All change again, as Preston says bye bye to bus lanes

The controversial no-right turn at Butler StreetThe controversial no-right turn at Butler Street
The controversial no-right turn at Butler Street
Fishergate's controversial bus lanes are being withdrawn in the next two weeks after creating uproar amongst motorists.

Preston’s disputed jam-busting measures, brought in as an experiment at the end of October to ease traffic flow in the city centre, are being put away with the Christmas decorations until next year after council chiefs declared them a success.

Hundreds of drivers were fined for using the lanes, although some have challenged the restrictions as unlawful, unfair and a “cash cow.”

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The AA branded the scheme a “trap” because County Hall failed to give driver a longer period of grace before turning warning letters into penalty notices. But Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, told the Post the scheme would be shelved and looked at again for next Christmas, adding: “Actually, it worked.”

After two months of driving motorists round the bend, Preston’s disputed bus lanes are being withdrawn - at least until next Christmas.

The controversial scheme to uncork the city centre’s tightest traffic bottleneck, will be shelved in the next couple of weeks in the face of mounting criticism from motorists.

County Hall chiefs say the experimental measures, initially brought in for a trial period of up to six months, have been a success, with the traffic flow in Fishergate much improved over the festive shopping period compared to previous years.

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But hundreds of drivers caught on camera and fined up to £60 will have only two words to say after the departure of the contentious congestion controls - good riddance!

The bus/taxi lanes were only brought in on an experimental basis on October 31. The plan was to see how they helped speed up traffic flow by removing vehicles between the hours of 11am and 6pm, seven days a week.

For the first two weeks drivers caught contravening the rules were sent warning letters. But by mid-November the letters turned to fine notices, with around 8,000 being dished out in the first week alone. One motorist caught out by staged a protest with placards warning other drivers.

Coun John Fillis, LCC’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, explained: “For the first time in several years we haven’t had any complaints about motorists not being able to get out of car parks in the city centre due to congestion. So actually it worked.

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“All it was set up for was to deal with the car park problems. We had one bank holiday in August when all the cars were trapped on St George’s.

“It will now be lifted and we can then sit down and have a proper look at it, to decide if it is worth maintaining or do we just introduce it in November and December.”

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