The hash boxed junction of Bagley’s Lane and New King’s Road in Fulham, dubbed the “Moneybox” by angry residents, has generated £5 million in fines for the council in the past three years.
New figures have revealed that the “money box” is the UK’s most lucrative junction, earning the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on average £200 an hour.
Campaign groups and drivers have complained about the junction, which they call a ‘trap’ for motorists who are unfamiliar with the area. Some residents have even gone so far as accusing the council of deliberately designing the ‘Moneybox’ junction as a “cash cow”.
Transport for London (TfL) advises that, at Box junctions, drivers “must not enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear”. Drivers can, however, “enter the box and wait when” turning right, but are stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or other vehicles waiting to turn right.
However, local drivers insist that the Moneybox’s two sets of traffic lights allow more motorists to enter the controlled area than can leave it. Fines for motorists caught waiting in the hashed ‘moneybox’ can reach as much as £130 if not paid immediately.
In a letter sent to the local activist group, Beat Bagley’s Box, the Department of Transport said:
“With regard to Bagleys Lane, the traffic authority had assessed the site and decided that a yellow box marking would be appropriate for the location. The required configuration of the road marking, due to the road layout, meant that they had to apply to the Secretary of State for an authorisation”.
Up until recently, only Police had the power to enforce penalties at box junctions, but with increased powers for councils to issue fines, many local residents are concerned that the ‘moneybox’ will lead to similarly lucrative junctions appearing throughout London’s road network.
Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The council shouldn’t see these huge till receipts as a sign of success but a symptom of failure”. Gooding explains that it is “inconceivable that tens of thousands of drivers are setting out to get a ticket so either there’s a problem with the road layout or signage”.
However, Hammersmith and Fulham Council explained that as “one of London’s busiest routes” the high number of tickets and revenue is understandable.