.

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“The average number of PCNs issued for the Askew Road bus lane last year was 3,736 per month – representing only 0.75 percent of the journeys previously seen on this road.

“We are glad to see that 99 percent of drivers found an alternative route, or are now completing their journey by another mode of transport.

“The Askew Road bus lane is part of a wider strategy we are implementing to address the dominance of motor traffic in and around Gateshead town centre and the quays area.”

The second most frequent location for drivers to be caught in bus lanes in the North East, as revealed by freedom of information requests made by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, was Quarryheads Lane in Durham.

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Some 28,810 penalties were issued there in 2021/22.

Also featured in the top 10 across the North East are the Tyne Bridge slip road in Newcastle city centre, South Shore Road on the Gateshead Quayside, and Edinburgh Road in Jarrow.

Here are the 10 North East bus lanes with the most fines issued in 2021/22:

Askew Road, Gateshead – 29,895

Quarryheads Lane, Durham – 28,810

Tyne Bridge Slip Road, Newcastle – 11,362

South Shore Road, Gateshead – 11,278

Edinburgh Road, Jarrow – 6,535

Laverock Hall Road, Blyth – 5,912

North Road, Durham – 3,052

High Level Bridge, Newcastle – 2,973

High Flatworth, North Shields (southbound) – 2,324

John Dobson Street, Newcastle (southbound) – 2,272

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