Published: 12:00, 23 January 2015
Medway council has earned more than £1.2 million from motorists caught driving through Chatham bus station, we can reveal.
Drivers were banned from entering the terminal for safety reasons when it opened in 2011, and by July 2013 28,000 had been fined after falling foul of the rules, earning the council £750,000.
Many complained the bus station restrictions were a cash cow for the council, and steps were taken to improve the layout of the bus station after an independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal declared signs were not clear enough.
But while the tide of fines slowed in the aftermath of those steps, the latest figures show thousands have continued to be caught out and issued with a £60 fine.
A Freedom of Information request to Medway Council revealed 42,537 penalty notices have now been issued in Waterfront Way and Globe Lane since the bus terminal was introduced, netting £1,202,769.10.
Tim Howarth from Dorset successfully contested his fine after being snared in 2012, and is one of many who said the restrictions targeted visitors and newcomers to Medway who were confused by the roads.
He said layout changes might have improved matters, but insisted the system was just a way of stinging drivers for cash.
“It seemed to me they were using it as a way of earning money, simple as that,” he said. “It won’t have affected road safety. There won’t be fewer accidents.
“Having a camera capture people for driving through something won’t prevent an accident. It’s all been done the wrong way it seems to me.”
A council spokesman said: “The reason cars are not allowed through the bus station is one of safety. Bus stations are designed solely for people to get on and off buses safely.”
He said the council was happy to discuss suggestions for altering signs and that all income from the fines was reinvested in making Medway’s roads safer.