In barely two months, a new bus lane has generated more fines than any other traffic enforcement camera or traffic warden in nearly a year.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws show the Hartfield Road bus lane, installed on November 18, 2011, has generated 2,970 fines.

As of January 31, 2012, £148,008 had been paid in penalties for contravention of the bus lane, which was brought in by the administration to improve traffic conditions for buses in Wimbledon town centre.

The bus lane in London Road, Mitcham, also generates a significant portion of parking tickets issued in Merton, with four cameras among the top 10 fine generators (see table, below).

Joanne Baker had paid six of these fines herself because, she said, the signage of the new bus lane is inadequate and she did not know she had done anything wrong until she had received the first fine, by which time she had driven through the bus lane six times.

During last week’s full council meeting, she asked the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge: “Is it fair to repeatedly be charged for this mistake, particularly given the inadequate signage?

“Surely a warning would have been fairer?”

In response, Coun Judge did not comment on whether or not the fines were fair, but added: “The council believes it has complied with its obligations and has exceeded the legal requirements regarding the installation and enforcement of this bus lane.

“It can be confirmed that the bus lane has been legally signed and marked.

“Additionally, temporary signs were put in place warning motorists of the council’s intention to carry out mobile enforcement.

“As such, the PCNs were all lawfully issued.”

The council's deputy leader, Councillor Mark Betteridge, added : "Enforcement of the Hartfield Road bus lane was restarted after wide consultation.

"It is designed to keep an important public transport route free from obstruction and help reduce congestion.

"The key difference with the new scheme is that it operates both in the morning and evening busy periods.

"This has increased the number of penalty charges issued, as the previous scheme did not operate during the evening period.

"However, we have seen a gradual decrease in the number of fines issued as motorists get used to the enforcement of this bus lane and hope that this will decrease further as we go forward."

Merton's top 10 parking ticket spots

  1. Hartfield Road bus lane camera, Wimbledon – 2,970
  2. Hartfield Road car park, Wimbledon – 2,605
  3. London Road bus lane camera, Mitcham (opposite Elmwood Road) – 2,338
  4. London Road bus lane camera, Mitcham (opposite Bond Road) – 2,282
  5. London Road bus lane camera, Mitcham (adjacent to Figge’s Marsh) – 1,959
  6. High Street, Wimbledon Village – 1,938
  7. Coombe Lane, Raynes Park – 1,394
  8. Russell Road, Wimbledon – 1,373
  9. Coombe Lane car park, Raynes Park – 1,159
  10. London Road bus lane, Mitcham (Armfield Crescent) – 1,100

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