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Ealing and Northfield

Ealing council top for bus lane tickets – too many tickets issued outside Morrisons in Acton

I was not happy to see a report in the Evening Standard yesterday saying that Ealing was the top borough for giving out tickets for straying onto a bus lane. Ealing does cover a large area so you might expect us not to be at the bottom but we don’t necessarily have to be at the top either. The ealingtoday.co.uk website picked up the story yesterday.

I have been keeping track of the parking tickets given out by the Borough. I have just had a look at June’s data, see here.

For comparison the council gave out 197,302 tickets in the 2011/12 financial year (see Annual Report here). I have multiplied the monthly totals by 12 to give the equivalent yearly rate and divided that by last year’s total number of tickets issued to give an idea of the proportion that one road feature or offence represents compared to the whole borough.

During June there were 12 road features or offences in one place that accumulated over 200 tickets in the month. Almost a quarter of all tickets issued in our borough were issued on these sites (23.7%). Interestingly all of the high volume sites are policed with CCTV (the J code indicates a ticket policed by CCTV). The top 12 were:

It really stands out that 6 out of 12 sites were bus lane enforcement (34J). For three months running the 100 odd metres outside Morrisons on Steyne Road in Acton has been the second most prolific site for tickets in the entire borough, see April and May figures. An average of 508 tickets per month over three months, or 6,100 tickets a year. The number for bus lanes tickets across the whole borough given by London Councils is 24,690. So this tiny bit of bus lane is driving one quarter of all bus lane tickets across the borough. This does look suspiciously ike the borough is raking in the income without making sufficient efforts to give people the information they need to comply.

15 replies on “Ealing council top for bus lane tickets – too many tickets issued outside Morrisons in Acton”

I got caught at the Morrisons a couple of months ago came out of the supermarket on a Saturday morning a boy racer roared down the road went into the lane fine, not a bus in sight emailed council to complain, no reply. Paid the £65 reluctantly.
I am a centre left voter, who voted for the conservative member for though have no time for our Tory MP. Labour are making a pigs ear of running the council at the moment.

Nice to see someone is keeping an eye out

I got caught in in 2010 in that bus lane, the reason why so many drivers get caught there is because the light turning left onto Acton High Street goes green first, so anyone waiting in the queue cannot move until light turns green for those turning right. Probably most of those caught only drive into this short section of lane in order not to miss the light. Also the camera is not visible from the road, it is somewhere high up above.

When I read statistics like this, the argument that these measures are not designed to be revenue raising leads me to be believe that the council officials take their constituents for idiots. Also makes me laugh why politicians and local government officials are puzzled by the fact that they are not seen to be credible by the general population. If they focused more on measures to resolve problems, rather than applying a charge or a fine for everything then maybe I could start taking them seriously.

It’s been a while since I’ve driven through Acton and I am therefore unfamiliar with the Morrisons bus lane, but by the sounds of it the council are profiting out of the frustration of motorists being unable to use free road space when held up by vehicles wishing to turn right. Bus lanes often cause this sort of scenario and their indiscriminate enforcement can actually cause unnecessary congestion.

It makes no sense for vehicles not to be able to use a bus lane, particularly if they are not hindering a bus, either when undertaking traffic turning right, or when joining a queue of traffic held at a light if they are turning left.

I agree with Rahman above: the Tories were no better than Labour when it came to exploiting poor traffic design for profit. I decided to never vote for them again (and I am a conservative) after their despicable abuse of inadequate drop-off/pick-up points at Ealing Bdwy station, and after getting hit with two fines for being in difficult to navigate, over-sized, box junctions (since removed).

George,

Running parking at a local council is the local government equivalent of being Home Secretary. You are almost always in the wrong, at least in someone’s eyes. Having spent four years involved in parking issues, chairing two scrutiny panels and being in charge for two years (May 2008 to May 2010), I have a certain sympathy for the current incumbent Cllr Bassam Mahfouz and anyone doing a similar job.

Also as a driver who only got a ticket recently as a result of not renewing my parking permit (entirely my fault) I also understand the heart stopping, blood boiling in your ears anger that you feel when you see that little yellow bag on your windscreen or get a PCN through the post. Tickets are painfully expensive and hard to contest.

