Bus lane fines in Aberdeen have more than doubled in one year according to shock new figures.
The data, obtained by Freedom of Information legislation, shows that in the year 2015/16 around £595,975 from charging drivers for breaching bus lanes.
But in the year 16/17 a massive £1,287,792 had been raked in.
Last night it emerged the majority of the extra cash has come from fines generated from the city’s controversial Bedford Road bus gate.
After opening only a year ago, more than 16,000 drivers have already been caught out with total fines of £443,000 as of March.
The measure introduced on Bedford Road, near Kittybrewster Retail Park, means only buses and cyclists are able to access the route.
The new figures also show that the revenue generated from parking fines in 16/17 was £1,270,991- up from £1,232,423 in 15/16.
The last time the bus lane fines total breached the £1million mark was in the first year of the cameras’ operation in 2013-14 and it had been falling since – to only £700,000 in 2015-16.
Offenders are issued with a £60 charge, which is halved if paid within 14 days.
Last night the SNP group called for a long-awaited report on the bus gate, due in January, to be brought forward and potentially a review launched.
Group leader Stephen Flynn said: “The council needs to make sure that this money is being used properly and I think we need to re-visit the bus gate to ensure it is meeting its original purpose.
“Councillors were told that there was to be a report in January- we are now in July and there is still no sign of it.
“I think we need to make sure that the council does not become reliant on it as a means of making money.”
He was echoed by Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Steve Delaney who said the council “was letting down residents badly” by not bringing forward the report.
He said: “Our view has always been that we need to see a review before we have a position on the bus gate in general.
“But of course we have not had that review and it hasn’t really been explained why not.
“From speaking to people, including bus drivers, it seems to me that the bus gate is just making it harder for people to enter and exit Kittybrewster retail park.
“I don’t even think it has sped up the time for buses.”
Administration transport spokesman Ross Grant said: “The bus gate was a measure which was always an integral element of the wider third don crossing scheme and was agreed unanimously by members.
“The bus gate has been in place for a long time now and has been a particularly high profile measure, so commuters should -irrespective of their view on the bus gate- be well aware of its existence by now.
“Importantly the third Don crossing and bus gate are being reviewed by officers currently with reports due back in the near future and it will reflect on traffic flow and whether changes should be made to the bus gate.
“However, I fear that a sudden removal of the bus gate could lead to exacerbating congestion problems at Powis place and Kittybrewster.”
Peter Argyle, chairman of north-east transport body Nestrans, said: “I think everybody appreciates that bus lanes are not universally popular.
“However, they are extremely necessary if we are to encourage people to use public transport, which is something that we need to do to ease congestion and pollution.
“In an ideal world people would respect the bus lanes and not drive in them, but we don’t live in an ideal world and some people choose to break the law.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The Bedford Road bus gate was opened in June 2016 and the number of penalty charge notices issued reflects the enforcement measures being taken, and we would urge motorists to observe the restrictions in place for both bus lanes and bus gates.”