THE controversial closure of a city centre bridge is continuing to catch out unwary motorists.

A further 6,233 penalty charge notices were issued in December to people who drove onto Lendal Bridge in York between 10.30am and 5pm.

That brings the total number of £60 fines issued since the six-month trial began in late August last year to 40,794.

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The December update on the closure shows slightly increased journey times for two of York’s Park and Ride services heading out of the city centre, compared with December 2012.

Park and Ride buses heading to York Designer Outlet took more than three minutes longer – but Christmas traffic and new lights at an interchange were said to be the chief cause of that.

However, journey times for four out of five Park and Ride services travelling into the city fell year on year in December, with “significant” time reductions both ways on the Rawcliffe Bar route.

The Labour-led council believes the closure should speed up bus journeys, cut pollution and encourage more people to walk, cycle or use public transport.

However, critics claim fines issued to visitors will turn people away from York and city-centre businesses are being damaged, with congestion being caused elsewhere in York.

The trial runs until February 27, after which its impact will be studied.