Second Preston bus lane rakes in Â£150k in fines in just 12 weeks
Preston's second controversial bus lane has raked in nearly Â£150,000 in fines since it went live in June.
A traffic camera on a short stretch of the A6 at Broughton has nabbed almost 5,000 drivers in less than 12 weeks - an average of 58 a day.
And with the Fishergate bus lane in the city centre still catching out scores of people on a daily basis - the total since last November now stands at more than 21,000 - County Hall is coining in tens of thousands of pounds every week from unsuspecting motorists.
“We’d be happy if we didn’t make a penny from the camera, as it would mean that people are doing the right thing,” declared Coun Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transportation.
A Freedom of Information request to County Hall from one of the motorists snapped using the short stretch at the junction of Garstang Road and the southern end of the Broughton Bypass illustrated just how many vehicles are falling foul of the “bus only” rule.
Tom Hall, whose father Simon was also caught on camera on a different day, had to cough up Â£90 for late payment.
He said: “It’s quite shocking how many road users like me and my dad are getting done there.
“I honestly didn’t see the signs. I’m not familiar with the area because I live in Bispham and I was trying to get on the M55 to head home. The first I knew was when I got a letter through the post.
“I thought I would put in an FOI request and I was staggered when I got the results back.”
Figures released to the Post by the county council show 4,835 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued between June 18 when the camera became live and August 31.
More than 300 made “representations” to the council about their tickets, with 173 of those getting off and 128 rejected. Nine are at the appeals stage with the traffic adjudicator.
The total revenue so far from the Broughton bus lane stands at Â£147,810.
With Fishergate’s “bus only” area adding a further Â£725,941 to council coffers since it was restarted last November, the authority has made at least Â£1.35m from bus lane fines - if you add 21,000 motorists caught in the abandoned scheme of 2016/17 who failed to claim their money back.
In Broughton, LCC decided last year to give buses an advantage at the busy junction of Garstang Road and James Towers Way by providing a shortcut just for them, while all other A6 southbound traffic is forced to use a detour involving a roundabout.
When the camera was first installed it caught an average of 64 drivers a day misusing the bus lane during a month’s grace.
That number has barely dropped since the fines were rolled out.
And the income has paid for the camera and its installation (Â£25,000) six times over.
“The bus lane linking Garstang Road to James Towers Way has been put in place to improve bus travel, while also providing a shorter route for emergency services responding to incidents,” explained Coun Iddon.
“The bus lane is signed and marked. We would rather nobody used it as a short cut, however the enforcement camera is there to provide a deterrent.”
Tom Hall, who questioned his ticket with County Hall, added: “They say the bus lane is clearly marked, but both dad and I didn’t see the signs, so they can’t be that obvious.
“I appealed it, so did my dad. But it didn’t work, we still had to pay up.”