A single London bus lane has raked in about £4.5 million in fines in just one year.
Almost 69,000 penalty notices have been issued to motorists since traffic measures were introduced on the route in Surbiton Crescent, Kingston-upon-Thames, in November of last year.
Starting at £65, and rising to £195 if not paid within 28 days, the minimum value of the fines is estimated to be £4,473,300.
Access to part of the Crescent has been restricted to buses, taxis and local access – cars and motorcycles are prohibited.
The move prompted Helen Hinton, a local mother of two, to launch a petition on change.org calling on the council to review its decision.
She was fined five times for using the road as she travelled to Surbiton High School.
Of the hundreds that have signed the petition, some have described the measures as a “cynical cash cow scheme”, a “tax on local residents”, and have criticised the signage as being poor.
One resident, Richard Grosvenor, says: “The Council has no legitimate reason to maintain this ludicrous and pointless traffic restriction, which is achieving nothing in terms of road safety or improved traffic flow, and continues to exist solely to boost the Guildhall’s finances by several million pounds per year (money extorted from already hard-pressed, over-taxed motorists).”
The measures were introduced as part of Transport for London’ss £30 million ‘mini Holland’ Go Cycle scheme.
A trial scheme began in September 2016, and fines were issued from November that year. More than £560,000 of fines were issued in the first week as 8,620 motorists were caught out.
Despite the petition, the restrictions were made permanent by the council in June this year.
Mrs Hinton added: “It’s a huge amount of money the council has made for no good reason – you hardly see any cyclists using it.
“It’s absolutely extraordinary for such a small road.”
Cllr Phil Doyle, who is responsible for the Go Cycle scheme in the borough, said traffic was down by half in Surbiton Crescent, meaning it was safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
He said the council did not set the level of fines and that as the cycle network expanded, more people would use it.