A controversial bus gate in Brighton was responsible for more than a third of bus lane fines issued in the UK last year.

Some 38,514 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were given to motorists who drove in the York Place bus gate last year, equivalent to 39 per cent of all PCNs issued in the entire country.

More fines were given out to drivers in York Place than any other at an average of 106 penalties per day.

But Brighton and Hove City Council has hit back, saying a high number of PCNs is expected when a bus gate is newly opened.

“CCTV enforcement of the bus gates at York Place was only introduced in 2021,” said transport and sustainability committee chairman Councillor Trevor Muten.

“Experience nationally shows that new CCTV enforcement takes a year or two to settle down after an initial spike.

“During 2022 we reviewed the signage for these gates which found it was compliant with national guidance.

“But we nonetheless added extra signage to give drivers more advanced warning.”

The Argus: 38,514 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were given to motorists who drove in the York Place bus gate last year38,514 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were given to motorists who drove in the York Place bus gate last year (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

If each of the York Place fines were paid at the full £70 rather than the discounted rate of £35 for early payment, drivers would have forked out £2,695,980 in that one street alone.

Actual revenue generated by the York Place bus gate last year was £1,528,849, though only £1,174,333 of that has so far been paid.

The figures were uncovered by finance company Forbes Advisor, whose spokesman Kevin Pratt said bus lane penalties leave drivers with a bitter taste.

“No one likes receiving a fine, especially when it’s for as simple an error as using a bus lane,” said Mr Pratt.

“But the key message to drivers here is that if you’re ever tempted to use a bus lane or gate to shorten a journey, or if you’re unsure if you’re allowed to use one, steer clear.

“It’s highly unlikely you’ll save anything more than just a couple of minutes and a £70 fine is always going to sting.”

But the council said things are looking good for drivers in York Place, with just 16,041 PCNs issued in the first half of 2023.

It said this is a decrease of 25 per cent compared with the first six months of last year but if York Place fines continues at their current rate, some 32,082 would be issued.

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This is a decrease of just 17 per cent.

The council disputes the figures from York Place, saying 38,363 fines were given in the street last year but told Forbes Advisor the figure was 38,514 when the outlet received a response to its freedom of information request on January 30.

The Argus asked the reason for the difference in figures but an explanation was not given.

A total of £2,873,591 in bus lane PCNs were issued across all of Brighton and Hove last year, putting the city second nationally only to Bristol.