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Bus Lane Penalty Charge Notice Oxford Rd Manchester, But doesn't look like a bus lane!
Umtwebby
post Wed, 22 Nov 2017 - 20:17
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First of two incidents in a week at my house.

Son driving a mini received a bus lane Penalty Charge Notice:

Being in a bus lane (during the hours of operation of the bus lane). Location – Oxford Road (Nelson Street to Hathersage Road. This in Manchester outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Detection date is 22 October 2017 at 12:06pm. Date of Penalty Charge Notice is 16 November 2017 (service is stated as being 18 November 2017).

Google view: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4622658,-...3312!8i6656

Although the signs cannot be seen properly, the signs at the opposite end of this stretch of road are available here and are the same signs exactly: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.459218,-2...3312!8i6656

The relevant cctv photograph is available here but please note the vehicle in the foreground which features in my son’s representation:

My son had turned left onto Oxford Road from Grafton Street approximately 70 yards previously. The GSV has loads of road works which are not there now. He was behind the taller vehicle which I think is a ford possible C-max. As they approached the area the ford indicated and pulled over to the kerb side effectively blocking my son’s view of the entrance to the cycle lane. He remembers seeing the prohibition sign but thought that the sign applied to prevent vehicles driving along the cycle lane although when you see it live, the likelihood is that it is not wide enough for a vehicle at the entrance. It probably could take a vehicle a few yards beyond the entrance. However he could not see the cycle lane entrance. There is a corresponding prohibition sign on the opposite side of the road.

Looking at the penalty notice , it is for a bus lane but there is no demarcation other than the red strip (presumably) that the bus lane starts and, in fact, the signs do not indicate bus lane merely prohibit vehicles between 6am and 9pm daily beyond the sign.

We will submit these representations and, if rejected, will consider a traffic tribunal. Does anyone have any observations on our chances?. I have the penalty notice in a pdf but need to redact it first and convert to JPG if it is needed.
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post Wed, 22 Nov 2017 - 20:17
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Umtwebby
post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 18:35
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Short and sweet - (MC00060-1801):

Mr XXX (senior) took part in the telephone hearing on behalf of his son, the Appellant. Mr YYY represented the Council.

Mr YYY told me that the Council had not changed the signage in this location since two previous decisions had made plain that the signage was inadequate. Mr YYY said the Council were urgently looking at the possible remedies but that this was not a matter with which he was personally involved. Mr YYY reiterated that in their view the signage was technically correct but conceded that its placement was not ideal.

Indeed it is fair to say that the signage in this location, technically correct or not, is hopeless. It gives the distinct impression of applying only to the adjacent cycle lane and not to that part of the carriageway which is intended to be restricted to buses (and other authorised vehicles) only. The signage fails to satisfy Regulation 18 of the Local Authority Traffic Orders (Procedure) Regulations 1996.

Mr XXX raised a further point: he asserted that the penalty charge notice (PCN) was served out of time. He described his calculations and, upon looking at the Regulations and a calendar, I agree with him. The PCN was only just out of time but it was, nevertheless, served too late to be enforceable.

The appeal is therefore allowed for two reasons: first, that no contravention occurred because the signage intended to warn motorists of the restriction was inadequate; and, second, because the PCN itself was served later than the Regulations permit.

Mr XXX asked for costs and will, if he wishes to pursue this, send to the Tribunal a breakdown of the time reasonably spent on this case together with the out of pocket expenses reasonably incurred. Mr XXX is aware that any costs awards, which are very rarely made by this Tribunal, will be modest. It will be necessary, as a primary point, for Mr XXX to demonstrate that the Council’s conduct of this case has been “wholly unreasonable”. Note that mere unreasonableness will not suffice, it must be “wholly” unreasonable.
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Anna-2018
post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 19:05
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Great news Umtwebby! I'll be quoting from several recently successful appeals!
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PASTMYBEST
post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 19:46
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Well done Umtwebby. They should back off now but i doubt it biggrin.gif biggrin.gif
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DancingDad
post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:08
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Nice one.

MCC have not a hope now IMO until they sort out signage, people just need to be aware.
Local press I think, plenty of decisions now to show a pattern.

Re costs..... Wholly unreasonable. I think adjudicator is saying concentrate on the OOT issue but I see no reason why a repeated pattern by MCC on forcing cases to appeal despite signage issues that are known cannot be cited.
The OOT is simple IMO, MCC made an error in serving a late PCN. This is all well and good but compounded the error by making the law up to suit themselves, totally disregarding simple mathematics and prescribed timing. This is not the act of an enforcement authority making an error or a judgement call, it is an EA deliberately ignoring the rules, despite having it brought to their attention within a formal challenge, seeking to gain from that and as such acting wholly unreasonably..... and 'aving a laff, all the way to the bank but for the people who are prepared to challenge and if needs be appeal to adjudicators.
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Neil B
post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:14
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Nice one.

QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:08) *
Re costs..... Wholly unreasonable. I think adjudicator is saying concentrate on the OOT issue

I wonder if the adjudicator questioned the Council on that?
To my mind he should have asked what Mr YYY was doing there in light of the obvious.


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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 11 May 2018 - 12:30) *
Neil is good at working backwards.

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DancingDad
post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:39
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QUOTE (Neil B @ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:14) *
Nice one.

QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:08) *
Re costs..... Wholly unreasonable. I think adjudicator is saying concentrate on the OOT issue

I wonder if the adjudicator questioned the Council on that?
To my mind he should have asked what Mr YYY was doing there in light of the obvious.


