New city centre bus gate bags £3.2 million and parking fine hotspots revealed

Manchester’s Bridge Street West, specifically the section of road leading to Albert Bridge is far and away the street with the most penalty charge notices (PNCs) issued in the city.

The street has caught out drivers 98,549 times since December 2022 (excluding fines which have been withdrawn) – meaning this section of road alone has brought £3.2 million in revenue for the council.

A bus gate was installed in a section of the road in 2022 – meaning drivers are prohibited from passing through it – and anyone breaching the restrictions is charged with contravention 34, which is a £60 fine, reduced to £30 if paid early, from Manchester City Council.

A spokesperson from the council said: “This is aimed at freeing certain parts of the city centre from congestion and pollution, as well as providing safer routes for people who walk wheel or cycle.

“There is clear signage indicating this, as well as extensive engagement and publicity around the scheme’s implementation.”

A full break down of the top 20 streets for parking fines between December 2022 and March 2024 (excluding March 2023) can be seen here:

On investigation of the street, there are signs in place indicating that the road is reserved for taxis, buses and bicycles only.

However, it did not take long to see private cars passing through the bus gate to the north side of the River Irwell, seemingly unaware of an impending PCN.

Manchester has a long history with bus lanes and driving fines. It was reported last year that Oxford Road had generated £10m from bus lane contraventions, but now it seems there is a new hotspot.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Drivers (ABD) argued: “Every £1 (drivers spend on fines) could be spent on the town centre, in pubs and restaurants, to get the economy moving.

“Drivers should be allowed to get on with their lives in peace.”

After admitting it’s no secret that councils are strapped for cash – they felt local governments are ‘obsessed’ with blaming drivers and as a result they are disproportionately singled out as the financial butt of policies.

The ABD did say drivers must abide by the laws of the road, and any driver going through a signed bus gate should realise their mistakes.

They felt buses were given priority and people who need to use a private car for work should not be subject to more and more restrictions on roads.

The council stated it will continue to issue fines for motorists who do not adhere to the rules of the road.

This section of road is by-far the most lucrative for the council – the next most fined section of road is on Oxford Street, between Whitworth Street West to Chepstow Street, where according to the council’s parking account, drivers have been fined almost 57,000 times since the end of 2022 (excluding March 2023 – the council does not have correct figures for this month).

When it comes to on-street parking – there are a few streets where failure to display a parking ticket is commonplace, St. John Street and Byrom Street just off Deansgate have forced the council to put in place parking restrictions in an attempt to control the illegal parking.

Contravention code 6, that is parking without clearly displaying a ticket, was violated 1,451 times on St. John Street and 1,722 times on the adjacent Bryom Street since December 2022.

Other streets with a high number of offences are Lloyd Street, Deansgate and George Street. This graph visualises the types of parking offences which regularly occur on these streets:

In particular, Lloyd Street, a popular parking spot for Spinningfields diners, had 227 counts of cars parking in disabled only spaces – violating contravention 40 and each risking being served a £70 fine.

The council’s parking account shows drivers in Manchester are most likely to be fined for bus lane intrusions, parking in suspended bays, or failure to show a valid parking ticket.

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