Arundel Gate: Call to refund 39,000 Sheffield bus gate penalties due to inadequate signs

Fines have dropped dramatically since extra warnings were installed
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A new bus gate in Sheffield snared more than 360 drivers a day - raking in well over £1m - before signs were improved, figures show.

The new restriction on Arundel Gate triggered 39,234 fines in the 107 days up to September 18 - the equivalent of 366 every day.

The Arundel Gate bus gate caught 366 drivers a day before new signs were installed.The Arundel Gate bus gate caught 366 drivers a day before new signs were installed.
The Arundel Gate bus gate caught 366 drivers a day before new signs were installed.
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The penalty is £70, falling to £35 if paid within 21 days. There were also 696 successful appeals. It means Sheffield City Council raked in between £1.32m and £2.69m in the period in question.

The figures were disclosed in a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Mark Fleming of Chesterfield, whose wife was fined in July.

He was among those calling for better signs - which the authority installed on October 3.

Now he is urging the council to refund tickets issued before then and delay penalty charges until January, to allow the system to bed in.

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He added: "We are not seeking to disagree with Sheffield City Council’s well-intentioned initiatives to improve air quality across the city, but we do disagree with many of the actions to implement the Arundel Gate bus gate, not least inadequate and poor siting of signage and failure to consider the needs of blue badge holders."

The restriction bans all traffic except buses, taxis and private hire cars from driving north towards High Street beyond the Novotel at 50 Arundel Gate.

It was introduced on March 20 to cut air pollution, speed up buses and create 'high-quality public space' to 'drive investment and redevelopment'.

The new signs are large, red and state 'Bus Gate Enforcement Now Started'.

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Councillor Ben Miskell, chair of the transport, regeneration and climate policy committee, said penalties had fallen 41 per cent since they were installed. But he insisted the original signs "met the necessary requirements".

He added: "It is important the council protects the health of its current and future generations by trialling schemes such as this, testing their effectiveness and learning from the successes and challenges they face.  

"When launched, the signage on Arundel Gate met the necessary requirements but we also included more yellow signage to go further and ensure people were aware of the road change.

"After calls for more signage, and subsequent analysis of those driving through the bus gate in non-permitted vehicles showed a significant proportion were from outside Sheffield, earlier this month further large signs were placed from Furnival Gate roundabout and along Arundel Gate to increase awareness.

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"So far, early analysis shows the number of non-permitted vehicles passing through the bus gate has dropped by 41 per cent. We hope to see this reduction continue and will not shy away from further improvements in future, should they be needed to help improve things for visitors to our city."

The bus gate was introduced on an 18-month trial which ends in September 2024. The council says 'all feedback will be considered' before a decision is made on whether to make it permanent.