More than 3,000 drivers caught in controversial Northampton bus lane in just 54 days

The council has made a minimum of £92,000 from bus lane fines in the last two months

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 7:28 am
The camera is located opposite Westbridge Garage on the A4500

Fines totalling a minimum of £92,000 in 54 days have been wracked up by motorists using a controversial bus lane in Northampton

The Chronicle & Echo asked West Northamptonshire Council how many people had been fined for driving in the bus lane opposite Westbridge Garage between May 8 and July 1.

The council said 3,067 penalty charge notices, which is considerably lower than the period from February 15 to May 7, this year.

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Penalties cost £60 reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days... but it could be more if the first fine is not paid on time, which means that a total of £92,000 has been made the May to July time period.

The penalties equate to 56 tickets issued per day, making the council the equivalent of £1,703 each day. The council has been asked where this money goes.

This newspaper revealed earlier this year that between February 15 - when the bus lane camera was installed - and May 7 there had been nearly 10,000 motorists fined for driving in the same out-of-bounds zone, making the council a minimum of around £300,000 in an 81-day time period.

So in total, from February 15 to July 1, the council has fined nearly 13,000 motorists and made - if everyone paid the minimum fine of £30 - £392,000 in 136 days.

This means between February 15 and July 1, the council has made just under £3,000 per day from motorists using the bus lane, which equates to about £120 per hour.

This also means that between February 15 and July 1, 95 people per day, or four per hour, have been caught breaking the rules,

This newspaper asked the council for its thoughts on the figures and what the fine money is spent on.

A West Northamptonshire Council spokeswoman said: “Numbers are declining as awareness of the camera is increasing. Money raised through enforcement is used to fund council services.”

There have been many complaints about the camera - which this newspaper has covered extensively - from a range of people in the town - Conservative councillors to business owners to motorists - calling the bus lane camera a 'cash cow'.

The council has recently said it is reviewing the camera and that the results of the scheme were imminent.

In a written statement from Councillor Phil Larratt, he said: "We have instigated a review of the Westbridge / St James bus lane scheme and we will announce the outcome of this review shortly.

"The hours of operation and positioning of the bus lane camera are being taken into account in the review process.

"The number of motorists receiving fixed penalty notices has been high although numbers are currently declining as awareness of the camera is increasing."