An investigation has discovered that almost 4,000 motorists a day are fined for driving in bus lanes, with the most lucrative camera making £6,000 every 24 hours.
BBC England contacted 160 authorities responsible for highways in England, 64 of which had bus lane cameras.
The report says that, in total, the local authorities revealed an estimated combined income of £31m for 2015-16. The figure is likely to be higher as some councils were unable to break down figures by individual cameras or lanes.
The most lucrative bus lane in England is on the northbound section of John Dobson Street in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The BBC discovered the council revealed that between 23 February and 31 October 2016 it resulted in 62,975 penalty charge notices, making a total of £1.5m, equivalent to £5,960 a day.
The findings have led to critical comments about bus lane enforcement by the RAC. Its spokesman Simon Williams said, “Rather than just rubbing their hands together and taking the money councils should be asking questions as to why so many motorists are being caught driving in bus lanes. They should be looking to understand if motorists are deliberately flouting the rules or whether this is happening accidentally, and if so why.
“Most motorists are aware of the regulations concerning bus lanes and there is broad acceptance that they are there to aid traffic flow by helping to keep heavy traffic moving more efficiently, reduce congestion and benefit the environment.
“For this reason we don’t believe that the majority of motorists choose to drive in bus lanes on purpose so it is our strong suspicion they are either confused by the signs or simply haven’t seen them and suddenly find themselves driving in a bus lane.
“Cameras need to be set up fairly and signed clearly so that drivers are not unduly punished. A more lenient approach should also be taken for minor errors where motorists have only crossed the lane by inches or have driven in a bus lane for a matter of moments.”