A MOTORING expert has accused Bolton Council of running a “money-making scheme" by fining drivers who stop in taxi ranks for only a few seconds.

Hugh German, a member of Bolton’s Institute of Advanced Motorists, was shocked to receive a £70 fine after stopping in the taxi rank in Knowsley Street for 14 seconds to drop off his wife on December 13, last year.

Another driver, Rod Pilling, was also angry to discover he had been fined in the same spot despite CCTV footage revealing he had been stopped on the taxi rank for just 12 seconds on December 10 last year.

The fine is £70, reduced by half if paid promptly.

Mr German said: “I reluctantly paid the £35 demanded.

I suspect that many others are unjustly charged and take the same option.

“I also believe that this type of action by Bolton Council is nothing more than a money-making scheme and that it contributes nothing to improving road safety or traffic flow. Bolton town centre is notorious for its pedantic enforcement of parking restrictions. No wonder shops are closing and would-be visitors and even many Bolton citizens go elsewhere for their shopping.”

He said appealing the fine would have involved further cost and the inconvenience of going to a traffic penalty tribunal.

Janice Pilling, aged 62, who is retired, from Westhoughton, said pictures of her husband’s Hyundai car in the taxi rank, sent by Bolton Council, show the car leaving after 10 seconds.

She said: “My husband dropped me off while I got my mum, who has dementia, some money out for Christmas from the Halifax.

“I think it’s probably a way for the council to get extra money because they have to save money again.”

A council spokesman said: “Both of these individuals have accepted they had stopped there illegally and have paid their fines.

“We acknowledge that these drivers felt their fines were unfair because they were only there for a short period of time.

“However, the taxi rank is clearly signposted and stopping in the rank even for a few seconds could prevent a taxi from parking and picking up a fare.

“If a motorist does feel they have been fined unfairly they can challenge their fine.”