06/02/2014 07:53 EDT | Updated 08/02/2014 05:59 EDT

Drivers ticketed for parking in new NDG bus lanes

Dozens of drivers who parked on Sherbrooke Street West in NDG on Monday were slapped with $148 tickets for parking in the new reserved bus lanes that opened in NDG.

Starting Monday, a new bus lane came into effect in NDG along Sherbrooke Street West — between between Girouard and Elmhurst avenues.

In the eastbound direction, parking is forbidden between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Drivers must keep bus lane in the westbound direction clear from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 pm.

Some NDG merchants were angry to see parking agents handing out fines on the first day the reserved lane came into effect.

“They’re not even coming inside to tell them, 'We’re going to give you a ticket. Just remove your car,'” said restaurant owner Rashid Daghighi, who almost got a parking ticket himself.

Some business owners said they worry the new bus lane will take away parking spaces and hurt business.

“It’s two years [customers] are parking here,” Daghighi said.

Borough officials say this plan was announced last August, and the change was necessary to improve traffic flow.

“There's no question we needed it. The 105 [bus] was often getting caught up in traffic. I had a lot of complaints, and everybody's in a hurry in the morning. There is no parking problem on Sherbrooke. There's plenty of parking on the other side of the street,” said NDG counicllor Peter McQueen.

The reserved lane will be used by several buses, including the 105 and 420 which both run along Sherbrooke Street.