The cameras were introduced in October to assist with the removal of through traffic from Scotland Road. It forms part of the council's wider plans to reduce congestion, make the town centre a more attractive place for walking and cycling and to improve access for buses, by the removal of traffic rat running through the town centre.
The implementation of the bus gate means there have been some changes to access routes to and from such places as the Prince Henry Square car park, Town Hill and the main Cockhedge Shopping Centre Car Park, located off the A49 Brick Street / A57 Midland Way.
Prince Henry Square car park should now be accessed to and from the north via Winwick Street passing Warrington Central Station and Town Hill should be accessed to and from the south via Dial Street and Buttermarket Street.
In addition, the main Cockhedge Car Park now cannot be accessed via Scotland Road but instead via the A49 Brick Street / A57 Midland Way accesses, or via Dial Street and Orford Street.
Clear signage is in place, notifying people of the new bus gate and enforcement measures. However, a large number of motorists have been caught out by these changes in recent weeks, especially those travelling southbound as this was the previous access to Town Hill and many drivers have received Penalty Charge Notices.
The Council has received a considerable number of comments and representations from motorists who have received penalty charge notices, saying that they have been unaware of the above changes. In response to this feedback, a decision has now been taken to cancel all penalty charge notices issued to date and to issue full refunds to all who have already paid them, as soon as possible. The council will be writing to all those due a refund with further details.
Further to this, a leaflet showing the revised routes for motorists to follow will be sent to all those motorists who received a penalty charge notice, to avoid them receiving any more in the future. These leaflets will also be distributed to businesses in the vicinity of Prince Henry Square Car Park and Town Hill to raise awareness of the revised routes.
The council is now urging motorists who use this route in future to ensure they are familiar with the direction they need to travel in order to access Town Hill / Prince Henry Square car park / at the front of the Cockhedge Centre and the main Cockhedge Shopping Centre car park.
Only buses, permitted taxis, cycles and emergency services vehicles can use the bus gate. The new automatic number plate recognition cameras will capture the registration plate details of all vehicles driving illegally along the bus gate. Owners of these vehicles could receive a Penalty Charge Notice of £60 reduced to £30 if paid within the first 14 days.
The installation of the Scotland Road bus gate cameras is part of the council’s ongoing work to support sustainable transport in Warrington. It aims to deter unauthorised vehicles, increase bus punctuality, reduce congestion and improve air quality. It is a vital part of the Council’s wider strategy set out in Local Transport Plan 4, Air Quality Action Plan and Health and Wellbeing Strategy to reduce the impact of pollution on busy roads in and around the town centre and for this to improve the health and wellbeing of those who live, work and visit Warrington town centre.
Bus gates help provide a more reliable bus service and increase passenger numbers by enabling buses to have a more reliable journey along some of Warrington’s most congested roads.