Bristol City Council expects to make £1.2m in fines from bus gate cameras over Bristol Bridge in 2022/23, with plans in place to extend enforcement for another year.
The cameras are intended to deter private cars from crossing the bridge, which was closed to normal traffic in August 2020, and improve air quality in the area.
But they have also proved a useful income for the city council.
In October, BristolWorld reported how the cameras had resulted in more than 72,000 fines up to the end of March last year, with each costing £30 when paid within 14 days of issue - although just over half were actually paid by September last year.
Now, with Bristol City Council facing the task of bridging a £19.5 million gap in its budget for 2022/23, a proposal is on the table to extend the bus gate enforcement.
The plan states that the measure could raise £1.2 million in the first year - the equivalent of up to 40,000 fines.
The paper states that ‘the ever changing traffic situation in the city due to Covid’ means a high number of fines are still being given out.
It adds: “These high numbers are expected to continue into the next year and so the additional income expected can be used to help ‘bridge the gap’ in the short term.
“Eventually motorists will comply as they incur fines and the numbers of penalty charge notices will drop.”
When the cameras were put to Mayor Marvin Rees as a ‘cash generator’ by BristolWorld last week, the mayor dismissed the term, instead preferring to point out the environmental impact from the scheme.
He said: “It has been a way of cleaning up the air quality along Baldwin Street in the city centre and it has been a way actually of improving the efficiency, predictability and reliability of the bus routes which come down and go across Bristol Bridge.”
He said the gate had been in place for some time and signage was up warning motorists.
He added: “The intervention with the bus gate was looking at whether we could get to the quality of air standards we are legally complied to provide without a charging option on a Clean Air Zone, so actually the intentions are to try and support people through the transition.
“It has been a real positive for the city and we will continue to make sure people are aware that the bus gate is there.”
Also as part of the proposed budget for 2022/23, free parking for up to 30 minutes in Residents’ Parking Zones will be scrapped and there are plans to introduce parking charges at all car parks managed by the council’s parks services.
Allotment rents would also go up.
The budget will be decided at a Full Council meeting on February 15.