A 93-year-old man has demanded “diabolical” rules over a bus lane in Basildon are dropped after forking out nearly £200 in fines.

Charlie Payne, of High Road, Langdon Hills, received two fines through the post on Friday after he drove his car through the Southernhay bus gate twice in a day.

Traffic laws mean it is illegal for private vehicles to drive in bus lanes.

Mr Payne was fined twice because he used the lane on his way to Asda, and then again while travelling home. It takes his tally of bus lane fines this year up to a dozen - and means he has paid a whopping £180 since January.

Mr Payne, a former tool grinder, said: “I find it diabolical because if you want to go down to Asda and want to go down the town centre you get fined.

“That’s wrong.

“To get through to Asda now, you have to go all away around the town to get there.

“The signs are not clear enough, I just can’t understand what they’ve done.”

He added: “It’s not right.

“I definitely want to see it reversed so you can go straight by the bus station.

“You used to be able to pull in that lane, pick people up and drop them off.

“You can’t do that now.”

Spy cameras were added in February to monitor the bus lane on Southernhay.

It followed changes to traffic flow in late 2020 on Cherrydown East, Station Way and Clay Hill Road which saw the roads changed from one-way to two-way systems.

Essex Highways has rejected Mr Payne’s criticisms, saying letters outlining where drivers could go were “clear”.

It also said it was the “legal duty of every driver” to maintain up to date knowledge of which vehicles could drive in bus lanes.

A spokesman added: “For Essex County Council, bus gates are about safety, reducing traffic volume in busy interchanges which also helps with air quality, as well as reducing the temptation of people creating cut-throughs.

“Bus gates are not about income - success for the council would be to issue no fines at all, because that would be an indication that people were being more thoughtful about their journeys and the routes they take.”