Drivers' fury at 'confusing' city centre that causes sat navs to direct them onto bus lane where council clipboard-wielders fine them £70 under controversial new powers

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

  • EXCLUSIVE:  The pensioner claims the road is not sign posted properly

A furious pensioner has been filmed blasting council officials in Durham after ‘confusing’ road signs directed him into a bus lane causing him to be fined. 

Drivers have slammed Durham County Council after they were given powers to slap motorists with hefty fines, forcing thousands to pay up for a litany of traffic offences. 

Last October, the council was authorised to dish out £70 fixed penalty notices for driving offences, which was previously reserved for police officers.

Since the move, thousands have been hit with fines – and claim the ‘confusing’ city centre is not sign posted well enough to avoid them.

David Beaton, 69, from Birmingham, told MailOnline he was unfamiliar with the cathedral city and had simply been following his sat nav when the mistake occurred.

David Beaton said he had been following his sat nav when the mistake occurred in Durham

David Beaton said he had been following his sat nav when the mistake occurred

In the clip, David can be seen angrily remonstrating with a council official over the lack of signage

In the clip, David can be seen angrily remonstrating with a council official over the lack of signage

A massive 4932 drivers were fined between March 2022 and March 2023 for entering the bus gate

A massive 4932 drivers were fined between March 2022 and March 2023 for entering the bus gate

The pensioner, who had bus drivers honking their horns at him after pulling over, has slammed the council and claims the road is not sign posted properly.

In the clip, David can be seen angrily remonstrating with a council official over the lack of signage. 

‘You can all p*** off’, he says as he realises he will be fined for his infraction. 

He told MailOnline: ‘This is the first time I’ve driven through Durham.

‘I haven’t got a clue where I am, the sat nav brought me down here. I don’t know what’s going on, I’m getting stressed to hell.

‘This is the first time I’ve driven in Durham and it’s going to be the last.

‘I didn’t see the sign because I’m following my sat nav. You should at least be able to see what you’re looking for.

‘I got out of the car to speak to a traffic warden but there’s no-one here.

‘I’m fed up with this.’

Since May 2022, councils have been able to apply for the powers to issue drivers with penalty charge notices

Since May 2022, councils have been able to apply for the powers to issue drivers with penalty charge notices

Offending drivers can be fined for incorrectly driving in a bus lane, stopping in a yellow box junction, banned right or left turns, illegal U-turns, going the wrong way in a one-way street and ignoring a Traffic Regulation Order

Offending drivers can be fined for incorrectly driving in a bus lane, stopping in a yellow box junction, banned right or left turns, illegal U-turns, going the wrong way in a one-way street and ignoring a Traffic Regulation Order

A massive 4932 drivers were fined between March 2022 and March 2023 for entering the bus gate, which was introduced in 2017.

24-year-old Joseph Higgins also accidentally drove through the North Road Bus Gate after misunderstanding the road markings.

The front end engineer, of Stirling, Scotland, said: ‘It should be marked better. It should say ‘bus only’ not ‘bus gate’.

‘I didn’t even realise I had gone through a bus lane.

‘It’s my first time in Durham, it’s quite hard to drive around with all of the one way streets and bus lanes.

‘It seems like the council are just trying to make money at the expense of motorists. It isn’t fair.

‘There should be more signs to warn drivers of where they can and can’t go.’

Joseph Higgins also accidentally drove through the North Road Bus Gate after misunderstanding the road markings

Joseph Higgins also accidentally drove through the North Road Bus Gate after misunderstanding the road markings

Paul Bolton says locals were not informed of the changes and has seen an increase in fines over the last year

Paul Bolton says locals were not informed of the changes and has seen an increase in fines over the last year

Since May 2022, councils have been able to apply for the powers to issue drivers with penalty charge notices.

Although Durham was the first council approved, 11 others have followed in its footsteps, including Luton and Oxfordshire.

Offending drivers can be fined for incorrectly driving in a bus lane, stopping in a yellow box junction, banned right or left turns, illegal U-turns, going the wrong way in a one-way street and ignoring a Traffic Regulation Order.

Paul Bolton, 47, claims locals were not informed of the changes and has seen an increase in fines over the last year.

The healthcare worker, of Durham, said: ‘I know a couple of people who have been fined since it changed into a bus lane last year.

‘People don’t realise they can’t go through it anymore.

‘I’ve lived here for 17 years and it’s only changed recently. Residents weren’t informed of the change before it happened.’

Dave Lewin, Durham County Council’s strategic traffic manager, said: ‘We have a firm but fair approach to all parking and traffic enforcement and there’s a clear and well-established appeals process for anyone who wishes to challenge a Penalty Charge Notice. 

‘This includes the option of referring the case to an independent adjudicator.

‘The bus gates are on some of our busiest routes and are there to make it easier for public transport to run as reliably and punctually as possible. They are clearly marked and signed and the overwhelming majority of drivers manage to avoid using or obstructing them.

‘Any surplus money raised from fines is put back into maintaining transport infrastructure across the county, including subsidising bus services or funding schemes for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.’




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