INCONSIDERATE motorists who block bus stops are to be targeted by civil enforcement officers.

Wardens are going to step up patrols at problem areas and hand out penalty tickets to motorists who are illegally parked at bus stops.

Transport bosses at Bournemouth council say they are determined to tackle the problem because it hinders passengers getting on and off the bus and often leads to the bus blocking the road, causing traffic to tail back.

James Duncan, transport-ation services manager, said: "We are looking to increase the enforcement of people who park on bus stops. We are looking to apply a similar approach to the one taken at schools."

Conservative Cllr Robert Lawton, cabinet member with responsibility for transport, said: "Antisocial parking is a real concern for us, whether it is at schools, bus stops or wherever.

"You shouldn't have buses having to stop in the middle of the road. It causes traffic to build up, which leads to frustration and people taking unnecessary risks."

A spokeswoman for Yellow Buses welcomed the move: "We're pleased the council has given this issue priority. Our drivers, who cover more than five million kilometres a year across the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch areas, frequently report difficulties with inconsiderate parking by motorists at bus stops and using bus lanes.

"Cars parking at bus stops cause problems for passengers getting on and off buses, especially for those with mobility difficulties. We will be delighted to work with the council to deal with traffic problems to better serve the travelling public."

And Chris Harris, PR manager at Wilts & Dorset, said: "We too are delighted that the council are taking this action.

"It can cause very real difficulties if a bus can't get on to the stop. In many instances the authorities have raised the kerbs so our low-floor buses can offer a step-free transfer between the pavement and the bus.

"But if the bus can't get on to the stop, that benefit is negated."