I realise this is probably as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but the recent Daily Mail article about furious lawbreakers furious that they had been caught breaking the law (Mail translation – hard-working families hit by evil stealth tax) was too impossible to resist.
Yes, it’s the Daily Mail article about a bus gate that’s actually a ‘money making scam’, or some such.
The article is headlined
Furious drivers face two mile round trip to get home after council marks up 10 metre bus lane outside entrance to housing estate
Helpfully, the Mail themselves provide a diagram of the situation in the article, which shows that drivers will only face a ‘two mile round trip’ if they actually drive all the way up to the bus gate, realise they can’t progress through, and then have to drive all the way back the way they came. The bus gate is at the approximate location of the left arrow.
As is immediately clear, using the ‘proper route’ – as the Mail itself describes it – involves little extra distance, and is almost certainly quicker than the ‘shortcut’, given that it is a national speed limit dual carriageway, rather than a single carriageway country lane with a 40 mph limit.
Equally, given that the entire length of the blue ‘shortcut’ is just half a mile –
the only possible way drivers could end up taking a ‘2 mile round trip’ is if they drove around one of the roundabouts thirty times, and then got lost. Gibberish.
We haven’t even got into the article yet, and there’s more nonsense. The bus lane has not just been ‘marked up’ by the council; it’s been there since (at least) 2009, according to Streetview.
The signs are quite clear to understand for anyone who’s recently sat their theory test, or who actually bothers to remember the rules. ‘No motor vehicles’.
Under the headline, we then have some helpful bullet points –
- Bus lane created on access road to housing estate in Bedford
- Residents at Wixams estate forced to make two-mile detour to go shopping
- Nearly 300 people have been fined in two weeks since lane was narrowed
Sweet Jesus. The bus lane hasn’t been ‘created’ or ‘narrowed’, it’s always been there, and it’s always been illegal to drive through it. Nobody is ‘forced’ to make a detour, let alone a bogus ‘2 mile’ one; they just need to drive on the dual carriageway, which will be a faster route to their destination in any case.
All that has changed is that the council are now fining people for doing something illegal.
The article starts with a repetition of the same nonsense.
Residents on a housing estate have been left facing a two-mile detour to get home after a council installed a 10-metre bus lane next to a junction. People living on Wixams estate, outside Bedford, now have to drive along the busy A6 to avoid the 32ft lane that is used by just two buses an hour at peak time.
No, no, no and no. NO!
Nearly 300 drivers been fined since the road was fitted with cameras and marked ‘Bus Only’ two weeks ago.
As you can see from the 2009 Streetview image, this bus gate has always been marked as ‘no motor vehicles’. People have been breaking the law with impunity; all that has changed is that they are now being caught.
The lane has been created in the middle of Kingsway road cutting off the access to the estate.
Not ‘created’, not ‘cutting off access’. There’s a big dual carriageway right next to it, that is faster!
People living nearby say the lane is nothing more than a money-making scam by Bedford Borough Council which has fined 284 drivers in the past two weeks.
It’s only a ‘money-making scam’ if you fail to obey signs, of which there are MANY.
That’s BUS ONLY painted on the road, in both directions, BUS AND CYCLE ONLY signs on both sides of the gate, AND a warning that cameras are operating.
Anyone who drives through this arrangement, and then has temerity to complain that they got fined, really shouldn’t be driving, it’s as simple as that. They are effectively admitting they are driving without due care and attention.
Katie Baughan, 32, was hit with a £50 fine for driving through the bus lane last week. She said: ‘It’s nonsense and completely pointless, you can drive either side of this red strip but not through it without getting a ticket.’
Katie, you are an idiot.
Ms Baughan added: ‘There are signs saying ‘bus only’ directly as you come up to it but not as you are coming off the A6 roundabout. It is completely ridiculous to have such a short bus lane.’
There are signs saying ‘bus only’, yet you still drove through, and are now complaining about it? Amazing!
Marie Jepps, 68, whose husband David was fined, said: ‘It is ludicrous. I think it is just another way to get money out of people. We always go that way to go to the shop or garden centre because it makes sense.’
If you don’t want the council to take your money, don’t drive through it! What is so hard to understand here? Mrs Jepps also seems happy to state in a national newspaper that ‘it makes sense’ to drive half a mile on a 40 mph road, instead of driving a fraction further on a 70 mph dual carriageway.
A note of something approaching sanity is then introduced into the article by another resident –
Mark O’Leary, 26, has been a resident on Wixams estate for 2.5 years and says that although the lane has been narrow for the duration of his residency, the cameras have shortened fuses in the area.
‘It has always been a bus lane, the only new addition is the actual camera which has gone up in the past few months and the camera sign which has been there for a couple of days.
‘I do agree that there are no signs either end of the “shortcut” road highlighting there is no access for vehicles other than buses.’
From this we can gather it’s not the bus gate that’s the problem – which Mr O’Leary confirms has existed since he has lived on the estate – it’s the fact people are now being caught using it. The only remaining issue is the apparent lack of signs warning people.
Well, no. On every single approach the signs mark quite clearly that the road is for buses and cycles only. Heading south on the A6 –
And heading north from the estate.
Maybe people don’t understand what these signs mean, but frankly that is their problem. They should know. And there is certainly no excuse for driving through the bus gate, if you did mistakenly end up driving down the lane.
Should we be surprised that the Mail is on the side of these chumps? The top-rated comment on the article gives us a clue –