Two months into a high profile crackdown on jaywalkers at Preston Bus Station, the number of fines dished out so far is . . . zero!
The Evening Post can reveal today the city council has not issued a single court summons, despite a pledge to “get tough” on offenders who flout the law.
And even though the authority insists its campaign to stop bus passengers risking their lives walking across the busy concourse is slowly bringing results, we caught 10 offenders in the space of just 20 minutes this week.
Three of them, an elderly lady and a middle-aged couple on their way to bingo, walked almost half the length of the apron oblivious to the danger of buses arriving and leaving the terminus.
The council launched its safety campaign in August in a blaze of publicity. Initially officers adopted a “softly, softly” approach, taking names and addresses and sending out warning letters threatening court action and a possible £500 fine if offenders were caught again. A week later, the council announced “the gloves are off” and pledged to start prosecuting.
Yet when asked this week how many jaywalkers had been ordered to appear in court over the subsequent two months, a council spokesman admitted not one summons had been issued. He said: “There have been a couple of cases where we have considered prosecution, but we let them off with a warning.”
Over the years, four people have been killed in accidents on the concourse, which is used by 56,000 passengers and sees 2,700 vehicle movements a day. The most recent was a grandmother who died after being trapped under a reversing bus in May 2008.
Preston Council has been working hard since then to upgrade pedestrian safety, putting up 160 warning signs in the terminus and hundreds more on the buses themselves.
Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for community and environment, said: “We have seen a temporary reduction in the number of people who cross the bus station without using the defined crossing.
“However, people are still putting themselves and others at risk by crossing the concourse at undesignated places and we have to tackle these ongoing issues. The council’s approach is to educate people about the dangers of crossing in unmarked places and we are raising awareness through increased signage on site and warning offenders. We have also worked with the bus operators who have placed signage in buses as additional reminders before passengers get off the bus.” He added: “Public safety is paramount and something we take very seriously.”