Motorists in London face being stung with higher fines if they break rules when driving on the city’s busiest, no-stopping, ‘Red Routes’.
Transport for London has increased the maximum fine on the capital’s busiest roads from £130 to £160 – a 23 per cent hike – despite nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of drivers opposing the hiked charges in a consultation held last year.
Red routes account for around 390 miles of the capital’s roads. While that’s around just five per cent of the road network, these are the busiest routes, with between 30 and 40 per cent of daily traffic in London using them.
As of today (Monday 17 January), motorists will be fined an extra £30 if they are found committing a number of contraventions, such as blocking yellow box junctions, breaking parking rules, performing illegal turns and driving in bus lanes.
Higher fines in London come into force TODAY: Drivers caught breaking rules on the capital’s 390-mile network of red routes will be hit with a fine of £160 – up from £130
Red routes are marked by red lines on the sides of the road and are managed and controlled by London Streets – an arm of Transport for London.
They are designed to help reduce congestion on the capital’s most-used roads, with ‘no-stopping’ rules applying to ensure ‘crucial’ deliveries and journeys can be made safely to keep the city moving.
If motorists don’t follow the rules on red routes, TfL will issue a driver with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) with the notice of a £160 fine.
How you can land a £160 fine on a red route
Transport for London issues penalty charge notices for several motoring breaches, including:
– Parking illegally in loading bays
– Blocking yellow box junctions
– Making a turn where this movement is banned, which creates risk for people walking and cycling
– Driving or parking in a bus lane
– Stopping on the red route
If paid within 14 days, the fine is halved to £80. However, if it the driver fails to make payment within 28 days, the penalty increased by 50 per cent to £240.
TfL bosses say the near-quarter increase in fine values is in response to a rise in motorists ignoring the rules on red routes.
They claim there has been a 26 per cent increase in the number of PCNs issued for parking, loading, bus lane and moving traffic offences on red routes between 2016 and 2019 and by increasing the fine it will act as a greater deterrent.
Defending the hike, TfL added last week that the increase to £160 is ‘in line with inflation since the last increase’ and brings the fine amount in-line with penalties for non-payment of the the capital’s Congestion Charge and the recently extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone.
Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of compliance, policing, operations and security, justified the elevated fine amounts by stating that non-compliance with red route rules ‘impacts London’s air quality, creates safety risks, disrupts traffic, and creates congestion for everyone’.
The rise comes just weeks after TfL confirmed a 30 per cent increase in the Congestion Charge to £15 per day will be permanent.
Motorists who are caught blocking yellow box junctions, breaking parking rules, performing illegal turns and driving in bus lanes on the capital’s red routes now receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) of £160. Early payment (within 14 days) reduces the fine to £80
Red routes are managed by TfL and make up around 5% of London’s road network. However, they are also some of the busiest in the city, carrying between 30-40% of traffic in the capital
‘Increasing the level of the penalty charge is about improving compliance, not penalising drivers,’ Transport for London said in a statement.
‘It should deter motorists from contravening essential rules and safety restrictions.
How can you tell tell if you’re driving along a red route?
Of London’s 9,197 miles of road network, around 390 miles (approx 5%) are ‘Red Routes’.
They are managed and controlled by London Streets, which is a dedicated arm of Transport for London.
Red routes are recognisable for their painted red ‘no-stopping’ lines. They are also accompanied by signage.
If drivers see red lines on the road, it means there are restrictions on stopping, parking and loading.
Double red lines – as seen pictured above – apply at all times and single red lines usually apply during the working day.
They are designed to keep traffic flowing and prohibit drivers from stopping except for in specified areas.
‘PCNs are an important way of encouraging road users to follow the rules of the road and are only issued to the small number of drivers who contravene these rules.’
It added: ‘Any revenue raised through these penalty notices is invested back into London’s transport network, which includes investing in its road network to improve safety for all road users.’
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes described the increase as ‘eye-watering’.
He said it will make PCNs ‘not far off the fine for a serious motoring offence such as illegally using a handheld mobile phone’.
Fines for illegal phone use while driving are £200.
President of the AA, Edmund King, was also vocal about the fine increase.
He said there was ‘no justification’ for increasing fines, adding that nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of respondents to a public consultation held between August and September believed a financial penalty of £160 was too high.
‘The AA fully accepts the need for fair and effective road traffic enforcement to deter selfish and illegal driving that impedes other road users, reduces the effectiveness of the road network, disrupts business and can lead to increased emissions,’ Mr King said.
‘However, enforcement needs to be fair, proportionate and allow discretion while creating a deterrent. The AA believes that £130 fines are sufficient to provide deterrence.’
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