AS PARKING restrictions tighten in many of Yorkshire’s towns and cities, drivers are facing an increasing chance of being hit with a fine.
But one Yorkshire motorist was flabbergasted to be given a ticket while his car was stuck in traffic.
Traffic officers gave him a £70 fine for parking in a bus stop, even though he had not stopped.
The 50-year-old unemployed driver criticised the fine as “an absolute joke” and appealed against the fine because he was actually in a jam at a red traffic light.
And he said his anger was compounded by the time it took to convince Bradford Council the ticket should not have been issued.
The authority has now admitted its mistake and cancelled the ticket but insists the proper procedures were followed.
The problem began when Victor Hankins’ car was filmed by a mobile traffic enforcement vehicle in a bus stop in Bradford on December 20.
Mr Hankins, from Ilkley, consulted the Highway Code rules covering waiting at bus stops before contacting the council to complain.
He said: “I was absolutely seething about what happened. It’s an absolute joke.
“The fact that the officer in the mobile car had given me a fine in the first place is ridiculous.
“But there’s also the fact that two operators had viewed the footage and didn’t think it was worth mentioning that I wasn’t breaking the law.”
Mr Hankins, who has previously worked as a distribution manager and wagon driver, had been on his way to an event in Brighouse.
He was travelling through Bradford when his Ford Fiesta was snapped by the mobile camera.
He said: “It was about 8pm and there was quite a bit of traffic on the road - it’s a main road and the traffic light was on red.
“I was about eight cars back from the traffic lights, and at the back of the bus stop - so there will be about three cars in front of me who received tickets too.
“The photograph showed my car in the bus stop - but it’s completely out of context, the photo doesn’t show that my car was in a long lane of traffic.
“I’d never park in a bus stop - on this road it would be stupid to do so, as it’s such a busy road and the traffic behind you would just be in chaos.
“As soon as I got the notice - which says the fine is £70, reduced to £35 if you pay within 14 days - I rang them up and and complained about it.
“They were as unhelpful as unhelpful can be. They told me to put my appeal in writing.
“I did that straight away, but after about eight or nine days I still hadn’t heard back, so I rung up again.
“It was then they told me they could send me the footage, so when I eventually saw it, I realised what had happened.
“I’m annoyed that it has taken so long. It’s just a money-making scam by the council.”
In a statement, Bradford Council said: “All images are checked before a Penalty Charge Notice is issued. In this case a mistake was made.
“When we find out that we have issued a penalty notice in error we cancel it and refund as appropriate.
“We continue to monitor and review performance regularly to ensure any errors are minimised.”
Last month Leeds City Council was accused of sneaking in new charges for off-street parking after drivers noticed that widely publicised changes to on-street parking had also been brought in for some authority car parks.
The council decided to introduce new on-street charges for Sundays and evenings but drivers subsequently found themselves also having to pay in some off-street car parks.
Leeds City Council said the move was designed to bring off-street charges “into line” wth its approach to on-street parking and was needed so that it could “effectively manage demand for spaces”. It said the changes had been properly advertised.
Almost 2,500 parking tickets were issued in the first month of the new charges taking effect in Leeds.