A notorious bus lane that has caught out tens of thousands of unwitting motorists has helped a council pocket as much as £1.9million in fines in just a year.
The head-scratching junction in Clapham Park Road has been the scourge of drivers for years, with over 15,000 penalty charge notices issued in the last 12 months alone.
At one point, bosses at Lambeth Council may have raked in as much a £5,300-a-day thanks to drivers mistakenly turning left into the bus lane near Clapham Common.
HAVE YOU BEEN CAUGHT BY THE NOTORIOUS CLAPHAM PARK ROAD JUNCTION? Email your pictures to: Jacob.Thorburn@mailonline.co.uk
Traffic adjudicators have previously described the junction’s signage as ‘inadequate’ and slammed the bewildering layout which has cost motorists millions in fines.
This head-scratching junction in Clapham Park Road has been the scourge of drivers for years, with over 15,000 penalty charge notices issued in the last 12 months alone
Other unfortunate victims include the emergency services, with one police car clearly caught on camera illegally entering the bus lane
Motorists have long warned that signs on the 200ft stretch of road are ‘unclear and confusing’, with an arrow marked on the road appearing to encourage drivers to turn left, directly into the bus lane.
Other unfortunate victims include the emergency services, with one police car clearly caught on camera illegally entering the bus lane.
Drivers fined after being snapped entering the bus lane face two choices: Pay the early repayment fee of £65 or risk contesting it, losing, and forking out £130.
Taking these figures into account, and the fact Lambeth Council issued 15,155 fines between October 2021 and October 2022, motorists will have paid out between £985,075 and in excess of £1.9 million.
March 2022 was the highest-earning month with a total of 1,472 fines – which would have netted the council between £95,680 and £191,360 in 31 days, a Freedom of Information request shows.
The Clapham Park Road bus lane, dubbed a ‘cash cow’ by furious road users, is said to have netted more than £6million in fines since it became permanent in 2000.
Motorists have long warned that signs on the 200ft stretch of road are ‘unclear and confusing’, with an arrow marked on the road appearing to encourage drivers to turn left, directly into the bus lane
In March, one furious motorist fought and won against Lambeth Council after he was wrongly hit with a fine for turning into the bus lane.
Richard Newell, 36, took his case to the Traffic Adjudicator – arguing signs were unclear.
He was taking his mum back from a Paul Simon tribute gig and said he was confused by an arrow painted on the road surface, which appeared to suggest motorists should use the bus lane to turn left.
It was only after he had pulled into the lane that he became aware of a blue sign indicating the stretch of road was reserved for buses, taxis and cyclists only.
Despite quickly reversing back out and taking the junction on the correct side of the road, he was snapped by a traffic camera and sent a fine a week later.
But he appealed, with adjudicator Andrew Harman ruling: ‘I find signage to be inadequate and I am accordingly satisfied that the contravention has not been proved.’
British motoring association the AA has previously accused councils of ‘bus lane entrapment,’ stinging thousands of drivers with unclear or poorly marked lanes.
And a spokesperson most-recently said: ‘It beggars belief that, after all these years of driver protests and traffic penalty tribunal adjudicators allowing appeals because the junction layout and signage is flawed, this bus lane continues to trap so many drivers.
‘When is the local authority going to accept that motorists don’t throw themselves like lemmings into bus lanes for the ‘joy’ of getting a fine in a cost of living crisis?
‘Probably never, because it’s such a nice big earner for the council.
‘This year, adjudicators have again condemned this bus lane and, clearly, enforcement with poor signage isn’t fair or doing its job in keeping the lane free for buses – simply because it is issuing so many fines.
‘I suspect the locals are very aware of what they should do at this junction but, for anyone coming from outside the area and unfamiliar with the road, it’s a potential nightmare.
‘The adjudicator’s concern about how well the warning signs show up at night is a problem the AA has seen with other London bus lanes that have turned into fine magnets.
‘What really scares the AA and drivers is that this type and quality of enforcement is now being rolled out to councils across England.’
Traffic adjudicators have previously described the junction’s signage as ‘inadequate’ and slammed the bewildering layout which has cost motorists millions in fines. [File image]
The Clapham Park Road lane is signposted with filter lights for buses, cabs and bikes, which could be confusing to motorists.
A spokesperson for Lambeth Council said: ‘Our bus lanes are clearly marked and comply with all regulations and standards.
‘People who illegally drive in bus lanes cause delays to bus passengers and other commuters.
‘We regularly check our signs and road markings where we enforce using CCTV to ensure we are compliant, and the vast majority of motorists who use Lambeth roads every day do so without receiving a Penalty Charge Notice.
‘The bus lane in Clapham Park Road is clearly marked and complies with all regulations and standards.
‘However, if a motorist feels that he or she has been issued with a ticket unfairly they are able to challenge it and we have an independent appeal process.’
- Have you been caught by the notorious Clapham Park Road junction? Email me your pictures: Jacob.Thorburn@mailonline.co.uk