I feel as if I have just been mugged and robbed.
I wonder how many readers from Morpeth and surrounding areas have been caught up in the latest bus lane scandal in John Dobson Street, in Newcastle?
Over 20,000 motorists have been fined in the last few weeks, including myself.
My wife was with me in the car at the time and we had no idea the road was now a bus lane.
We did not see any signs or clear direction that this road we have travelled on for many years is now a no-car area.
Also, once you have turned onto this road there is no alternative route but to keep moving forward.
How can this be fair?
To add to the confusion, there is additional fencing and roadworks going on, and as a result of all this, you have nowhere else to go, but to continue driving into the spider’s web of a cash cow trap.
I believe that the council should not have introduced this penalty charge notice until all the road changes had been completed and were properly signposted.
The signage is not clear and once you are on the street it is very difficult, if not dangerous, to get out of the area. You need to reverse up a street where there are further roadworks, which may endanger lives.
The signage is ridiculous and I feel that given the circumstances, everyone who has been caught out should have their money paid back to them.
The council has got this one wrong in my opinion.
How can more than 20,000 people be caught in a matter of weeks? It doesn’t make sense. Some 20,000 people would not drive in a bus lane if the appropriate signs and notices were in place, would they?
I have paid the £30 fine under protest because I don’t want the hassle of dealing with the collection heavies and all that could follow, such as bad credit future references, if I didn’t pay.
I suppose I could have refused to pay and challenged, but that would likely end up with a £60 fine.
My hope is that, like the drivers in York recently, at some future point all the fines will be refunded and someone at Newcastle City Council will see the sense of it all. I won’t hold my breath on that one.
To make matters worse, I’m hearing that further bus lanes are in the planning.
Who is behind all of this?
In the meantime I will, unless absolutely necessary, stay away from Newcastle.