Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The £10m Parking Ticket...out of control scam

Tuesday, 6th December 2005
Manchester Evening News
Fined: The £10million parking ticket
David Ottewell

MOTORISTS in Greater Manchester are set to fork out £10m on parking fines this year, the M.E.N. can reveal today.
The huge figure means the 10 councils in the region are collectively earning more than £1,000 an hour from parking tickets.
Campaigners say car owners are losing confidence in the authorities because of the "vast" sums being generated.

But the councils last night insisted the use of parking tickets was not a money-spinner and said revenues had actually fallen in some areas.
The Manchester Evening News asked each of the 10 councils how much income they had received from Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) in 2005.

Manchester topped the list with £2.8m in 10 months (equivalent to £3.4m over the year), followed by Bolton at £1.1m in 11 months (£1.2m a year).
Stockport had handed out 17,425 PCNs in 30 weeks to the end of October - worth at least £522,750. The equivalent figure over the whole year would be £906,100, a figure likely to rise over £1m after late payments.
Salford raised £787,532 in fines in the first 10 months of 2005 (£858,000 a year), with Wigan on £600,000 for the year to November 30 (£654,000 a year) and Oldham on £388,000 for 32 weeks (£630,500 a year).

No confidence
Rochdale only took over parking duties from the police in July last year and in the next 13 months gathered just over £660,000 (£620,000 a year). Trafford, Bury and Tameside failed to respond.
Independent figures from 2003 showed Trafford handing out 40,794 tickets, worth at least £1.2m, and Bury 31,345 (£940,000).
Barrie Segal, founder of anti-unfair fine website http://www.appealnow.com/, said:
"You could run a small country with this money. People have no confidence this is related to safety and the movement of traffic."
Councils are legally bound to use parking fine revenue for transport improvements. Manchester came under fire for a series of gaffes four years ago. At one point a bus was ticketed while waiting at a stop.

Pete North, strategic director of operations at Manchester city council, said the figure was actually 10 per cent lower than last year.
"The council is trying to ensure motorists park responsibly and traffic management is supported," he said. "The figure for Manchester is quite low in comparison with similar local authorities."

The new figures came to light after a Freedom of Information request by Steve Holt, chairman of the Trinity and District residents' association.

Mr Holt said: "I know they have bought some traffic-calming schemes, but they have cancelled the park and ride in North Manchester."

Do you think the council profits from parking fines are too high? Have your say.
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Related stories:
City a parking ticket hotspot (02/05/2005)
Parking plan could be just the ticket (24/01/2005)

Links to other web sites
Click here for the Appeal Now website.

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