Bus Lane Fine Clobbers Wimbledon Drivers

Fines increase by 1,310% in a year

Bus lane fines in one stretch of road in the heart of Wimbledon town centre have increased by 1,310% in a year - and 4,428% in three years.

Figures show that drivers caught in the bus lane (pictured below) at the junction of Queens Road and Wimbledon Bridge, outside Tesco and Centre Court shopping centre, paid £337,378 in fines in 2012/13.

In 2010/11, the fines stood at just £7,451, and in 2011/12 they were £23,932. The increase follows an extension to the length of the bus lane by 20m in 2012/13.

Councillor Janet Howard, Merton Conservatives' Transport Spokesman, said: "These figures are staggering. We all know that the bus lane on Hartfield Road is just a cash cow for the Labour council, but to find out they have a herd of them is just astonishing.

"It is this sort of pernicious and over-zealous enforcement which makes residents and visitors to Merton think twice before coming again. Enforcement should be measured and fair. This jump in fines shows that Labour is just hitting an easy target.

"Merton needs a revolution in its parking policy. That is why local Conservatives are committed to scrapping the Hartfield Road bus lane and reviewing the effectiveness of all bus lanes in the borough."

Councillor Judy Saunders, Cabinet Member for Environmental Cleanliness and Parking, said: "Traffic congestion is one of Merton residents' top concerns and enforcing traffic regulations fairly is one way the council tackles this. In areas of the borough where there are higher levels of PCNs issued this is due to low levels of compliance. Motorists change their behaviour as a result of enforcement, for example there has been a big fall in fines for entering the Hartfield Crescent and Hartfield Road bus lanes. This shows that enforcement works and stops traffic congestion.

"As part of the council's "firm but fair" approach, we have published our enforcement manual online to help road users gain a clearer understanding of how our traffic enforcement policy works. We have also launched a parking charter so that both the council and motorists know what is expected of them. Fines for traffic contraventions contribute to the costs of the Freedom Pass, which costs the council £8.6m per year."

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December 9, 2013