700 Belfast bus lane penalty notices cancelled
More than 700 driver penalty notices have been cancelled due to a fault with Belfast's bus lane cameras.
Technology to prevent illegal use of the public transport corridors was introduced last month but some tickets were marked with incorrect times. Bus lanes only operate during certain periods.
Transport Minister Danny Kennedy established an independent review and apologised.
He said: "I am extremely disappointed that this has occurred. Bus lane enforcement has been in place since June 1 with the aim of improving public transport.
"To find out that there has been a fault with the system is unacceptable."
Six bus lane enforcement cameras were introduced in the city centre near the City Hall. The penalty is £90.
A total of 118 incorrect penalties were issued between June 22 and July 21, operators said.
There were also 612 instances where infringements occurred within the period of time in which the camera settings were incorrect.
Because the time stamp on the penalty notices corresponding to each contravention was inaccurate, the DRD has also cancelled them.
There are over 50 kilometres (31 miles) of bus lanes along the arterial routes in Belfast and the city centre. Their times of operation differ, however these are stated on the signs at the beginning of each bus lane.
Traffic management in Belfast is undertaken by the NSL firm and the review will cover the role of the company and the Department for Regional Development, Mr Kennedy said.
He added: "Firstly, I want to apologise to those motorists who were incorrectly issued with a penalty charge notice and want to assure them that their ticket will be cancelled and any monies already paid will be refunded.
"All motorists involved will be notified in writing in the next week."
Nigel Coltman, NSL's executive director responsible for the enforcement scheme, said it was a vitally important measure to ensure Belfast's bus system and other public transportation was as efficient as it could be.
"We know that this error with the timing settings on the enforcement cameras should not have happened, and because of the measures we have taken, we are now sure that it will never happen again.
"We are very sorry for any distress this timing issue has caused to those motorists who have received a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) in error, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with DRD in order to maintain the full confidence in this system."