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Belfast bus lane driver fined over £4,000 has yet to pay single penny

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 27/09/2016

A motorist has amassed more than £4,000 worth of fines after repeatedly driving in Belfast's bus lanes - but has yet to pay a single penny
A motorist has amassed more than £4,000 worth of fines after repeatedly driving in Belfast's bus lanes - but has yet to pay a single penny

A motorist has amassed more than £4,000 worth of fines after repeatedly driving in Belfast's bus lanes - but has yet to pay a single penny.

The same vehicle was caught 33 times in 15 months around the city.

The motorist owes a total of £4,050 - all of which is outstanding.

In another case, a motorist has around £2,500 in unpaid fines.

They paid one of their 35 tickets - but ignored the rest.

It has led to claims that drivers are rebelling against the controversial lanes.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph reported that more than 50,000 penalties have been issued since June 2015, when the fines system came into operational.

One camera has scooped a staggering £1m in that time. However, around one in four fines have not been paid.

According to figures released to this newspaper, a total of £727,630 in bus lane penalties had not been handed over as of August 31.

That is more than a quarter of the £2,729,021 worth of fines issued in that period.

UUP councillor Jim Rodgers said: "These are people who are quite clearly trying to defy the system.

"I don't approve of it, but clearly people are unhappy.

"It is a sign of defiance, although I wouldn't advocate it."

He added: "It is costing people a lot of money, and it's hard enough now for people. That is why people have told me they are not going to pay their fines.

"I said that I didn't want them to be appearing in court or facing charges, but some of them told me they couldn't care less - they are just sick of it."

Mr Rodgers said too many motorists were being penalised for an innocent mistake.

Belfast bus lane fines
Belfast bus lane fines

"I haven't been fined because I've been exceptionally careful, but I know a lot of people who have," he added.

"They are up in arms and a number have contacted me."

A Freedom of Information request from this newspaper reveals the depth of drivers' anger.

One has blatantly ignored the bus lane rules, being caught no less than 33 times in 15 months and racking up fines totalling £4,050.

As of two weeks ago, every penny remained unpaid.

A driver caught 42 times in the lane has so far coughed up £575, with a further £1,490 still to be settled. And one clocked 35 times paid one fine and ignored the rest, with £2,430 owing.

A Department for Infrastructure spokesman warned that any drivers who don't pay their fines will be pursued.

"DfI pursue all vehicle keepers who have contravened bus lane regulations where the keeper addresses are available," he said.

"However, there are some cases where it is not possible to formally identify the vehicle keeper details to issue a Penalty Charge Notice and these PCNs are written off. However, we continue to record any further PCNs for these vehicles even though the earlier ones have been written off, and will pass relevant information in such cases onto the police.

"Contravening these regulations has a knock-on impact on other road users and the department will continue to take action against those who contravene the regulations."

Since June 2015, motorists who drive in the lanes face a £90 fine, reduced to £45 if paid in two weeks.

If a parking ticket is not paid or is not cancelled as a result of challenge, representation or appeal, the amount outstanding will become subject to debt recovery procedures.

This may be pursued by TransportNI, or it may become subject to vehicle clamping and removal operations. Where additional fees and costs are incurred as a result of debt recovery procedures - including clamping, removal and storage - these fees and costs will be recoverable in addition to the amount outstanding.

  • Are you not paying your bus lane fine in protest? Email arutherford@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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