TRANSPORT bosses have revealed their concerns about the number of drivers issued with fines from York’s controversial Lendal Bridge trial.

An update on the six-month experiment – which bans private vehicles from the bridge between 10.30am and 5pm – said City of York Council expected the rate of £60 penalty charge notices for breaching its rules to reduce and level out.

But instead, they had remained at a relatively constant level, with about 80 per cent of recipients being visitors. By December 29, 40,794 penalty notices had been issued, although some drivers will have won appeals.

The report by the council’s major transport projects manager, Ruth Stephenson, said morning “spot surveys” on the Inner Ring Road had shown five or ten minutes was being added to journeys between Fishergate, Walmgate Bar and Layerthorpe.

However, it said that despite late afternoon delays on Water End and Clifton Green, the route appeared to be “coping reasonably well” otherwise, while traffic had improved in Bootham, Gillygate, Clarence Street, Lord Mayor’s Walk, St Leonard’s Place and around York Station. More detailed traffic information is expected later this month.

“The number of PCNs being issued remains a concern, especially as it appears to be drivers who are unfamiliar with the city,” said the report, adding that signs had been improved to raise awareness.

It said that, in September and October, traffic levels were similar to 2012 and Park&Ride use rose, suggesting people were “not avoiding York”, while there were “no signs of gridlock”.

Kate McMullen, head of Visit York, said: “We fully support the trial and it’s good news that signage has been improved, but we will continue to push for a ‘friendly’ warning for first-time offenders because it’s clear many visitors do not realise they are contravening the traffic signs.

“We want all visitors to have an enjoyable stay without it being marred by a follow-up fine. York’s reputation as a welcoming, friendly city is important to protect.”