POLL: Should drivers get a warning letter before being fined for using bus lanes?

The bus lane sign
The bus lane sign
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Thousands of drivers have now been hit with fines for using a new bus-only lane - paying a total of £270,000 in fines to the council.

The bus lane, and its associated enforcement camera, were installed in on the Edinburgh Road junction to exit the Scotch Estate in Jarrow as part of changes to the Lindisfarne roundabout.

More than 4,500 drivers have been hit with £60 fines for using the lane since the scheme started last July.

Zahid Rao is one of the many drivers who have been stung by the enforcement camera - five times, in fact. New to the area, he says he didn't know about the bus lane - and as he got all the fine letters in the same day's post, he had no chance to mend his ways after his first offence.

It harks back to earlier suggestions by some that the council should issue a warning letter the first time a driver passes through the bus lane, only fining them for subsequent breaches when they know the rules, but have flouted them.

Some, however, think there are ample signs and road markings marking the bus lane, and drivers shouldn't need a warning.

What do you think? Have your say in our poll.