Reading Borough Council (RBC) raked in more than £6 million from its parking services last year.

The money was raised in the 2018/19 financial year from bus lane and parking penalties, parking permits and car park charges. £4.6 million was raised the year before.

The largest chunk of money – £2.6 million – was raised from car parks.

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Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, hit out at journalists for “trying to pretend the council is trying to make money for its general coffers“.

He said this is not possible legally, speaking at Thursday's Traffic Management sub-committee.

The council put around £3.6 million of the profits into funding services such as concessionary bus passes on the ReadiBus service, maintaining roads and bridges and road safety schemes.

Cllr Page continued his barrage on the media, adding: “The press always try to make out that the council is out to fleece motorists.

“If you don’t park in a bus lane or you don’t violate a residents parking zone you don’t get a penalty charge notice.”

Cllr Page previously hit out at the AA, which said "many councils see drivers as wallets on wheels".

He responded: "The AA know full well - because it is written in law - that local councils can only spend parking revenue on operating parking services or on local transport projects."

Here is how much each service made in profit:

Parking Fines – £229,000

Bus Lane Fines – £1.2 million

Resident Parking Permits – £450,000

Car Parks – £2.6 million

Pay and Display – £1.7 million

Bus lane fine income down while parking profits more than double

Car park profits went up from around £1 million to more than £2.5 million, mostly down to a huge reduction in the amount spent on car parks compared to 2017/18.

Bus lane penalties dropped by 25 per cent, leading to a drop in profits from the charge on vehicles illegally entering bus lanes.

Simon Beasley, network and parking manager at RBC, explained the drop.

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He said it is mostly people driving from outside Reading that are being fined now as “local people learn really quickly” and praised the system of bus lane fines in Reading.

Mr Beasley said: “We have gone for pretty much every bus lane in Reading having a camera on it so there is really good compliance.

“There is respect for bus lanes that you probably wouldn’t find anywhere other than London.”

Reading Borough Council has more bus lanes per mile of road than anywhere else in the UK.

The penalty for being caught in a bus lane is a £60 Penalty Charge Notice.