Sunday, October 17, 2010

A license to print money.

There are speed cameras (which don't prevent accidents, ask Swindon council) which are know to be used as revenue raisers, there are also junction cameras, which catch you going through red lights, again there is a type of junction camera which takes your pic if you stand for more than 5 seconds blocking a junction. If however there were say some roadworks in to make sure the junction becomes blocked during peak periods then you'd expect a local authority to step in and either lengthen the period of waiting or switch the camera off.
Actually, what the hell am I saying, that sounded suspiciously like fair play and we all know that simply doesn't happen in public service, motorists are cash cows, after all if you can afford to drive a car, you can afford to be robbed blind by petty and ridiculous laws designed with one purpose in mind and it isn't safety.


It has been called the "money box" – a traffic camera at a yellow box junction in Battersea, south London is raising a million pounds a year in fines levied on hapless motorists. 

Drivers claim they cannot avoid stopping inside the box because of severe congestion in the area caused by ongoing engineering works.
Campaigners say it is part of a growing trend of motoring fines being used by authorities as stealth taxes. 
Up to 2,000 drivers a month are being fined for becoming stuck in the junction on Battersea Bridge Road, a main route from the south into the centre of London. The road has been the scene of major hold ups since a main arterial route was closed in February, making it difficult for cars to avoid stopping in the junction.
When The Sunday Telegraph monitored the junction, it found that every single car that went through was unable to exit the box properly, because of the congestion ahead.
A camera erected above the traffic light films motorists as they pass through. Anyone who stops for longer than five seconds in the box is issued with a fine of £60, which can double if it is not paid immediately.
In response to a series of Freedom of Information requests, Transport for London said that £520,000 has been raised by the camera in the six months from January to July, with 10,087 motorists issued with tickets.
The figures show clearly that the number of penalties handed out doubled in February, at exactly the same time that the adjacent Albert Bridge was closed and traffic redirected over Battersea Bridge.
While only 640 people were caught in the box junction in January, that monthly total had more than trebled to 2,153 by March.
One motorist who was caught by the camera appealed her fine and last week an adjudicator at a parking appeals hearing upheld her complaint.
Elizabeth Lord won on the grounds that she could not have avoided stopping in the box as the exit was clear when she drove into it but became blocked by pedestrians by the time she was part way across.
 There are it seems thieves and then there are local authorities which put thieves to shame. Yes I can see the point of keeping traffic moving, however when you close a route and divert traffic through a choke point you'd expect problems? You'd also expect a sympathetic response too, well you would if you were an ordinary member of the public rather than the jobsworth types that gravitate to public service.

"Our traffic enforcement strategy is aimed at keeping the red route moving – it is not about raising revenue."
Yeah, right.


2 annotations:

Anonymous said...

I read this article with some confusion.
My understanding of box junctions has always been that you must not enter the box unless your exit is clear - ie at the moment of entry. However, if the exit or your path across the box then becomes blocked and prevents you exiting, and even if you have to stop in the box, that is not an offense. Even our crazy laws do not expect you to forsee the future!

Quiet_Man said...

The problem is that the camera takes a split second shot after a 5 second interval. If traffic is slow (tail to tail as it often is in London) you can be trapped on the box despite moving traffic when you enter it. Pedestrians crossing cam also block your exit and motorists will always attempt to give pedestrians right of way. If the junction wasn't so clogged because of closing Albert Bridge, then it wouldn't have come to anyones attention, as it is they've (deliberately) diverted more traffic through this junction causing more hold ups and profited from the whole mess.