Next stop £60 fine as new bus lanes go live

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IT was a clear case of “take no notice” as drivers paid little attention to Preston’s jam-busting traffic scheme on its first day.

Despite prominent warning signs and the all-seeing eye of enforcement cameras, hundreds of motorists completely ignored the debut of the new road layout in Fishergate’s controversial shared space.

Doing fine: Traffic is nose to tail as drivers stray into Fishergates new bus only lane on its first day

Doing fine: Traffic is nose to tail as drivers stray into Fishergates new bus only lane on its first day

And with penalties of £60 a time, County Hall bosses can expect to rake in a huge cash windfall from their latest attempt to uncork the city centre’s worst bottleneck.

Two new bus lanes came into force yesterday morning - one to prevent motorists turning right at the top of Butler Street and the other to stop drivers using a section of Preston’s busiest shopping street between the hours of 11am and 6pm.

But when the Evening Post selected a 10-minute lunchtime slot to survey what should have been a much freer flow of traffic through the problem junction with Corporation Street it appeared to be business as usual.

At 1pm, two hours into the restrictions on the westbound bus lane, traffic was still streaming down. We counted 60 vehicles in 10 minutes despite the presence of huge warning signs and a camera pointing at them.

These changes only started earlier today, so it’s too early to make any conclusions about their success at this point

And, while many motorists seemed to be obeying the “no right turn” rule at the top of Butler Street, we still saw another 10 drivers in the same period use the prohibited short-cut to get across to Corporation Street.

Total revenue for our 10 minutes in the shared space was £4,200 - or £25,000 an hour. And it’s not even the Christmas rush.

Daniel Herbert, LCC highway network manager, said: “These changes only started earlier today, so it’s too early to make any conclusions about their success at this point. However we’ll continue to monitor the situation.”