ALMOST 300 drivers were told to pay fines for each day of a controversial six-month traffic trial on a York bridge.
Figures for the number of penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued between August 27 last year and February 27 this year - the official duration of the Lendal Bridge experiment, which has closed the route to private vehicles for six-and-a-half hours a day - show 53,521 fines were sent out for breaching its rules.
This equates to 289 penalties a day during the trial, and although The Press revealed last month that more than 10,000 drivers had appealed against their fines and most had won, City of York Council's total income from the trial at that point had hit £1.3 million, with between £650,000 and £750,000 expected to be ringfenced for traffic and transport schemes once the costs of the trial are taken off.
The restrictions have remained in force despite the scheme formally ending, with the authority set to make a decision on whether it is continued, abandoned or its hours extended on May 6 after an assessment of its impact is completed.
The council believes closing the bridge will improve bus journey times, reduce pollution and encourage more people to walk, cycle and use public transport, but the trial has been heavily criticised over claims it has damaged York's reputation because of the majority of fines being issued to visitors, harmed businesses and caused congestion elsewhere.
In their update on the final month of the trial period, council transport officials said average February journey times increased on six of York's ten Park&Ride routes into and out of the city, with three improving and one showing no change.
The officers have said the trial will have to be permanent and bus times altered before services can "take full advantage of the time savings".
Year-on-year statistics for the number of vehicles using key routes in York hourly during February showed a large increase over Clifton Bridge and a smaller increase on Shipton Road, but large decreases on the Outer Ring Road and Boroughbridge Road.
The report said that while more traffic was still using Foss Islands Road, the level of February's increase was less than the previous month and volumes were now similar to those before the trial started, saying: "Control room operators report an improvement on Foss Islands Road since the start of January."