200 motorists have bus lane fines quashed
More than 200 motorists have successfully challenged their fines for driving in city centre bus lanes, it has been revealed.
The drivers were among 19,234 who have been penalised for entering the 24-hour zones in Charles Street and Causeway Lane since Leicester City Council launched an enforcement regime in the summer.
The council said 739 of the penalties have been appealed by drivers who felt aggrieved.
Of these, 179 appeals were upheld by the council, 493 were rejected and nearly 70 cases have yet to be decided.
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A total of 63 drivers opted for their case to be heard before the Government's independent traffic penalty tribunal and 31 of them had their fines quashed.
The council has not revealed on what grounds the drivers were able to overturn their fines.
But city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who is in charge of transport policy, said he was not surprised by the figures.
He said: "Officers tell me the numbers are about normal for appeals against any kind of traffic enforcement.
"There will be cases of people who have had good reason to drive in those areas – like doctors on their way to an emergency.
"We, of course, cannot tell that sort of thing at the point they are caught.
"When we are contacted by people like that, we rightly cancel the penalty.
"We actually have a fast-track system so it can be done quickly.
"Some people will always simply say they shouldn't have been fined and they have the right to go to tribunal."
Of the 63 tribunal cases, 27 have yet to be concluded and the council has won four.
To date, the bus lane enforcement has generated nearly £450,000 for the council, which it said had been spent on transport improvements and on providing subsidised public transport.
Last week, the Mercury reported that the mayor had put on hold a decision to implement another enforcement zone in Rutland Street until after a scrutiny review of the two existing lanes.
Coun Nigel Porter, who sits on the scrutiny committee, has argued that enforcement needs to be more flexible, particularly with timing.
More than 1,400 people have been fined between the hours of 11pm and 6am, when few buses are running.
He said: "I would be interested to know why the council is losing appeals and if there is some sort of problem with the system."
The scrutiny committee will meet on January 23.
Have you won an appeal against a fine for driving in a bus lane? Contact Dan Martin on 0116 222 4278.