A FORMER bus driver in Glasgow who is now a councillor is demanding an end to bus lane fines on festive holidays.

Malcolm Balfour wants the city council to do away with the "morally bankrupt" policy.

His call came after the Evening Times revealed this week that a 65-year-old driver was sent a penalty charge notice for driving in a bus lane as he rushed to his dying mother-in-law's care home on Christmas Day.

No bus services ran in the city on December 25 or January 1. But we reported that, despite this, 370 motorists were fined for driving in the lanes over the two days.

The council stands to make at least £11,100 from these penalty charge notices.

Mr Balfour, who worked with FirstBus for 14 years, has written to the head of the council's land and environmental services department calling for them to halt the fines on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, January 1 and 2 when there are no buses or reduced services.

Edinburgh and Aberdeen City Council switched off their cameras on these days.

Mr Balfour also wants to see the 24-hour camera-operated bus lanes, of which there are 10 in the city, reduced to peak time only.

Mr Balfour said: "As a former bus driver, I can see the benefits of bus lanes and I am in favour of them operating during peak times.

"But there can be no justification for fining people on the days when there are no buses on the road. This is morally bankrupt.

"Just as it makes no sense to have bus lanes operating on days when there are reduced services, it is equally ridiculous that drivers should be fined for driving in a bus lane at 2am."

Jack Wilson, 65, was sent a penalty charge notice for driving in a bus lane as he rushed to his dying mother-in-law's care home in Drumchapel on Christmas Day from his home in Leeds.

Mr Balfour's ward takes in the care home where the elderly woman lived. He decided to get involved after reading about it in the Evening Times.

Mr Balfour said: "I can only imagine how this family felt when they received the penalty charge notice. I was outraged."

The Evening Times understands an appeal panel will look again at Mr Wilson's fine next week.

Mr Balfour said: "I hope common sense prevails in this case."

He is now calling on the council to make the changes that would mean suspending fines for motorists who drive in the lanes in the 2014/15 festive season.

A council spokesman said: "Given that roads are quieter on Christmas and New Year's Day, there is no reason for anyone to choose to drive in a bus lane.

"The number of offences is falling, which shows camera enforcement is working."

linzi.watson@ eveningtimes.co.uk