|bus lane; where is the bus? Typical Boxing Day|
I have been looking through the PATAS ( Parking and Traffic Appeals Centre ) reports for Barnet Council to see what I can learn about the way that they handle appeals and the way that Barnet issue tickets.
There are 9 cameras which watch the bus lanes and each section of bus lane appears to be treated as a separate bus lane although most people would say there were two, one going north and one south up and down the A5.
There was a hearing on 21 June 12 for a lady who received 2 tickets for going in 2 consecutive bus lanes at 09.07 and 09.08 on 26 December 2011 (Boxing Day). Being in a bus lane is an instant offence so no period of observation greater than a second is required although one hopes that if you swerved into it to avoid another motorist or a fox that commonsense would prevail (there are no guarantees of that).
Boxing Day in 2011 was on a Monday. The bus lane operates Monday to Saturday.
The motorist Mrs F. argued that the buses were running a Sunday service and that other boroughs don't charge on Boxing Day. Both perfectly reasonable arguments and from the tone of the adjudicator's decision one that he had some sympathy with. However, the adjudicator has to apply the law and does not have discretion in this situation.
He therefore had to uphold both tickets at £130 each.
It is a bit mean of Barnet Council to issue 2 tickets in this situation. Imagine a policeman follows you for naughtily speeding for a kilometre. He then issues you with a ticket for speeding at 100m, 200m, 300m etc and you receive 10 tickets. No person would regard it as fair and the same applies to this pair of bus lane offences.
The motorist has to make an instant judgment on a bank holiday as to what to do as they approach a bus lane. The roads probably weren't even busy and Mrs F possibly gained no time at all, and had no ill intent, and she lost £260 by an instant and small error of judgment. Happy Christmas from Barnet Council. It is this sort of thing that makes motorists stay out of bus lanes even when they should be in them and causes extra congestion.
Why not write to local your councillors Mrs F. and start a campaign for Boxing Day to be treated as a Sunday for bus lanes, and every other bank or public holiday.
Whoever the vindictive CCTV operator was, stop being a jobsworth and use some commonsense.
An improvement that could be made to bus lanes is that small l.e.d. lights could be set in the ground at the start and alongside them. When you are allowed to enter the bus lane they are green and when you are not they are red. Simples.
Update 12 July 2012
The number of tickets issued in bus lanes on Boxing Day, Monday 26th December was 35.
The number issued on Monday 19th December was 33.
It looks like the cctv operator had the hump that he/she was having to work on a bank holiday