Ticket to ride at a Preston bus stop with no buses
Motorists fined for parking next to an old bus stop in Preston are having their tickets torn up after an error by traffic wardens.
County Hall bosses have admitted Penalty Charge Notices issued recently for a stretch of road in Broadgate are not enforceable because they were filled in wrongly.
An unknown number of drivers are being contacted and either having their fines cancelled or refunded.
But an ex-policeman, whose partner was hit with a ticket two weeks ago, claims the problem goes back much further than a few weeks.
"It's good news they're refunding people, but I'm still not happy," said Steve Singleton. "This isn't a working bus stop and hasn't been for at least 10 years, maybe longer.
"The local bus was re-routed a long time ago and nothing stops there anymore. So how many people have been wrongly ticketed?"
Officers at Lancashire County Council are adamant that, despite the road markings being faded at the time the tickets were issued, it is still a bus stop because one of their school buses picks up pupils there.
And within 48 hours of the Post contacting County Hall, a highways team turned up to re-paint the markings to make sure it looks the part.
"The bus stop is available to be used by the 656 school service, and anyone who parks within the marked bay could be issued with a penalty," insisted a spokesman at County Hall.
"We have reviewed the penalties recently issued to people who have parked within this bay and, due to an error regarding the coding of the contravention referenced on the penalty, will be writing to them to cancel the penalties and issue refunds."
According to the bus timetable, the 656 service to Archbishop Temple School in Fulwood, operated by Redline on behalf of LCC, makes only one stop in Broadgate and that is further down the road at the "terminus" where it turns round.
Locals living near the old stop near the junction with Ardee Road claim they haven't seen a bus use it for years and it is taking up enough space for up to four residents' cars.
"It's silly. People can't park outside their houses because of this thing," said one who asked not to be named. "Why do we need a bus stop when no buses stop there?"
LCC say that recent tickets at the bus stop were issued by traffic wardens under Contravention Code 23 for parking in a place not designated for that class of vehicle. In fact they should have been issued under Code 47, relating to any vehicle other than a bus using a restricted bus stop or bus stand.
Steve said he was concerned lots more motorists could have been given tickets there illegally over the past few years because the signs did not comply fully with the regulations and still don't, he claims, despite the markings being repainted.
"For wardens to issue a penalty the 'bus stop' has to be signed in accordance with the regulations, which it is not," he told the Post.
"If what they say about it being used for a school bus is true, then why don't they put a plate on it indicating school times when parking is prohibited? That way residents could at least park there at weekends and evenings.
"There is a perfectly legitimate bus stop on the opposite side of the road and that has the proper signs and the bus clearway is properly marked on the road.
"But the one in question is faded - or was until the Post took it up with County Hall - and it clearly hasn't been maintained for years.
"According to locals I've spoken to, someone confronted the traffic warden who has been ticketing cars and he has said that until someone tells him it's not a bus stop then as far as he's concerned it's a bus stop and he will keep ticketing people for parking there."
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