Preston drivers face fines as enforcement begins on city centre bus lane
Drivers in Preston are being warned of the penalties they face as new city centre bus lanes start to be enforced.
The bus lanes have been introduced as part of the regeneration of Preston bus station. A new bus lane on Tithebarn Street has been brought in to give priority to pedestrians crossing between the city centre and the new public space in front of the bus station. It also works in combination with changes to traffic already introduced on Lancaster Road to reduce rat-running through the city centre.
The bus lane begins after the junction of Tithebarn Street and Old Vicarage. All vehicles except buses which join Tithebarn Street from Ring Way now have to turn left onto Old Vicarage and back onto Ringway via Lancaster Road.
Drivers could receive at £60 penalty if they enter the bus lane. Cameras began monitoring at the start of February, with warning notices being issued for an initial period to give people a chance to get used to the bus lane being enforced. This approach has been used whenever a new bus lane has begun being enforced, however with fewer people visiting the city centre during the current lockdown the warning notice period will be extended.
Cameras are now also monitoring a new bus lane at the entrance to the bus station from Lords Walk. No vehicles except buses have ever been allowed to use this entrance, however some drivers have used it to gain access to the bus station apron and take a short cut to Carlisle Street.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “As with the other bus lanes we’ve introduced in Preston, the new one on Tithebarn Street is a way of prioritising part of the city centre for public transport and pedestrians by reducing the presence of other vehicles.
“The redevelopment of Preston Bus Station has created a new public space on the city side of the bus station, and reducing traffic on Tithebarn Street ties in with this and other improvements such as those on Fishergate to make the whole area more pedestrian-friendly.
“It will also work in combination with the recent changes to traffic priorities on Lancaster Road to reduce rat-running through the city centre, and help to create a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone.
“We’ll be issuing warning letters at first to anyone who misuses the bus lane to give people some time to get used to it. We’re happy if we don’t make a penny from the bus lanes, as it means that people are doing the right thing.”
The standard Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is £60, which is reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
The Tithebarn Street bus lane has been in place since May 2020, however extra signs have been put up now enforcement is due to begin to help alert people to it.
The cameras have been switched on to coincide with the planned opening of the vaccination site in St Johns Centre Preston. Complimentary car parking for people attending the vaccination centre is being provided on the bus station car park, increasing the number of people who need to cross Tithebarn Street.
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