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Fishergate bus lane IT glitch leads to wrong demand for higher penalties for drivers

Posted on - 22nd May, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Roads, Transport
The Fishergate bus lane Pic: Tony Worrall
The Fishergate bus lane Pic: Tony Worrall

Motorists are being advised to check if they receive a penalty fine for driving in the Fishergate bus lane due to an IT glitch.

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Lancashire County Council has revealed it failed to issue the penalty charge notices meaning reminder letters were triggered telling motorists they now owed £90 instead of the £30 reduced fee they can pay for early payment of the fine.

The bus lane, which is in operation from 11am to 6pm each day, has a penalty charge notice in force for any driver using the lane.

Raheel Baig contacted Blog Preston after receiving a letter on 16 May stating he owed the county council £90.

He said: “I can’t even remember going own there. I receive this letter saying I now owed £90 for going down the bus lane as I hadn’t responded to an earlier letter.

“I tore my house apart trying to find the earlier letter, but there was nothing.

“I phoned up the county council and they told me an IT glitch meant people had not been sent letters about the initial fine.

“To add insult to injury for me, I have never been down the bus lane during the restricted hours. I will be appealing my case and have data from my phone which shows on that day I didn’t drive in the bus lane.”

Read more: Here’s how many drivers were caught using the Fishergate bus lane

What the county council have to say

The county council say around 800 drivers are affected by the IT glitch.

Regulation and enforcement manager at the county council Peter Bell said: “We’ve had an issue affecting some Penalty Charge Notices for vehicles which drove down the Fishergate bus lane in April.

“In some cases the PCN wasn’t originally sent out, due to an ICT issue. A letter was then sent asking for a payment of £90, due to earlier non-payment.

“As people didn’t have the opportunity to challenge or pay their PCN at the £30 lesser rate, we can reduce the charge if people contact us.

“We apologise for any inconvenience that was caused to people by this ICT issue.

“Anyone who gets a notice should be able to challenge it or pay their ticket at the earliest opportunity following the usual process.”

Around half of the drivers affected have already had their fine reduced to £30.

Anyone receiving letters from the county council about the Fishergate bus lane is advised to check the penalty charge notice as it will state the actual date they are said to have driven in the bus lane.

The bus lane faced a troubled start to its life, with the county council losing appeals against enforcing fines due to ‘poor signage’.

Read more: Preston tip to see opening times change

It brought in new signage during 2017 and began enforcing the bus lane once again.

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