If thousands of drivers are getting tickets at the same junction then something is wrong
Camera enforcement of bus lanes appears to be overtaking parking tickets as the major cause of complaint from drivers of alleged entrapment, according to the AA.
Complaints from Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, Bristol and London seem to top the list and the number one complaint appears to be drivers wishing to turn left who inadvertently merge left into a bus lane early for safety reasons and are then caught on camera in the bus lane before they are allowed to be. Complainants often cite faded road markings and poor signage.
The AA has also received complaints from drivers pulling over into bus lanes to allow emergency vehicles to pass and receiving tickets.
Some 554,773 fines are generated outside London and 242,541 within the capital per year*.
These fines are worth tens of millions of pounds to the local highway authorities as, unlike speeding fines, the money goes to the local authority.
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.
Highway authorities should apply more discretion or give warnings when thousands of drivers are apparently getting it wrong. They could then use their camera data to identify the problems.
The AA also believes that there should be no enforcement if signs and markings are not in good condition.
It is believed that one junction in Glasgow has raised more than £3m.
The problem is that once the revenue is flowing there is little incentive for the local authority to change the junction or signage.
Another junction in Lambeth, London appears to be the top money spinner in the UK. This bus lane on Clapham Park Road is estimated to have generated over £6m in fines over the last few years and has been highlighted in complaints from AA members.
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 PCNs to motorists completing the same manoeuvre.
If thousands of drivers are getting tickets at the same junction then something is wrong and that junction/bus lane should be reviewed
Edmund King, AA President
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.
“We fear that too many local highway authorities have become addicted to the lucrative income from these rat traps and 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.”
(14 September 2015)
*Traffic Penalty Tribunal figures for 2012-13
Lambeth is the top London Borough for bus lane PCN’s, latest data for 2013/14 shows 30,030 up from 21,114 in 2010/11.