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A bus lane that is only 39ft long has generated more than £440,000 in fines in just under two years.

Recent figures showed 7,854 drivers were caught driving on the small section of Northolt Road at the junction with Alexandra Avenue, in South Harrow, between April 2019 and the end of 2021.

The figures were obtained by Geoffrey Ben-Nathan, 77, a driver who submitted a freedom of information (FOI) request to Harrow Council after he managed to overturn his own fine on that stretch of the road.

In total, the council, who said the bus stop is in place ‘in accordance with the law’, generated £442,363.36 in the 21-month period.

A 39ft bus lane in Northolt Road, South Harrow, generated £442,363.36 in fines after catching 7,854 drivers between April 2019 and the end of December 2021

A 39ft bus lane in Northolt Road, South Harrow, generated £442,363.36 in fines after catching 7,854 drivers between April 2019 and the end of December 2021

A 39ft bus lane in Northolt Road, South Harrow, generated £442,363.36 in fines after catching 7,854 drivers between April 2019 and the end of December 2021

The figures were obtained by Geoffrey Ben-Nathan (pictured), 77, a driver who submitted a freedom of information (FOI) request to Harrow Council after he managed to overturn his own fine on that stretch of the road

The figures were obtained by Geoffrey Ben-Nathan (pictured), 77, a driver who submitted a freedom of information (FOI) request to Harrow Council after he managed to overturn his own fine on that stretch of the road

The figures were obtained by Geoffrey Ben-Nathan (pictured), 77, a driver who submitted a freedom of information (FOI) request to Harrow Council after he managed to overturn his own fine on that stretch of the road

Mr Ben-Nathan was fined after driving into the 39ft (12-metre) section of the bus lane which has a 24/7 restriction.

The grandfather argued the rules were ‘unclear’ as the rest of the restrictions along the same route only applied at certain times of the day.

He called on the council to either remove the section of 24 hour restrictions or to implement signs making it clearer to other drivers after claiming there is ‘no prescriptive warning sign directing the motorist to change lanes’.

Harrow Council disputed his view, however, saying ‘we believe that the signage here is clear’.

The case was taken to a tribunal where adjudicators ruled in his favour, after Mr Ben-Nathan, who himself measured the small stretch of the bus lane, gave other examples of drivers being caught out driving on the small section of road.  

He claimed the council was happy to keep the bus lane in place and even to lose a few cases as they knew most people would ‘simply pay up’.

He said measures should be put in place to make the situation clearer to drivers, particularly in an area he described as being a ‘problem spot’, and called for all councils to be put under a ‘statutory duty to flag up all contraventions’ which are seen happening more often than average.

Mr Ben-Nathan, who was fined after driving into the 39ft (12-metre) section of the bus lane which has a 24/7 restriction, argued the rules were 'unclear'

Mr Ben-Nathan, who was fined after driving into the 39ft (12-metre) section of the bus lane which has a 24/7 restriction, argued the rules were 'unclear'

Mr Ben-Nathan, who was fined after driving into the 39ft (12-metre) section of the bus lane which has a 24/7 restriction, argued the rules were ‘unclear’

Mr Ben-Nathan also questioned what purpose the bus lane serves, calling it ‘a box along one side of a small triangular island’.

In January 2020, the council was questioned on a similar issue on the same stretch of road.

On that occasion, a council spokesman said: ‘The law is clear – you cannot drive in a bus lane at any point where there is a solid white line.

‘We stand by our view that the signage is valid and clear according to the law.’

Source: Daily Mail

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