Parking tickets are being issued more than once every five minutes in Cardiff, The Cardiffian can reveal.
Cardiff council issued more than 66,000 parking tickets in the city during the past year, making the authority an income of almost £2 million.
But drivers are twice as likely to get a parking ticket in Cathays than in any other part of the city, it has emerged. Tickets are handed out once every 13 minutes in Cathays, but only once every three weeks in Radyr.
Churchill Way, in the city centre, was the most ticketed street in Cardiff. Some 2,253 penalty notices were issued within a 12-month period, most of which were for parking in disabled bays.
Nine of the top 10 ticketed streets were in the city centre, including Windsor Place (1,717), Museum Avenue (1,580) and Park Street (1,239). Only Havannah Street Car Park (1,152) in Butetown featured in the top 10 from outside the centre.
More than one third of all tickets were issued in the Cathays ward, which includes the city centre, Cathays Park and Cathays itself.
The 25,266 tickets is equivalent to one every 13 minutes during parking enforcement officers’ working hours of 7am to 10pm, seven days a week.
Outside the Cathays ward, almost 30 per cent of the remaining tickets were issued in neighbouring Roath. A total of 12,156 tickets were distributed across the residential suburb, with some 822 issued on Albany Road and 680 on City Road.
The third most-ticketed ward was Butetown with 3,907 notices issued, and next was Canton with 3,617. No tickets were issued in Trowbridge, and few were given out in several other wards including Pentyrch (1), Lisvane (2), and Ely (3).
Types of offences included parking in disabled bays, parking in residents’ places, and not clearly displaying tickets. Fines range from £50 to £70 depending on the severity of the offence, which is halved if paid within a fortnight.
Neil McEvoy, Cardiff Council's executive member for transport, said: “Parking tickets are an unfortunate necessity. It’s annoying when you get one, as I myself have found out in the past.”
Cardiff Council took responsibility for enforcing parking restrictions across the city in July 2010, promising to crack down on illegal parking.
Coun McEvoy said: “Since we took the decision to decriminalise parking offences and take up the enforcement ourselves, money is staying in the local economy rather than going elsewhere.”
A Cardiff council spokesman said: “Problem parking causes obstructions to both pedestrians and motorists and greatly effects the traffic flow within the city. We have been tough in tackling those who park illegally in the capital, targeting key areas in the city that are affected by problem parking.
“The CPE scheme has been in place for 18 months and our message is always 'don’t be a problem parker’ and with data showing traffic flows improving, the scheme is clearly working and benefitting those who travel around the city.”
Plasnewydd Councillor Richard Jerrett, said: “It is good to see the council taking action to reduce the numbers of people breaking the rules. Illegal parking has been an on-going issue in Roath.
"Within the local community there has been a large demand to reduce illegal parking, especially where drivers block zebra crossing and shop entrances.”
“Noticeably the parking problems lie in the inner suburbs of Roath, Cathays, Adamsdown, Canton and Butetown where commuters try to park. On some occasions people sit in their cars and wait for a space. The whole situation was ridiculous."
Data released under the Freedom of Information Act showed the details of tickets issued for parking offences from the authority from February 2011 to January 2012. Some 66,489 tickets were handed out by the council during the 12 month period, generating a gross income of £1,973,352.
Previous data showed the council issued 63,771 tickets in the first 12 months it enforced parking restrictions, collecting more than £1.5 million.