AN MP has accused Bradford Council of “trying to fleece as much money out of motorists as possible” after it was forced to admit it handed out six times the amount of fines for driving in a bus lane on a Bank Holiday this year as it did last year.

The number of fines issued on May Day and Spring Bank Holiday in 2018 compared with this year soared from 189 fines to 1,198. The Council says the average revenue over the past two years was £28 and therefore the rise in fines resulted in bill rising from £5,292 to £33,555.

Shipley MP Philip Davies was contacted by constituent David Rix who was angry after receiving three penalty notices on May Day for driving in a bus lane. Mr Davies wrote to Bradford Council demanding it re-think its policy to enforce the bus lanes on Bank Holiday, claiming they were operational to ease traffic during the most congested times.

Mr Davies said: “The Council knows full well the bus lane does not need to be operational on a Bank Holiday and I have urged the Council to do what is right for once and think about the public they are meant to serve.

"Any argument people work on Bank Holidays is unfounded as everyone is aware roads are significantly quieter on Bank Holidays than usual weekdays. It is nothing more than a cash cow used to generate money and the Council must think again.”

Mr Rix, of Bingley, added: “There is not valid reason to enforce Bus Lane violations on a Public Holiday. The day I received the notices Bradford was like a ghost town by 6pm and we had a very quick journey home to Bingley. I cannot remember seeing any buses either. Funnily enough, parking is free at Bradford MDC car parks on Public Holidays, when as we all know they charge for every other time. Somewhat inconsistent with bus lane charges?”

Mr Davies asked the Council to set out which roads are so congested on Bank Holiday Mondays that the enforcement can be justified – an answer he has yet to receive. In a letter he was told it was “commercially sensitive” information.

However, the Council admitted it was trying to reduce the number of fines being appealed by standardising the approach to bus lanes across West Yorkshire.

Mr Davies said: “The first letter I got from the Council claimed it had decided to enforce bus lanes on the public holidays as Leeds did and therefore it was being consistent.

"A second letter re-clarifies that point and says all West Yorkshire Councils have the same policy.

"It begs the question can Bradford not make up its own mind on the need for enforcement given traffic flow will be different in each authority.

"It should do the right thing and scrap enforcement on public holidays.”

In a letter to Mr Davies the Council said: “In terms of your concerns about the level of request for bus lanes and the impact of buses being delayed due to bus lanes being congested I would advise you that information on the operational efficiency of bus running throughout the district is considered by bus operators as commercially sensitive and therefore is not provided to the Council on a regular basis.”