Tuesday, April 26, 2011

West country .... nice little earner?

Tickets issued to 'help traffic flow' ... with restrictions operating 6.30am until 10.30pm one has to ask the question 'is traffic flow so busy at night to command enforcement until 10.30pm?'

City motorists pay out £4m for illegal parking
Monday, April 25, 2011, 09:00

DRIVERS in Bristol were issued with more than £4 million of parking fines last year – and the council is recruiting even more wardens to stop people flouting the rules.
The number of parking tickets slapped on windscreens and bus-lane fines posted through letter boxes by Bristol City Council has nearly doubled in the past two years to more than 70,000 as motorists continue to park in places they should not.

More than 60 wardens are now employed by the council but officials say they are simply trying to get people to comply with the parking regulations – not out to make money.

The parking services department has increased its staff from 32 in 2008 to 63 at the start of this year – and has just taken on another eight civil enforcement officers.

On average 27 officers are on duty in Bristol each day between 6:30am and 10:30pm.
Parking manager for the council, David Bunting, told the Evening Post the dramatic increase in tickets was due to a significant increase in the number of wardens and a much more targeted approach by the council.

"We improved our allocation of staff to hotspot areas and looked at it scientifically and I think people continue to park illegally," he said.
"It could be there are more cars parking where they shouldn't but I suspect it is because we have been more targeted with our resources.
"We are here to make the traffic flow and we just want compliance."

Parking tickets issued by Bristol City Council are £50 for less serious cases, such as over-staying in a pay-and-display bay and £70 for more serious contraventions – for example, parking on a double yellow line. Payments received within 14 days of issue are discounted by 50 per cent.
In September last year the Evening Post reported that £900,000 of parking fines were outstanding.

In the latest figures obtained by the Post the council revealed they had recouped just £2.2 million of the £4 million total issued last year.
But they said this figure is growing daily and two thirds of the fines issued had been paid within 14 days at a discounted rate.
The cost of enforcing Bristol's double yellows, bus lanes and resident permit schemes was £2.1 million last year and the council revealed it has started making a profit after suffering significant losses.

The increased level of fines has enabled them to turn a £691,250 loss for the year ended March 31, 2009 into a profit of £259,000 for 2010.
"All parking surpluses go into a transport account used to fund park and ride and highway maintenance," said Mr Bunting.
The net sum of fines recouped grew from £1.1 million in 2008 to £1.6 million in 2009 and £2.2 million to date from last year.

These sums came from 61,871 parking tickets and 15,010 tickets for driving in a bus lane for the 12 months up to November 30, 2010.

Hugh Bladon, a founding member of the Association of British Drivers, said he feared the significant increase was probably from "overzealous" wardens, although the council have confirmed wardens are not subject to targets or quotas.
"The big problem we've got is that motorists are being penalised left right and centre," said Mr Bladon, from Weston-super-Mare. "If you want a city centre to thrive you need to make provision for parking." He praised Cabot Circus but questioned provisions in the Clifton and Whiteladies, notorious parking hotspots.
"People who cause obstructions deserve to suffer whatever punishment is meted out," he added. "But the trouble is if you treat people like children they act like them."

More than £138,000 of fines were written off last year due to successful appeals and out of date DVLA records.

Of 12,630 tickets appealed some 4,475 were successful.
The council said each appeal is considered on its merits and fully investigated but revealed 2,667 tickets were cancelled after a "general reason" was supplied, 556 were cancelled after receipt of "acceptable evidence" such as pay and display tickets, 334 because of "extenuating circumstances" and 236 because of administrative errors.

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