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"Cash cow" bus lane cameras net Bournemouth Council £100,000
CAMPAIGNERS have criticised cameras in a Bournemouth bus lane for making motorists feel like “cash cows”.
More than 4,000 fines have been issued to motorists using Coach House Place since the two cameras went up earlier this year – so far netting Bournemouth Council around £100,000.
The road, which connects Lansdowne Road to Bournemouth Railway Station, is restricted for the use of buses, taxis and cyclists, but has been used by other motorists as a short-cut.
Between February 1 and March 15 offending drivers were sent warning letters, but since then 4,146 penalty charge notices worth £70 – or £35 if paid quickly – have been issued.
Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said it wasn’t surprising motorists increasingly felt like “cash cows” for local authorities.
“Drivers are understandably sceptical about the use of cameras like these, which they see bringing in vast amounts of money for the council, while appearing to have precious little to do with making the roads safer,” he said.
Local resident Brian Moran said: “I don’t think it is justified, in my opinion drivers face unnecessarily heavy fines. The penalty is just too extreme for that offence.”
Dave Goatcher, another local, added: “It is disgusting that the council are making so much money out of it, but that has always been the way.
“However if people decide to chance it they must be prepared to face the consequences.”
However some taxi drivers at the railway station were more supportive of the cameras.
Cabbie Christian Jorgensen said: “I’m pleased these cameras have gone up as there has been a safety problem, mainly when drivers overtake buses by pulling into the other lane on the corner.
“There are plenty of signs so there is no excuse, but people just ignore them.”
Council parking and traffic manager Gary Powell said the restrictions were in place to ensure punctuality for buses and cabs.
“Any revenue which we have received through issuing penalty notices is ring-fenced and reinvested back into the road network and parking service,” he added.
“We will be content when we don’t have to issue any fines because it means the aim of enforcement at this location has been achieved.”
He said the number of fines issued was gradually decreasing.
Second council backlash
THIS is not the first time the council has received a windfall by putting cameras on a bus lane.
Back in 2009 a camera on a temporary bus lane in Gloucester Road, Boscombe, led to 4,400 fines being issued in just three months, raising more than £100,000.
Fifty of those motorists appealed on the basis that the signage was unclear, and their £60 fines were quashed by an independent adjudicator.
However Bournemouth Council, although they decided not to appeal the decision, refused to refund any of the other motorists.
At the time adjudicator Stephen Knapp dismissed allegations the council had purposely sought to make money out of motorists, but said the signage was “ambiguous in daylight and practically invisible at night”.
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