A council took just an hour to rake in more than £10,000 in fines after opening a new bus lane this morning.
Between 7am and 8am, cameras snapped 177 unwitting motorists after rules were changed to restrict traffic in Sheepcote Street in the centre of Birmingham.
And at least 100 more drivers have sailed into the bus lane this morning – potentially raising another £6,000 for the council’s budget.
The new bus lane is on one of the city’s busiest new routes close to the Birmingham Arena and Bullring shopping centre.
MailOnline can reveal that several drivers left confused by the new bus lane may have gone through twice.
Almost 300 people face a £60 fine this morning after a new bus lane (pictured today) was installed in the centre of Birmingham with no grace period
The city council has warned: ‘Cross the line, pay the fine’ but irate drivers say they did not have enough warning
The road, previously a key route for commuters in the city centre, was made bus-only with council bosses last night vowing on Facebook: ‘Cross the line, pay the fine’.
Furious motorists accused the council of not giving them enough warning and complained the new bus lane rules were poorly signposted.
The 277-plus vehicles which drove onto the bus lane this morning now face £60 penalty charge – potentially putting £16,620 into council coffers.
The bus lane is set to operate 24 hours a day.
One motorist snapped in the bus lane today said: ‘It’s out of order. I’ve been coming this way for years and I had no idea it had changed.
‘I only realised it was now a bus lane when I was actually on the road and saw the lettering on the tarmac.
‘By then it was too late. Once you’re on there you don’t have a second chance.’
Vehicle after vehicle flew into the bus lane with close to 300 cars and lorries entering the prohibited area this morning
Drivers have called on the council to give people the chance to get used to the new layout before issuing the fines
Drivers were so confused by the new layout that they went round in circles and entered the lane twice with surrounding roads also closed
Council staff in a bus shelter as chaos reigned on the roads around them this morning
Sheepcote Street, at the back of the Arena Birmingham, was a popular way for motorists to access the city’s busy Broad Street.
But today drivers were greeted with the giant words Bus Lane painted in white lettering on to a bright red road surface.
To emphasise the message, Birmingham City Council last night posted on social media saying: ‘Cross the line, pay the fine.’
A spokesman said: ‘Bus lanes keep our city moving, giving priority to buses so they can avoid congestion. This improves bus service reliability and reduces journey times. We are committed to improving public transport in Birmingham, reducing the number of cars on our roads and making the city’s air cleaner.’
Birmingham’s 18 miles of bus lanes and bus-only roads saw motorists coughing up £1.36 million in fines during 2017/2018.
In 2018 there were 24 bus lane cameras operating in the city – compared with 12 in 2016 – and in the first three months of last year 2,000 bus lane fines were per week on average.
Locals commenting on the council’s Facebook post were less than impressed with the new bus-only route.
Malcolm Donaldson wrote: ‘It’s got to the point where I shall just avoid driving to town with all these traps, because that’s what they are.’
Dave Erfani added: ‘It’s a joke. Totally designed to catch people out.’
And Keith Ward commented: ‘Council is getting desperate now. They’ll step on anyone to get money. Watch your backs, people.’