It seems even buses aren’t safe from Huddersfield’s hated bus gates.
A bus driver has come forward and revealed he has been issued a fine for going through the gates last week – in his bus.
John Whitehead, boss of Pioneer Travel in Hebden Bridge, was snared by Kirklees Council’s traffic enforcement cameras as he went to the rescue of stranded train passengers.
But despite being a bus, offering a local service to commuters, he received a ticket for going through the camera guarding St George’s Square.
The company boss said he had taken the same route down to the station for years – including since the bus gates were installed – as it is the only way to get a large vehicle into the pick-up points.
“I’ve done this at least 20 times since February without getting a ticket,” he said.
“I get a call or text that I’m needed and I drive down and pick up passengers.”
“I always go in that way – there’s no way round it. There’s no other route in or other place we can park.”
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “Only local service buses are exempt from bus gates enforcements, not all buses.
“If in this case Mr Whitehead feels there are special circumstances he should lodge an appeal and provide evidence from the rail operator so we can consider his appeal.”
John, 66, said the council was ignorant of rules about what qualified as a local bus.
He said industry regulations did define his vehicle as a local bus as it cannot exceed 60mph and stops at locations less than 15 miles apart.
Vehicles that go faster than that, that don’t stop as frequently, are classified as coaches, he claimed.
He added: “Even if I wasn’t a rail replacement service I maintain that I could drive through there.
“Normally somebody will look at the cameras and have a bit of common sense – but not this time.
“Another firm that did the same pick-up as me has said he didn’t get a ticket.
“When it happened to me in Leeds I just rang up and they quashed it.
“I’ll send Kirklees proof that I’m a bus and a copy of the job from the train company but I’m not appealing it.
“It’s using up my time and if I have to do it I’ll be charging them £60 for a letter or £30 if they reply within 28 days!”
At a Kirklees Council meeting on Wednesday, Clr Peter McBride refused to agree to a temporary suspension of the bus gates.
Kirkburton Tory, Clr Richard Smith, asked him to consider it following a plea from the Huddersfield Town Centre Action Group (HTCAG).
HTCAG says many shops will go bust over the coming months as the bus gates are killing trade.