Monday, 31 October 2011

Labour councillors have questions to answer on bus lane fines

This evening at a meeting of Reading Borough Council's Cabinet I posed some questions to Labour's Transport Chief, Cllr Tony Page:
"The aim of bus lane fines is to deter people from driving in bus lanes.
Given the sharp rise in fines– an extra 6,000 since you took over rising 3,000 per month ever since (apart from August)
What are you doing to address this and reduce the number of vehicles abusing bus lanes?

Or have you become so financially dependent on this income stream that you no don’t care if people drive in bus lanes?"
I asked these questions because of these striking figures in this month's budget monitoring figures:

Bus Lane Enforcement PCN Activity Data (2010 figures in brackets)

April 2011 - 2,282 (2,713)
May 2011 - 8,289 (1,901)
June 2011 - 11,942 (2,075)
July 2011 -  11,413 (2,310)
August 2011 - 8,473 (3,661)
September 2011 - 11,930 (5,149)

The same report says:

Bus Lane Enforcement – if the current trend of infringements continue as they have for the past 3 months then we forecast the revenue to increase to £575k although we should note this income is not guaranteed. In addition there are other income pressures within Transport that are being assessed.

Cllr Page decided to launch into a series of bizarre personal attacks.

Did I hit a raw nerve, perhaps?

You know when a politician plays the man not the ball [sic] they are in trouble
However, he acknowledged there have been a sharp rise in fines since the Town centre changes were introduced.

Despite this he was unrepentant rounding on residents and visitors who 'knowingly drive in bus lanes'.

The signs in the Town Centre are not at fault, apparently.

Then, in an apparent u-turn he said: "we will not build next year's budget on bus lane fine income".

That's odd as this appears to be exactly the way Labour councillors have chosen to do since taking over control of the Council in May this year.

Then again, Reading Labour Party's relationship with the motorist has been far from a happy one in recent years*

Reading residents, take note.

*See the Shinfield Road and One Way IDR debacles for details.

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