More than 5,000 drivers fined in five months
A bid to scrap a bus lane near Wimbledon town centre, which has raised £300,000 in fines in just five months, has been lost.
Merton council's Conservative opposition put a motion to a full council meeting calling for the lane in Hartfield Road to be scrapped by the end of 2012.
But their motion was defeated on Wednesday (July 11) by 31 votes to 26.
When Merton council re-instated a shortened version of the bus lane at the end of 2011 it said it would raise £110,000 each year in fines.
The council said it re-introduced the lane to improve traffic congestion through Wimbledon. It re-worked the lane that was originally removed in 2009.
But Tory Environment and Transport Spokesman, Councillor Richard Hilton, said the fines were running at more than seven times the rate anticipated. He said more than 5,600 penalty notices had been issued.
The motion calling for the removal of the lane read: "This Council believes that greater use of public transport should be encouraged wherever possible, but regards this particular bus lane's re-introduction as a purely revenue generating exercise.
"That the actual income received from the bus lane, at the current rate, would be almost seven times greater in its first year of operation than anticipated and that no reliable authority has produced any evidence to suggest that bus journey times or pedestrian safety have improved, shows that its reintroduction is only serving to unfairly punish residents, discourage visitors and harm local businesses."
When the original bus lane was scrapped in 2009, it was said to have caught 17,000 drivers in three years, costing them more than £800,000 in fines.
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