Review puts Manchester bus lane fine appeals on hold
A disagreement over "inadequate" signage between a council and a transport watchdog has seen more than 700 bus lane fine appeals put on hold.
The fines relate to Manchester's Oxford Road corridor, which saw new traffic restrictions come into effect in 2017.
Ruling on four complaints in January, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) said some signs had "poor readability".
However, the city's council said legally, the signs "fully comply" and have asked for a review of the ruling.
More than 320,000 penalty notices were issued in the 12 months after the new restrictions were introduced in September 2017.
They apply to short lengths of Oxford Road and Oxford Street between the junctions with Hathersage Road and Portland Street and permit only buses, taxis and permit-holder vehicles to the sections between 06:00 and 21:00.
'Gone much further'
A TPT spokesman said in considering the four appeals, its adjudicator found there was an "inadequacy" to the signage in place, an "absence" of advance warning signs and no "clear reference" to the areas being "restricted to buses".
The adjudicator also noted "poor readability of the signage", as well as the lack of opportunity for motorists to realise their mistake and exit the sections "before a contravention occurs".
However, a Manchester City Council spokesman said all the corridor's signs "fully comply with the prescribed legal requirements and the vast majority of motorists are observing them correctly".
"According to legislation, a single set of signs would be adequate, but as we don't want to catch people out, we have gone much further and have installed three sets."
Following the council's request for a review, 743 appeals to the TPT have been put on hold, pending the outcome.
Even if it is unsuccessful though, there is no obligation on the council to refund penalties already paid.