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Bus lanes bring in £1.9m profit for Wolverhampton council

By Jessica Labhart | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Bus lane cameras in Wolverhampton have raked in £1.9 million in profit since being introduced two years ago, it has been revealed.

Pipers Row, one of 12 places to have a bus lane camera in Wolverhampton

Across the city there are 12 cameras snaring vehicles which illegally drive in dedicated bus lanes.

The first of the cameras was introduced in June 2015.

In 2015/16 the authority amassed a total revenue of £1.3m, before bringing in £1.9m the following year.

Around £1.3m of money was spent to cover the running of the cameras and to meet other costs associated with the authority's transport department.

The figures were disclosed at a meeting of Wolverhampton council on Wednesday.

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, said: "Last year, the council spent £12.8m and £1.9m is a fraction of that.

"This is not a cash cow for us like people think.

"Ultimately, if people do not break the law, they will not get a bus lane fine."

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Councillor Udey Singh, Conservative councillor for Tettenhall Regis ward who raised the issue at the meeting, said: "We feel that an urgent review is needed into the bus lane cameras and restrictions in the city.

"Surely the council can admit that if the scheme had been effective as a deterrent, we would have seen the total amount coming in from the penalty charge notices decrease dramatically?

"Instead it appears that this has become a cash-trap for the hard-working residents of Wolverhampton and a deterrent to outside and repeat visitors looking to work and enjoy what's on offer here."

There are 12 cameras in the city, with the most lucrative ones in Pipers Row, Victoria Square and Lichfield Street.

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Earlier this year it was revealed that the fines for driving through bus lanes in the city brought in on average £5,000 a day.

The total income from 12 cameras on streets around Wolverhampton from April 2016 to April 2017 according to figures revealed in August this year, was £1,870,629.

This equated to the cameras bringing in £5,121 a day.

According to those figures, a total of 41,407 people outside of the WV postcode area were fined in 2016/17 in comparison to 24,379 in 2015/16.

And 33,810 motorists from Wolverhampton fell foul of the bus lane cameras in 2015/16, but had wised-up by 2016/17, as only 29,610 were caught that year.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The mark of a good system is one where everyone understands the restrictions, no one flouts them and no penalties need to be issued. The opposite seems to be true in Wolverhampton. Since it is implausible that scores of local drivers are intentionally setting out to disobey the rules each day and hence run up big bills then one is left wondering whether the signage is adequate?”

Jessica Labhart

By Jessica Labhart
@JLabhart_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton.

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