Corporation reaps £12.5million in Bank Junction fines


The City Corporation has reaped more than £12.5million in fines from motorists caught flouting its Bank Junction traffic restrictions – and is fielding more than 120 letters a day about it, new figures reveal.

Motorists caught flouting weekday restrictions that have seen the junction closed to all but buses and cyclists during peak hours can be hit with fines up to £135.

Although it couldn’t say how many were complaints and how many were compliments, the body that governs the Square Mile has received plenty of correspondence about the ban.

Its Freedom of Information Act (FOI) response shows it received 68,441 letters about Bank Junction Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) between its closure in May 2017 and 30 November 2018.

But the authority says it wants to see “100% compliance” with the restrictions – adding that it hopes the fines will make drivers think twice.

One black cab driver claims to have been stung by a fine when they strayed just metres into the penalty zone near the junction.

The cabbie, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were dropping off a customer at the exclusive Ned Hotel but because it falls within the restricted area, instead deposited her close-by on Lombard Street.

“Unbeknownst to me I went a few yards further than permitted (although still some distance from Bank) and I received a PCN,” the cabbie said.

“I think it’s extremely unfair that London taxis cannot access Bank Junction and also unfair that I and others are receiving PCNs for dropping people close to it.”

The restrictions have been in place since May 2017 in response to the death of a cyclist hit by a turning lorry. Councillors voted to make the restrictions permanent in late 2018.

During that period the Corporation has sent 15,496 warning letters and issued 217,061 PCNs over breaches of the rules.

The Corporation has recorded dramatic safety and air quality improvements in excess of its targets at the junction as a result of the closure.

But cabbies are still lobbying to regain access to the junction.

The Licensed Taxi Driver Association (LTDA) said its analysis had found longer journey times, resulting in higher fares, and knock-on effects on City traffic flows.

Chairman Richard Massett said that thinking transport needs in the Square Mile could be met while restricting taxi access to the vital junction was “flawed.”

He added: “At the very heart of our objection to the ban is that licensed taxis are a vital form of public transportation, used by thousands of passengers every day, and if buses and cyclists are permitted to use the junction then taxis should be too.

“We are also aware of other less experienced road users, such as Ubers and other private hire vehicles, not observing the closure through ignorance.”

A Corporation spokesman said the scheme prioritised safety: “We have made every effort to inform the public of the traffic restrictions at Bank Junction.

“As a safety scheme, our end goal is to see 100% compliance at the junction. The objective of the Penalty Charge Notices is to act as a deterrent.”

By law all fines will go toward the funding of highway or road maintenance improvements.

Cover image by Raphaël Chekroun (Creative Commons).