Bus drivers asked to show more courtesy to Preston shoppers

Make way: Pedestrians pick their way through traffic on the new-look Fishergate

Make way: Pedestrians pick their way through traffic on the new-look Fishergate

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Bus drivers are being urged to be more considerate while driving through Preston’s Fishergate – where a new road system is now in place.

Traffic and shoppers are meant to share use of the city’s premier shopping street following a £3.4m revamp.

But less than three months into the new layout, bus companies are being asked to remind their drivers no-one has priority – and that means giving way to pedestrians as well as other traffic.

“I noticed yesterday buses coming up (Fishergate) had no consideration for people trying to cross,” Coun David O’Toole told the executive scrutiny committee at nearby County Hall this week. “It’s a very good scheme, much improved on how it was. But there seems to be hesitation between members of the public and drivers on crossing points. There are no markings on the road and that’s why it isn’t quite clear.”

The new “shared space” road layout has proved controversial since its first phase was opened in October. Work begins on extending it to the top of Fishergate next month. With no traffic lights, or road markings, no-one has priority and everyone is expected to show courtesy and tolerance.

Steve Browne, Lancashire’s director of strategy and policy, said: “It’s a shared space. It requires people to act reasonably.

“And, while there are times when there is discourtesy and a lack of consideration, there are also times when people are being considerate.

“Bus companies could be reminded of their responsibility. It is an issue we could take up with the drivers and the bus companies, asking them to be a bit more considerate.”

Council leader Coun Jennifer Mein said: “It will just need time for people to get used to it. But overall I think it’s a fantastic improvement.”