THOUSANDS of motorists have so far been fined for straying into new bus lanes along one of the district's busiest roads.

A total of 3,098 drivers have been slapped with the £60 penalties at Huddersfield Road, Bradford, since the lanes were installed eight months ago.

This could have netted the authority up to £185,880, although the fines are reduced to £30 if paid swiftly.

The bus lanes were introduced as part of a wider £67,000 road improvement scheme along the A641, which links Bradford with Huddersfield.

This work is being hailed as a big success but one ward councillor said he was concerned at the number of drivers being caught using the bus lanes.

Councillor David Robinson (Ind, Wyke) said: "There has been a heck of a lot of tickets being issued, into the thousands, which concerns me, because the signage is there. It's either people not realising, or abusing it.

"The bus lane has been a success but we need the public to be aware that it is there."

Fellow ward councillor Sarah Ferriby (Lab, Wyke) said there was no problem with overgrowth obscuring the bus lane signs.

She said: "It's clear and it's highly visible."

And Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke) urged motorists to pay heed to these signs to avoid the penalties.

He said: "Lanes are in operation and regrettably, if you drive in them during the times when they are limited to buses, be aware you will be ticketed."

A Bradford Council spokesman said the number of drivers being caught out was reducing month-by-month as people's behaviour changed.

The overall traffic scheme covers a stretch of Huddersfield Road and Woodside Road between Wyke and Odsal, and was funded jointly by Metro and Bradford South Area Committee.

It included improvements to the junction of Huddersfield Road with Netherlands Avenue, and a mixture of peak-time and 24-hour bus lanes into and out of the city.

A new Bradford Council report said both the police and highways officers thought traffic had eased and safety had improved as a result of the scheme.

All three ward councillors agreed.

Cllr Ferriby said not just the main road, but side streets joining it had seen traffic levels ease.

She said: "Traffic used to stack up and it was extremely dangerous. I can say that it has improved."

And Cllr Robinson said the work had alleviated congestion "without a doubt".

He said: "Traffic seems to flow better. Whether there's more people using public transport, I wouldn't like to say, but I think it has been positive."