DRIVERS using a stretch of road, which has been turned into a bus lane, have been warned that fines are now being issued.

Gateshead Council has said it has been issuing around 350 warning letters to drivers every day after a section of Askew Road became a bus lane, a month ago.

SEE MORE: Drivers warned as bus lane cameras added to A167 in Gateshead

A camera was installed on the road between Wellington Street and the A167 in the town, towards the end of September.

But the council said £60 Penalty Charge Notices were now being issued after a month of sending warning letters to drivers. 

The council said that initial observations by council staff suggested a small number of drivers had driven through because they were unfamiliar with the new road layout.

But the council said 'hundreds' of drivers were 'ignoring' the rules and using the lane as a short cut to the Tyne Bridge, despite being signposted.

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Planning Policy, Climate Change and Strategic Transport at Gateshead Council, said: "Motorists who use this bus lane as a rat run to the Tyne Bridge are committing an offence.  

"They are also causing delays for bus passengers and local residents because they are taking up road space which causes other junctions to become blocked. 

"Anyone illegally using this bus lane should be aware that they are now risking a £60 penalty charge and that we have cameras which will record their actions.

The Northern Echo:


"Charging people for driving through a bus lane is very much a measure of last resort - we'd much prefer motorists simply to do the right thing.

"We have held off doing so for as long as we can but unfortunately the level of offending is such that we now have no alternative but to introduce the penalty charge." 

The council said the road was turned into a bus and cycle lane only as an experiment for the type of measures needed when the Tyne Bridge is reduced to a single lane in each direction next year. 

It said that traffic flow across the Tyne Bridge is likely to halve as part of legal requirements by the government to reduce air pollution in the area.

The council added that the road layout is experimental and some minor changes had already been made as a result of public feedback.