Aberdeen City Council raked in more than £700,000 in bus lane fines, according to new figures.
The statistics for 2019 show that the local authority took in £708,922 after issuing 23,871 fines.
That is compared to 28,888 penalty charge notices in 2018 which brought in £779,887.
Fewer motorists have been caught driving in bus lanes over recent years – £1,287,792 worth of fines were dished out over the 2016/17 period.
Bus lane hot spots
- Bedford Road – £167,799.97
- Broad Street – £122,126.25
- Great Northern Road – £62,000.
Hazlehead, Queen’s Cross and Countesswells councillor Martin Greig said the amount of cash the council took in from fines in 2019 was “substantial.”
He said: “The amount gained from fines for using bus lanes is substantial. Penalties for rule-breaking contribute significantly into the council’s budget. There is also much fine income acquired from unauthorised parking.
“It is really worrying that the council depends on this kind of income to balance its books.
“The cash taken in from enforcing bus lanes has become essential to fund services such as schools and social care. This is not the right way to pay for vital local services.”
The statistics, requested by insurance firm Confused.com, showed the Granite City came third in the overall Scottish rankings with the councils in Glasgow with £3,412,628 in the number one slot followed by Edinburgh with a total of £1,352,479 for 2019.
Across Scotland, 189,025 bus lane fines were handed out in 2019 which amounts to a total of £5,474,029.56.
Manchester took the top spot across the UK after collecting £4,827,145 in fines, followed by Glasgow in second place and the London borough of Lambeth was third with £2,980,604.
The UK total for bus lane fines was almost £60 million.
Drivers caught entering a bus lane have to pay a £60 fine, which is reduced to £30 if settled within 14 days.
Neil Greig from IAM Roadsmart said: “Bus lanes that make loads of money from fines are a failure and not a success in our view. The whole concept of a bus lane camera is to keep non-public transport vehicles out of the way so that buses can operate smoothly and efficiently. A bus lane full of cars and vans does not to this.
“Whilst some drivers will stray into the lane deliberately many others get confused by obscured signs, variable operating times and signs and markings left in poor condition. Aberdeen City Council should review its bus lane operations regularly to ensure the information for drivers is as clear as it can be.
“For IAM RoadSmart the real key performance indicator for a bus lane should be zero fines and an increase in bus users from among previous car drivers – the latter being a figure we very rarely get to see.”
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com said: “Nearly £60m issued in bus lane fines in 2019 is testament to the fact that bus lanes may be one of the most confusing challenges motorists face on UK roads.
“Clearly drivers want change to avoid receiving a fine for a genuine mistake. It’s only right that some of the money from PCNs is invested back into solutions, such as clearer signage and exemptions for first-time offenders.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “Restrictions are vital to ensuring a managed flow of traffic and that is the prime aim of the cameras, rather than generating revenue.
“The ability to use the net surplus of funds from the bus lane enforcement for transport projects allows the city council to deliver a much greater range of projects for the benefit of its residents and the travelling public.”