Posted: Fri 26th May 2023

Council rakes in over £200,000 as thousands of drivers fined for Chester bus lane offences

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, May 26th, 2023

More than 7,000 fines were dished out to motorists for driving in bus lanes in Cheshire West and Chester last year, raising more than £200,000 for council coffers.

Figures published online in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that in the financial year 2021-22, a  total of 7,236 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were issued to motorists who had driven in restricted bus lanes.

The council uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) software to enforce strict bus lane restrictions, with fines of up to £70 being issued to anyone caught breaking the rules – although that figure is halved if paid within 21 days.

The FOI revealed that in the year 2021-22, the PCN income generated for the council came to £235,607. The authority said the money raised goes back into enforcement, with any leftover cash going towards highways and public transport improvements.

The measures were first introduced in 2019, with the police having been responsible for enforcement in previous years.

According to the council, ANPR bus lane cameras are currently in force in five locations in Chester, at:

  • Wrexham Road
  • Hough Green
  • Upper Northgate Street
  • The Chester Bus Interchange access road from St Oswald’s Way
  • Sealand Road

The restrictions are in operation 24 hours a day, including Bank Holidays.

Councillor Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Highways, said: “The benefits of bus lanes are they increase the reliability of bus services, improve bus passenger journey times, encourage use of public transport and provide a safer lane for cyclists.

“The income from PCNs pays the cost of enforcement. This includes the costs of employing the ANPR camera operators, the administrative staff involved in processing and collecting the penalties, maintenance of signs and lines and other associated costs.

“Any surplus remaining after deduction of costs goes towards measures to improve public transport or other highway associated improvements.”

When the scheme was launched the maximum fine was £60, but this was increased by £10 last year due to new national legislation.

 

By Mark Smith – Local Democracy Reporter

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