Conservative councillors have welcomed the news that Bath and North East Somerset Council has caved to public pressure and agreed to refund all fines relating to the Dorchester Street Bus Gate issued to date.
However, Conservatives have repeated their calls for the Liberal Democrat-run Council to put an end to the farce by halting the Bus Gate trial entirely whilst the signage is reviewed and the authority considers whether it is an idea now worth pursuing.
The announcement that B&NES will cancel and refund all fines issued to date was made by the authority’s Liberal Democrat Council Leader during a live radio interview, just hours after the authority indicated that it would only be cancelling fines for people caught breaching the bus gate multiple times.
The decision by the Council comes following a huge public backlash against the Bus Gate, including a public petition received over 3,000 signatures and a Facebook Group calling for the fines to be cancelled gained over 4,000 followers.
Conservative councillors had warned the Council of the likely backlash from the new Bus Gate prior to its implementation and on Monday had called for all fines to be revoked and the trial halted.
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Tim Warren, said:
“The Liberal Democrats’ handling of the Dorchester Street Bus Gate has been a complete farce right from the beginning. They were warned time and again of the problems that would result from its introduction and the likely public backlash, yet ploughed on regardless. This is surely no way to run an authority.
“We welcome the fact that, after spending the past week defending the Bus Gate and denying there were any problems with the signage, the Council has finally seen sense and caved in to public pressure to refund all the fines. If only they’d listened before.
“Nevertheless, we still believe the Council should call an immediate halt to the Bus Gate trial so that the signage can be reviewed and the Council can consider whether it is now an idea worth pursuing.
“As it stands the Bus Gate trial, which was meant to run for another three months, will be completely worthless as we won’t be able to judge the impact on other roads due to the large number of drivers still using Dorchester Street.”