New figures show that Bradford Council has received £2.3 million in paid fines over two and a half years since switching on cameras to catch motorists who misuse bus lanes.
The data, released to the Telegraph & Argus under Freedom of Information rules, shows that from April, 2010, a total of 92,923 fines have been sent out. This equates to 700 fines and £17,000 in income a week to the authority.
Cameras at 11 key locations across the district continue to catch out drivers who flout the rules which allow buses, hackney cabs and cycles to use the lanes in a bid to cut traffic congestion.
Some bus lanes, such as those on the A650 Manningham Lane, operate during rush hour, while others, such as those on Market Street in the city centre, operate permanently.
In the first year of operation, when cameras were installed at five locations in the city centre and Shipley’s Market Square, a total of 44,577 fines amounting to £1,084,047.13 were handed out. Then in 2011/12 this dropped to 32,125 fines amounting to £867,253.39.
However cameras were then installed on the A650 Bingley Road and Manningham Lane, Bow Street in Keighley, and Thornton Road. The figures from April this year are 16,219 penalty charges amounting to £337,171.61 in revenue.
The Council has confirmed that switching on the enforcement cameras has led to a 90 per cent drop in motorists flouting the rules.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, the Council’s executive member for environment, sport and sustainability, said: “The purpose of bus lane enforcement cameras is to ensure that motorists comply with the rules which helps to keep traffic flowing more efficiently and reduces congestion.
“Keeping the bus lane clear makes for a more efficient transport system, is better for all travellers and causes less harm to the environment.”
Meanwhile Afsar Khan, manager of Tyersal Taxis, said he was still campaigning for private hire and hackney carriage drivers to be treated equally when it comes to bus lane usage. At the moment hackney cabs can use bus lanes, along with cyclists, but private hire vehicles cannot.
Other cities already allowed private hire cabs in the lanes, but in Bradford drivers are criticised by passengers who do not understand why they cannot take a particular city centre route.
“People don’t understand why we are not using the bus lanes, especially at night.
“Our drivers try to avoid them as much as they can, but with the CCTV cameras, they would always be caught, even if they only go into the lane for a short period by mistake and come straight out again.”
CCTV footage is reviewed daily and penalty charge notices issued by post if offences are spotted. The fine is £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days. The money generated is used to offset the cost of the service with the remainder spent on highways and transport.
When the system was first introduced in 2010, along with new bus lane restrictions in Market Street and Bridge Street in the centre of Bradford, hundreds of fines were written off following complaints from motorists who had accumulated numerous fines. A new appeals process was introduced.