ENFORCEMENT action against motorists flouting bus lane rules is to be introduced.

Bolton Council says getting tough on drivers will help tackle congestion on the borough roads ­— but additional bodies are needed to cope with “customer care and appeals process”.

Town hall chiefs are drafting in extra staff at a cost of £40,000 plus to cope with an expected surge in fines.

A survey revealed the motorists complying with bus lane traffic regulations was low. And Bolton Council say action will help reliability of services.

Overall the number of penalty charges issued to drivers ‘across the board’ in Bolton has increased by 21 per cent between 2015-19.

The two new posts will be funded through the cash generated through fines. The appointments, say the council, will also free up officers to concentrate on the parking strategy for the redevelopment of Bolton town centre and district centres.

A council spokesman said: “We are looking to recruit two customer service officers who will be undertaking a number of duties including dealing with parking appeals and managing our car parking duties.

“Any surplus from enforcement can only be used to pay for the parking service and limited highway duties – and this is what will pay for the two new posts. To help with the reliability of bus services, Bolton will be introducing bus lane enforcement in the future.

“This will bring us in line with most other Greater Manchester councils and many other authorities across the country.

“This has been made more important by the recent national crisis and changes in people’s transport movements across the country.

“In order to manage the customer care and appeals process from enforcement, as well as continuing to develop a parking offer to residents and businesses additional staff will be needed.”

A customer services officer will be appointed at a cost of £27,000 and an apprentice customer services officer role will be created at £21,000, with the possibility of another position being created in the future.

A council report into the proposals stated: “The increase in traffic penalties already being experienced and the anticipated surplus from Bus Lane Enforcement will provide the funding for the two proposed posts within the business plan for Parking Services.”

It added: “Non-compliance with traffic regulations and the issuing of penalty charges has increased across the board by around 21 per cent in the years 2015 to 2019.

"With a greater emphasis on managing congestion across the GM network, civil enforcement is a key tool to achieve this.

"This alone has already increased the volume of work for the Parking Services Team.

The 2018/19 annual parking report announced that the council was proposing to install automatic number plate recognition CCTV to enforce the bus lanes.

Bus lanes in Bolton are on Black Horse Street, Deane, Road, Bridge Street, St George’s Road, Deansgate, Derby Street and on Great Moor Street.