The amount of money made by a Welsh council from its very own “magic roundabout” has been described as a “complete farce” - with more than half a million pounds being paid in fines in the space of just one year. The roundabout in question is located in Llanelli, right next to Parc Trostre and a McDonald’s restaurant and drive-thru. The exit immediately next to that McDonald’s is in fact a bus lane and cars are strictly prohibited from using it at any time of the day or night.

Wales Online recently requested data from Carmarthenshire Council via a Freedom of Information request after numerous complaints from motorists that they had been hit with fines of up to £70 for exiting the roundabout by driving down the bus lane. There are signs as you approach the roundabout itself and as you leave the exit in question, but many felt and continue to feel that the signage is not clear enough and that is precisely why it represents such a huge income stream for the council. You can keep up to date with the latest Carmarthenshire news by signing up to the local newsletter here.

One driver who was caught out said: “I feel very much that this ticket is unfair as it was not clear enough and it feels like a bit of a trap that is there to make money - a modern day highway robbery.” You can read more about people’s concerns here. Between December, 2022, and November, 2023, £509,525 was paid in fines to Carmarthenshire Council from drivers who used the bus lane off Trostre Roundabout.

That’s more money in fines from one roundabout than is typically collected by the council for parking offences across the entire county in a 12-month period. If you stretch it back slightly to August, 2022, the information gathered reveals that 15,112 drivers were caught driving down the bus lane between then and December 2023.

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Now, one local has hit out at the council, calling the bus lane a “money-raising scheme”. Charlie Evans, who is a candidate for the Llanelli constituency at the next general election - which will take place sometime between now and January, 2025 - wrote to Carmarthenshire Council after seeing the statistics printed by Wales Online. “I am writing to express serious concerns about the overwhelming amounts of money that the council is pocketing from fines issued from cars going down the bus lane adjacent to McDonalds at Trostre Roundabout,” wrote the Conservative candidate for Llanelli.

“A story in WalesOnline has exposed the sheer scale of these fines, with residents and visitors being punished for the signs not being clear enough. The council has raised more than half a million pounds from December, 2022, to November, 2023. It has caught out more than 15,000 drivers, equivalent to the population size of Carmarthen.

"This must be one of the most profitable money-raising schemes in the county.” Mr Evans asked the council directly: “Will you use some of the £509,525 to invest in proper signage at the roundabout to help prevent visitors making innocent mistakes? How much of the £509,525 so far has been invested in Llanelli’s highways and local services?”

Roundabout near McDonald's
The roundabout in Trostre which has caused motorists so much money

Councillor Edward Thomas, cabinet member for transport, waste and infrastructure at Carmarthenshire Council, responded by saying: “I am happy to report that all approach roads to the roundabout include advance signs warning approaching drivers that one of access roads is restricted in line with Road Traffic Regulations.

"On the roundabout itself, the presence of the bus lane is then clearly shown with appropriate signs which are reinforced with additional carriageway markings on a red surface. The money raised from the fines are invested into local transport and highway services to improve service provision and infrastructure across the county. We have several road projects in and around Llanelli.” Want less ads? Download WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android.

Mr Evans was clearly not satisfied by the response he received, however, arguing that profit was taking a priority over motorists in Carmarthenshire. He said: “I am disappointed that Carmarthenshire Council is not listening to the concerns raised by local people. Where fines are typically issued, it is of course the fault of the motorist. Nobody is asking for these fines to be reimbursed. But the sheer volume of the fines being issued should cause the council to ask what is going on.

“The fact they have now repeatedly said that the case is closed shows they are putting profit before people. It’s why I am describing this as the council’s ‘magic roundabout’. I’m calling on the council to do the right thing - end this complete farce by investing in better signage on Trostre roundabout and use the money raised to support things such as Llanelli’s school bus services that are under threat.”