It is worth differentiating between cock ups and the consequences of changes in enforcement and the business as usual milking of sites, such as is happening outside Morrisons.

The Ealing Broadway situation you mentioned happened before I was in charge of parking in June/July 2007. I wrote about it at length at the time. As the ealingtoday.co.uk piece makes clear the council did issue a press release well in advance of changing their enforcement and issued 1,000 dummy tickets. The people who got the tickets all parked on on the pedestrian crossing or the bus stop outside the station. The numbers dropped off very quickly as soon as word got around that there was enforcement going on. By unfortunate coincidence First Great Western decided to cone off the station forecourt for some days. No conspiracy, just a cock up. The council never had control over that forecourt and I know from talking to the parking place owners that one in particular was intent on holding the council to ransom over giving up the rights to their space should the council try to take it over. Ugly but true.

As for the yellow box junction problems I apologised on behalf of the council at the time as I thought that it was the right thing to do. It is worth noting that those YBJs were put in 2004, 4 years before I was apologising for them. The officers got the markings wrong. They weren’t compliant but people still had to stop in one of them to get a ticket. An officer did go through a disciplinary process and get a black mark against his name as a result.

I was proud that when I was in charge the parking service changed considerably. Especially in terms of transparency. We kicked off the publication of an annual report. We issued two (short and longer versions) parking guides to every household in the borough. We published the Code of Conduct that the council operates and we published monthly stats showing where every ticket was issued and a web page highlighting blackspots so that people could avoid them.

I will do a blog on the overall numbers which show quite clearly that the Tory administration halved the number of tickets given out. Labour were out of control with this at the end of their time in power in 2006. We did get the service back under control and, to be fair, parking ticket number have been under control since then as Labour know that this is a sensitive issue. Within that envelope though there are still some bad practices, such as the Morrisons situation that need to be weeded out. Hence my continued vigilance. More later!

I have just had to pay a £65 fine for the Steyne Road bus lane “offence”. I too, like many apparently, have been robbed by the council for “driving in a bus lane” when all I have done is turn left at the traffic lights, reduce congestion and not allow myself to be stuck behind a number of other cars all of which were waiting to turn right. I also know that I would not have entered the lane until after the entrance/exit to Morrisons, which can barely be 20m in length.

I am absolutely disgusted to have discovered that this is a ploy concocted by the council. Rates are amongst the highest of any London borough, I struggle to understand why this is and still I am subjected to this daylight robbery!

As fuming as I am, I have had to just put up with this technicality. I will not, however, shut up! With so many people unfairly having their pockets turned out by these thieves, is there not something to be done??

So Elliott I assume you paid instead of appealing (I know people will say most just pay because of a stern letter from the council) but always appeal. Paying confirms you are at fault.

secondly i must correct you, the £65 charge is by tfl (if im correct) and its the same in most places, especially in london

Charles,

You are wrong. All of these tickets were issued by Ealing Council. They decided where the camera is sited. They paid the guy that looks at the camera. They issued the tickets.

And another comment these junction are ‘lawful’ unlike the other ones eh Phil?

Rinse the drivers until caught was the strategy I beleive.

I too have just receieved a £65 PCN for driving in the (now) infamous Steyne Rd Bus Lane outside of Morrisons.

Its an absolute outrage when you read this kind of thing. What compounds matters for me is that this is now the third PCN in as many months, I did a three point turn using a private driveway and was fined for using doing a U turn (another money spinner for the council).

I will be contesting this PCN with Ealing council but I am 99.9% sure they will reject my case. They know most people dont want to run the risk of having to pay the full amount if they appeal to an adjucator.

I am more than happy to make a stand against the council – if you feel the same then please contact me at .

As of at least this week (21 Jan 2013), there is no signage present indicating the hours of operating of the bus lane as you exit Morrisons going southwards . Whether it has been removed, or has just fallen down, is unclear. No doubt Ealing will continue issuing tickets regardless, so make sure you appeal citing this lack of signage.

Don’t let them get away with this when they come after you.

I visited the site again today and they still haven’t put a new sign up, so every ticket that they have issued since 21st January should be cancelled due to the lack of appropriate signage, but no doubt loads have been caught out in the last 10 weeks.

