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The bus lane 'rat traps' that cost us millions
« on: 14 September, 2015, 04:44:28 PM »
The bus lane 'rat traps' that cost us millions: Tens of thousands of motorists hit with heavy fines after being caught out

    Insurer AA demand Westminster steps into bring an end to council 'scam'
    They say local authorities have become 'addicted' to the income they bring
    One bus lane in London has raked in £6million, the most anywhere in UK
    Complaints made repeatedly from drivers in the likes of Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, and Bristol


Published: 01:29, 14 September 2015

Tens of thousands of motorists are being ripped off by the soaring scandal of underhand bus-lane ‘entrapment’, the AA warns today.

The motoring organisation is demanding action by ministers to outlaw the latest cash-raising scam by councils that have become ‘addicted to the lucrative income from these rat traps’.

A bus lane camera at one junction in London alone has raked in £6million and is the biggest ‘cash cow’ in the UK, it says.

Drivers who stray just inches into often badly sign-posted lanes – sometimes to let though ambulances or fire engines on emergency 999 calls – are being whacked with fines of up to £130.


Tens of thousands of motorists are being ripped off by the soaring scandal of underhand bus-lane ‘entrapment’, the AA has warned

Too often the signs and road lay-outs appear deliberately confusing to force drivers into making an unintended mistake especially when turning left at a junction.

As the number of tickets issued for bus lane infringements has trebled in just five years, the AA said: ‘Camera enforcement of bus lanes appears to be overtaking parking tickets as the major cause of complaint from drivers of alleged entrapment. We demand government intervention.’

Critics suspect councils are using the cash to plug holes in their budgets.

Complaints from London, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, and Bristol top the list.

The AA report says: ‘The number one complaint appears to be drivers wishing to turn left who often inadvertently merge left into the bus lane early for safety reasons and are then caught on camera in the bus lane before they are allowed to be. These complainants often cite faded road markings and poor signage.’

More than a million bus lane infringement tickets were issued last year – up from around 321,000 five years ago, figures from a recent Freedom of Information request revealed.


The motoring organisation is demanding action by ministers to outlaw the latest cash-raising scam by councils that have become ‘addicted to the lucrative income from these rat traps’


The lion’s share will have led to a fine - of up to £130 in London and £70 outside the capital with the sum halved for early payment – netting councils around £30million in revenue.

The AA said it had received complaints from drivers pulling over into bus lanes to allow emergency vehicles to pass receiving tickets.

Some 554,773 fines were generated outside London according to the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal which administers appeals against parking and bus lane fines. There were a further 242,541 penalties issued within the capital in 2012-13 – a total of 797,314.

Back in 2010-11 some 357,799 bus lane penalties were issued outside London. A further 213,592 were issued in London, making a total of 571,391.

The AA report says: ‘These fines are worth tens of millions of pounds to the local highway authorities. Unlike speeding fines, the money goes to the local authorities.

‘The AA believes that when an individual camera is raking in millions of pounds per year there must be something wrong with the signing, the road layout or the junction engineering.’


The lion’s share will have led to a fine - of up to £130 in London and £70 outside the capital with the sum halved for early payment – netting councils around £30million in revenue

One junction in the London borough of Lambeth ‘appears to be the top money spinner in the UK’.

It is estimated that this bus lane on Clapham Park Road has generated over £6m in fines over the last few years.

The AA says: ‘Even though London Tribunals have upheld at least one appeal at this 70 metre bus lane when a motorist crossed it to turn left, Lambeth continue to issue thousands of Penalty Charge notices (PCNs) to motorists completing the same manoeuvre’.

Another junction in Glasgow has raised more than £3m from bus lane fines. The problem is that once the revenue is flowing in there appears to be little incentive for the local authority to change the junction or signage.

Edmund King, AA president, said: ‘Whilst we support the use of bus lanes in the right places, functioning at the right times, we are totally opposed to ‘entrapment’ cameras on poorly designed or poorly signed bus lane junctions. If thousands of drivers are getting tickets at the same junction then something is wrong and that junction/bus lane should be reviewed.’

He added: ‘We fear that too many local highway authorities have become addicted to the lucrative income from these rat traps. We believe that central government should intervene and investigate when fines from an individual bus lane exceed 10,000. We also encourage drivers to appeal tickets if they believe the junction is not adequately signed.’


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3233271/The-bus-lane-rat-traps-cost-millions-Tens-thousands-motorists-hit-heavy-fines-caught-out.html









 


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