Birmingham bus lane fines top £3.2m since new restrictions in force

Priory Queensway A tribunal ruled the signs on Priory Queensway were "inadequate and confusing"

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Bus lane fines have topped £3.2m in Birmingham since a camera crackdown began, a BBC Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.

Cameras were put up at 10 locations last year and by June, 118,193 penalty charge notices (PCNs) had been issued.

The council's income from the PCNs is at the top end of previous estimates from £1.7m-£3.5m, the FOI has shown.

The Labour-run council denied claims it was a "money-making" move, saying income would be put into transport.

'Initial flood'

The council was paid £3,244,247 for the 88,302 PCNs paid by 30 June 2014, according to the FOI. Other cases are being resolved.

Drivers who paid within 14 days of receiving a PCN could pay a 50% discounted fine of £30. If paid within 28 days, the penalty was £60, and £90 if it was late.

Bus lane fines facts

  • Signage was deemed unclear at The Priory Queensway, St Martin's Queensway and Moor Street Queensway
  • 67,112 fines - more than half of those issued - were at the three locations
  • The council refunded £13,179 to motorists receiving PCNs at the three locations
  • The refunds at the three sites represented 218 charges
  • For all 10 locations, the total refunded to drivers was £14,776, by 14 July.

In February, a tribunal found signage was inadequate or confusing at three of the 10 locations: The Priory Queensway from Colmore Circus towards Old Square; St Martin's Queensway; and Moor Street Queensway. The council came under fire after the Birmingham Mail broke the story.

Councillor Tahir Ali, responsible for transport, previously said the council would not allow drivers' retrospective appeals, nor would it enforce 18,000 unpaid, disputed fines.

'Not money-making'

Tory Councillor Timothy Huxtable, from the economy and transport overview and scrutiny committee, said the introduction of the Metro had meant less room for buses on some streets, which meant the existing bus lanes needed to be enforced.

"However, the current cabinet member has, in my opinion, treated this as an opportunity to raise money," he said.

The council introduced extra signage at those three locations between April and June, which a spokeswoman said exceeded the tribunal's recommendations.

Labour Councillor John O'Shea, who also sits on the committee, stressed it was "not a money-making scheme".

"Although there may have been an initial flood of penalties, that is likely to reduce significantly once people get the message," he said.

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