Refunds for Fishergate Bus Lane drivers

Photo Neil Cross
Fishergate tribunal adjudicator, Stephen Knapp, takes a look at the signage
Photo Neil Cross Fishergate tribunal adjudicator, Stephen Knapp, takes a look at the signage
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Drivers caught on camera in the controversial Fishergate Bus Lane will be refunded, it has been announced.

County Hall bosses decided they will review cases of those who contact it in writing ‘as a gesture of goodwill’ but announced the bus lane will remain in place.

Any driver who thinks they may be eligible to get their money back will have to contact Lancashire County Council in writing before April 13 - they must be first time claims made on the basis of inadequate signage.

The announcement follows news on Thursday that an independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal ruled the measures were legal and in accordance with the guidelines.

However, based on five test cases, the adjudicator decided penalty appeals for using the controversial no-go lanes should be upheld as warning signs were ‘not adequate.’

Immediately, The AA the urged the County Council to repay all motorists after previously branding the arrangement a ‘traffic trap.’

The bus lane, between Mount Street and Corporation St, will remain in operation from 11am to 6pm every day.

Although the restrictions remain in place, no camera enforcement will be carried out until the council has reviewed the experimental scheme as planned in April, taking into account the findings of the adjudicator and all other comments made during the consultation process.

County Councillor John Fillis, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The quickest way to contact us is through our website, stating the circumstance in which people received the penalty. If that is in keeping with the adjudicator’s decision, based on the signing, then we will give people their money back.

He said: “These measures will stay in place while we review consultation responses and look into measures such as extra signing, following the adjudicator’s findings. We won’t use cameras to enforce this bus lane while we review it and look into options.

“This means that unauthorised vehicles are still restricted from using this section between 11am and 6pm. And we ask people to respect this.

“Our aim was always to improve the traffic flow. We didn’t want to issue any Penalty Charge Notices, but they’re an important way to enforce these changes.

“We’re clear that these changes have significantly improved the city centre in many ways. Fishergate has become a more pleasant place for pedestrians and it has helped to reduce traffic building up in parts of the city centre at the busiest times. Bus operators have told us that they’re very happy with these changes.

“This has also helped air quality, thanks to a reduction in queuing vehicles.

“There has been a reported increase in footfall, and we’ve seen new shops and businesses coming into the city centre.”

The bus lane restriction was introduced to reduce traffic congestion at peak times, maintain traffic flow around the city centre, improve the Fishergate environment and reduce pollution within the main shopping area at peak times.