Two million bus lane fines were issued across the UK in 2019, resulting in £59.6 million being handed over by motorists.
The data, acquired by Confused.com via a Freedom of Information request, revealed that Manchester local authority issued the highest number of PCNs (241,924) and brought in the most revenue (£4,827,145).
Glasgow was second, issuing 115,534 fines and collecting £3,412,628. Birmingham issued the third-highest number of PCNs (108,841) but the third-highest revenue was collected by Lambeth in London, which brought in £2,980,604.
Most of Lambeth’s revenue was from a single bus lane — a quiet, yet notoriously deceptive intersection in Clapham Park Road that has raked in between £1million and 2million each year for decades. One driver successfully challenged the fine when a tribunal ruled the signs were inadequate, yet Lambeth Council has declined to change it.
In London, a bus lane in Lambeth Road West (£944,729) was second and Shepherds Bush Road (£662,788) third.
Only Oxford Street in Manchester, which generated £1.8 million in PCNs, finished higher than Clapham Park Road across the country.
The AA accuses many councils of deliberately milking drivers by not marking their bus lanes properly.
Last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed that first-time bus lane offenders should avoid fines and be given the benefit of the doubt.
When Confused.com asked drivers across the UK what they thought of this proposed measure, over half (57 per cent) said that this new rule would be a fairer system for those who have made an honest mistake.
Lambeth Council and other high-earning councils have declined to adopt the Prime Minister’s recommendation.
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London unsurprisingly had the highest revenue, making £14,688,256 from 301,651 PCNs. The North-West was second with £9,123,916 from 390,831 fines, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber with £6,225,241 from 191,999 PCNs.
Region PCNs issued 2019 Revenue generated 2019
London 301,651 £14,688,255.96
North-West 390,831 £9,123,915.81
Yorkshire and The Humber 191,999 £6,225,240.74
West Midlands 246,404 £5,573,767.20
East of England 165,893 £5,565,717.26
Scotland 189,025 £5,474,029.56
South-East 163,990 £3,617,787.51
South-West 122,937 £3,486,179.22
East Midlands 94,036 £2,539,714.53
Wales 75,927 £2,387,340.00
Northern Ireland 11,371 £537,008.13
North-East 25,716 £404,684.60
Confused.com also surveyed 2,000 UK drivers, of whom 28 per cent said they had received a bus lane fine at some point in the past. Of those, 36 per cent appealed their fine, with a success rate of 74 per cent.
Of the drivers that received a fine, 38 per cent blamed unclear signage and 31 per cent unclear road markings.
Alex Kindred at Confused.com, commented: “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.”
Ambulances fined for using bus lanes
In 2019, UNISON complained that ambulance crews are being hit with fines for using empty bus lanes.
A conference heard that many ambulance drivers, who use the lanes to avoid traffic and speed up journeys for patients needing vital care, had received penalties when not on a 999 call.
The picture was mixed, with individual towns and cities adopting different approaches. Following UNISON’s year-long campaign, most cities saw sense and dropped PCNs for ambulances.