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Now Bath council pledges to refund 'bus gate' fines

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

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A council is to refund the fines of thousands of motorists caught in a controversial new city centre traffic scheme which were being issued at the rate of one every minute.

The "bus gate" in Bath banned all vehicles apart from buses but motorists said it was badly sign-posted and gave them little chance of avoiding automatic £30 penalties.

Lib-Dem controlled Bath and North East Somerset Council raked in £270,000 during the first month of the "experimental" scheme.

Over 3,000 people signed a protest petition and a Facebook group calling for the fines to be cancelled had over 4,000 followers.

The council yesterday said: "Everybody issued with a Penalty Charge Notice on Dorchester Street to date will have it revoked and anyone that has already paid will have their money refunded."

It added: "The council – in response to public concerns about the Dorchester Street restrictions – has confirmed that it has gathered sufficient information to complete the trial scheme. The council will be reviewing the outcome of the scheme before deciding how to proceed."

Council leader Paul Crossley said: "This is a unique scheme with a distinct set of issues."

The council's latest figures show that during the last two weeks of March 6,741 fixed penalty notices were issued over the scheme near Bath's railway station. That means the bus gate, which operated between 10am to 6pm seven days a week, was catching just over 60 people an hour.

Mr Crossley added: "What we have got from this is that everyone now knows there is a restriction there.

"We will be improving the signs still further and it is clear we need to go way above the legal minimum because of the road layout there."

The statement from B&NES said everybody issued with a penalty charge notice on Dorchester Street to date would have it revoked and anyone that has already paid will have their money refunded.

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