INSIDE THE CITY CHAMBERS

IT is a rare driver who has never incurred a speeding or parking ticket.

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At some time, most of us have overstayed our welcome at a parking meter or failed to notice the speed limit has changed.

But something is wrong when more than 10,000 motorists are caught driving through a bus gate in just 15 days.

At the end of June, the city council banned cars from driving from West Nile Street, through Nelson Mandela Street into George Square.

The aim of the move is to smooth the flow of public transport and make the historic area more pleasant for the thousands of people who pass through the Square each day.

Signs went up warning of the new measure and drivers were given a few days to get used to the new traffic regulation before fixed penalty tickets were sent out.

It would have been quite normal for a handful of drivers not to have noticed the new signs and road markings - especially if they were on their mobile phones at the time.

But on 15 days between June 30 and July 16, a staggering 10,096 motorists entered the bus gate and were hit with a £60 fine.

The result has been not unexpected - furious drivers have been inundating the Evening Times with emails of complaint.

A number have announced they are planning to contest the fines and no doubt many more are considering the same action.

One has even written Transport Minister Keith Brown saying he has serious doubts about the legality of the signs and road markings.

Road chiefs insist they gave sufficient advance warnings of the new bus gate and that the signs are more than adequate.

But one driver who uses Nelson Mandela Place every working day said the first he know of the new restriction was when he turned left into the street and found himself on top of the road markings.

He hit the brake but released he could not reverse out of the street so had no option but to go ahead and incur a fine.

Surely the fact so many people have been caught in such a short time means something is badly wrong with the signs warning about the bus gate.

Certainly Neil Greig of the IAM motoring charity thinks there is a problem describing the signage as "woefully inadequate".

The thinking behind the council plan to ban cars from part of George Square is laudable if it means locals and visitors can enjoy the historic space with less traffic thundering past and better air quality.

But the council must revisit the signs and find a way to ensure they are clearly visible to drivers.

Sitting on their hands is just not good enough given the number of people who in 15 days ran up fines which could net the council £600,000 in fines.

Automotive

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