RAC fears inadequate signage is causing drivers to be punished for genuine mistakes.

Drivers across Britain’s 20 largest cities receive more than 1.1 million fines for driving in bus lanes every year, according to new data.

A Freedom of Information request from the RAC found that 3.4 million penalty charge notices (PCNs) have been handed out between 2015 and 2017. Although the exact value of PCNs vary from one council to another, the RAC estimates that the total value of the fines is around £68m a year.

According to the motoring organisation, the number of PCNs has risen by five percent since 2015.

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Manchester City Council issued the most fines over the three-year period, with more than 352,000 sent out. In 2017 alone, the northern city sent out more than 172,000 PCNs in 2017 – up from 62,580 in 2015.

Glasgow followed closely behind, with almost 340,000 notices issued, while Cardiff rounded out the top three with just under 268,000 PCNs.

The RAC is concerned, however, that the volume of fines issued suggests that drivers are being fined for genuine mistakes, or that incursions are caused by inadequate signage.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘Bus lanes have a vital role to play in ensuring the reliability of public transport as they help to keep our urban areas moving. But the sheer quantity of fines – more than a million every year – suggests something is awry and we don’t believe the vast majority are knowingly breaking the rules. While there is clearly no defence for deliberately driving in a bus lane, we believe more can be done to make it obvious to drivers when they can and can’t drive in one.

‘A lot of this is down to improving signage. On city centre streets with a lot of signage ‘clutter’ it can be very easy to miss the specific times of operation. This poses the risk of drivers straying into bus lanes when they shouldn’t be or avoiding using one when they are actually allowed to.’