That is partly the point.
Okay, MCC made an error on serving the PCN late.
But they not only ignored two opportunities to cancel after is was pointed out (Formal challenge and Appeal), at least at NOR stage trying to bluff it and went so far as to detail some smuck to "attend" the hearing instead of doing the honourable thing and throwing themselves on their swords and DNCing.
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Umtwebby
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 17:13
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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:39) *
QUOTE (Neil B @ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:14) *
Nice one.

QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 21:08) *
Re costs..... Wholly unreasonable. I think adjudicator is saying concentrate on the OOT issue

I wonder if the adjudicator questioned the Council on that?
To my mind he should have asked what Mr YYY was doing there in light of the obvious.


That is partly the point.
Okay, MCC made an error on serving the PCN late.
But they not only ignored two opportunities to cancel after is was pointed out (Formal challenge and Appeal), at least at NOR stage trying to bluff it and went so far as to detail some smuck to "attend" the hearing instead of doing the honourable thing and throwing themselves on their swords and DNCing.


One of my notes at the time makes sense now.

The adjudicator did ask for the MCC position when I provided the dates re out of time.

Mr YYY said that the system is configured to cancel any tickets issued out of time.

In my opinion, this is a 'slam dunk' comment as it clearly shows that they did not read or consider the OOT representations because the 'system' decided it was not an issue. Mr YYY only said that he was not in a position to argue if the ticket was out of time otherwise as he did not have the details.

It was at this point the adjudicator asked me if I was considering a costs award. When I said yes, she then said to the Mr YYY that she was putting MCC on notice that she was of a mind to agree particularly in respect of the OOT.
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DancingDad
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 17:26
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Oooh, betterer and betterer.
They have a system that prevents OOT PCNs going out.
Which has failed on ???? occasions that we know of.
And fully considered, as is their duty, cos the computer says no !
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Umtwebby
post Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 08:12
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A quick update. I have asked for costs on the basis of the matter being out of time and MCC knowing the signage was deficient. This is their response. I particularly like the out of time response which I have bolded:

" Regulation 24 of the Bus Lanes Contraventions (Penalty Charges, Adjudication and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2005 ("the Regulations") provides that the adjudicator shall not normally make an order awarding costs and expenses against the authority unless he considers that the decision appealed against was wholly unreasonable.

The Council is not aware of any precedents under which such applications in TPT appeals have been allowed in the past, but in accordance with general principles in other tribunals, such applications are usually allowed in very rare occasions and usually when actual expenditure has taken place on behalf of the claimant party, for example because of the unreasonable conduct on behalf of one party, a hearing had to be adjourned, which added to the claimant party's costs (for example extra time spent by legal representatives or professional witnesses); or because the authority withdrew its arguments at a very late stage and after the other party had commissioned and paid professional witnesses' statements or other evidence in preparation for a hearing or written submissions.

In this case, the appellant represented his case on his own and without making any actual payments. Furthermore, this case was not that complicated, and although the Council appreciates the amount of time that Mr XXXXX claims he spent, it is very difficult for an independent adjudicator to objectively quantify the amount of time spent of any person, if this person is not a professional, following certain guidelines in terms of charging its time spent. Finally some of the items Mr XXXXX claims, like "Out of pocket expenses" are completely unfounded. In any case, 15 hours to deal with this case are considered far more than the average of hours that any reasonable person would have spent for a similar matter.

The Council deals with numerous of PCNs and it has to rely on automatic systems in order to be in position to issue and serve the PCNs within the lawful deadlines. Unfortunately, on this occasion and due to a failure of the system, the PCN was served out of date, without the Council's officers realising it. If they had realised that this was the case, they wouldn't have pursued the matter and they would have cancelled the PCN without any additional disputes. It was in good faith that the officers pursued the case.

On the other matter of adequate signage, the Council's position remains that the signage is adequate and taken as a whole, ie by taking into consideration of advance signs together with the restriction signs at the entry points of each of the four bus gates, adequately informs the drivers of the restrictions ahead. Notwithstanding of the outcome of some appeal decisions from independent adjudicators, 97% of drivers along Oxford Road comply with the restrictions and this simply proves that the signage is adequate for the majority of the drivers. Furthermore, even though this Adjudicator has a different opinion about the signage, there are other adjudicators who have looked at similar cases and found that the signage as a whole was adequate and therefore dismissed the appeals.

The Council has already undertook steps to address the system's failures in order to ensure that all PCNs are served within 28 days and if not to appropriately cancel them without further disputes. It is also reviewing its case in order to better communicate its arguments with the Chief Adjudicators in order to better clarify its position.

Therefore, from the above, it is proven that the Council's conduct was far from "wholly unreasonably" and that this application for costs should be dismissed."

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DancingDad
post Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 10:07
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If they had realised........ Pardon my Klatchian but WTF ?????

It was pointed out to them in your official challenge and they tried to blag their way around it !!!!!
So they very reasonably ignored what they were told, found an inventive excuse to attempt to continue enforcement, relooked at the evidence when the case was appealed and created an evidence pack, then let the appeal go ahead..... in good bl00dy faith !!!!!

Give me strength.
I assume you are responding and highlighting the facts against their detailed shortcomings.
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Neil B
post Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 10:28
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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 10:07) *
If they had realised........ Pardon my Klatchian but WTF ?????

It was pointed out to them in your official challenge

Perhaps if they'd spent nearer 15 hours considering it they wouldn't be in this position.


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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 11 May 2018 - 12:30) *
Neil is good at working backwards.

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PASTMYBEST
post Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 11:53
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can't see them saying in their opinion the signage is fine, garnering much sympathy with an adjudicator who described it as hopeless.
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cp8759
post Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 13:30
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QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Mon, 5 Mar 2018 - 11:53) *
can't see them saying in their opinion the signage is fine, garnering much sympathy with an adjudicator who described it as hopeless.

+1


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
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