Even when the sign was in place, it was impossible to see until you had already entered the lane (situated behind a wall and bush), but by far the most sinister side of this whole affair is that the bus lane camera is trained only on the part of the bus lane south of the Morrisons exit and doesn’t cover the previous, well signed, 70 meters prior to the entrance to Morrisons.

No doubt this camera location and the positioning of the signage is designed with solely revenue in mind.

On Tuesday, 2 July, 2013 I was driving in Acton for the second time since I was a student there in the 1950s. I was interested to know what had happened to the old Technical College in Locarno Road. Therefore, at 6:35 PM, I took photographs of the of the flats that are now on the site. My camera provides evidence of this time and I have since checked its accuracy. After taking the photographs, I returned to my car, drove east along the High Street, turned left into Grove Road, left again Churchill Road and right at Horn Lane. Reaching Steyne Road, I turned left and drove along the bus lane. I never drive along bus lanes during the times they apply so I must have believed it was after 7 PM. Nevertheless, I received a PCN, dated 5 July, alleging that I had used the bus lane at 6:28 PM. There is absolutely no doubt that the camera’s clock was wrong but by how much I cannot be sure.
On the day of its receipt, 6 July, I emailed questioning the accuracy of the camera clock, and hence the validity of the PCN. Having received neither a reply nor an acknowledgement, I emailed again on 10 July. This time (and probably the first time too) I requested an automatic receipt. On the same day I wrote a letter. On each of these three communications I challenged the accuracy of the clock and on none of them did I receive any sort of reply – not even the automated receipt that I had requested.
Not wishing to pay the full penalty of £130, at 8 AM on 15 July, I sent a third email in which I stated ” unless I hear from you to the effect that either the appeal has been accepted or the deadline has been extended, I will pay the reduced fine of £65 on-line this evening. My doing this would not mean that I accept that I contravened the regulation concerned.” Again there was no reply so I paid the £65 on-line. An emailed receipt for this arrived at 8:29 AM on 16 July. This was the only communication I received from Ealing Council until a letter dated 31 July which stated that “Whilst we note your comments, as you have previously made full payment on this case we now consider this case closed. Please note that in future is (sic) you wish to challenge the ability of the of a PCN you should refrain from paying and follow the statutory appeal process as laid out in law.” On receipt of this letter I replied asking if it was the policy of the Council (a) to check regularly the accuracy of their clocks, (b) not to reply to letters of appeal until after the deadline had elapsed. I await a reply.

Hi,
This is unfair. I received a PCN from Ealing council for stopping in the yellow box at greenford rd/otter road junction. Before the box I was on the left lane and when I was crossing the box had this bus lane soon as the box limits ended. I just stopped to avoid the bus lane and was trying to get in the right lane as the car before me was slow. The council is ripping people. They should have started the bus lane after the box with markers on the road as lot of other places in london.

I was driving on the Greenford Road on 26th December 2013, Boxing Day. The weather was foul and it was very dark. There was a glare all over the road and ALL road markings were invisible. (The video evidence proves this). I and three other drivers drove in the bus lane. I was sent the video evidence which was 22 seconds long. Four drivers in 22 seconds @ £130 a pop. I appealed. Ealing Council called me a liar and refused to allow me access to the other three drivers. At ‘Appeal’, the council did not show, but the kindly barrister allowed me to give evidence against myself !! He agreed the lines were invisible but despite no evidence from the spy in the sky supporting his contention, I was deemed to have seen the blue sign in advance of the bus lane. The adjudicator also decided that I was a liar and also declined to ask the council for evidence from the other drivers. Ealing Council are utterly corrupt in raising revenue in this manner and PATAS are even worse. There is no justice for drivers and the Council know they can get away with anything because PATAS will support their corruption. I tried taking my case to the small claims court. I was not only refused a hearing but was openly sneered at for seeking justice. The problem will only get worse as the Council/PATAS axis continue to stripe as many drivers as possible. When Ealing Council can openly put down the MP, Mr Eric Pickles’, legitimate concerns what hope has a mere motorist in the face of this abuse?

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