Are coronavirus bus restrictions adding to Brighton seafront traffic jams and fumes?

More people are driving into Brighton because fewer buses are running and those that are running have reduced capacity because of coronavirus social distancing rules, according to campaigners.

The A259 Action Group has submitted a formal question to Brighton and Hove City Council about increased congestion on the seafront main road since the introduction of an eastbound temporary bus lane.

The group said that the new bus lane had pushed congestion back from the corner of Greenways – the Ovingdean turn-off – and past Roedean Road to Black Rock.

According to the group, the combined effect of reduced commuter bus capacity has led to an extra 100 cars using the road, resulting in more congestion.

The action group, which was set up to find ways to ease air pollution and traffic fumes on the A259 between Brighton and Eastbourne, wants the council to publish figures for queues and delays resulting from the temporary measures.

It said that 700 peak hour passengers were unable to board buses at the moment because of the covid-19 restrictions.

There are 23 peak-hour buses with a capacity of more than 2,000 passengers.

But social distancing rules meant that those buses were carrying between 1,100 and 1,300 fewer passengers.

Rob Shepherd, an adviser to the A259 Action Group, is due to speak on behalf of the group the question at a special meeting of the council on Thursday (13 August).

He said that the council’s new Green administration needed to explain how it would handle the situation.

Mr Shepherd said: “It is asked to show its plans are based on valid traffic data, as historically local residents had to employ traffic surveyors to correct serious misunderstandings.

“This will be a big opportunity for the Green administration to show it doesn’t just think about bikes and the inner city but also cares about bus commuters and the carbon emissions and economic damage that failing to manage traffic congestion causes.”

As well as asking for figures on queues and delays, Mr Shepherd also wants the council to explain whether it is viable for the emergency services.

The “virtul” meeting is due to start at 4.30pm on Thursday (13 August).

  1. Greensout Reply

    He said that the council’s new Green administration needed to explain how it would handle the situation.

    Probably with their usual response.

    ‘Cars are bad mmmmkay’.

  2. Myke Pinker Reply

    There is now congestion on many of roads in Brighton caused by this ridiculous green plan on cars. Portslade by Boundary Road and the Old Shoreham Road is now Permanent chocked with cars belchin out unnecessary fumes and still not a cycle in sight…..Thanks for this complete madness that will eventually bring Brighton down…..The sea front road is complete madness as well….visitors will stop coming once they experience this dreadful imposition brought on by Lunatics in power.

  3. Benny Reply

    Absolutely, Greensout. After years of discovering that their idea of reducing road space and increasing congestion doesn’t achieve their objective, it would be good to know what Plan B is.

  4. John Wilson Reply

    Students and naive middle class champagne socialists.Are you now embarassed about the demise and fall of Brighton caused by your actions.

  5. Alex Reply

    Couldn’t the bus companies put on some more buses on this route at peak time then? They’re saying there’s not enough bus places to meet passenger demand so seems simple.

  6. Andrew Reply

    I use these buses regularly, most are not full at the moment even with social distancing restrictions. The claim 700 people are unable to board buses is nonsense. Bus companies are being paid by the Government to ensure sufficient capacity for key workers so they can add extra services if necessary.

  7. Rob Shepherd Reply

    Agreed they are not full now, but as schools and commuters return after summer and there is less than 50% bus capacity due to social distancing, 700 people being unable to board the buses is likely.
    If B&HC Buses can add an extra 30 peaktime buses, then great, but do you think they have enough spare buses and drivers to do this across the city? Do you think the council should have credible plans in place?

    • Andrew Reply

      I’m not sure where your figure of 700 comes from, but I know B&H Buses has been working on providing extra capacity where needed. I’m not sure you’ll get a full answer to that, as the question you are asking at tomorrows Council Meeting seems more concerned with the impact on cars if the eastbound bus lane is extended towards Roedean. This ‘temporary A259 bus lane’ is not a new idea, it was proposed a couple of years ago in the Council’s Bus Network Review but not implemented due to lack of funding, so the feasibility of the scheme has already been established.

  8. rob shepherd Reply

    Pleased to hear you are familiar with the excellent 2018 Brighton Bus Network Review,
    This bus lane (item C12) was considered based on anecdotal comments from the bus company, its feasibility was never researched … though it would be beneficial at current traffic volumes it would be damaging (by extending the queue) at the sort of extra traffic volumes the CovId-19 reduced bus capacity will bring.

    700 was based on 23 buses that used to carry 75 people each, now only carrying 40 (in fact buses now only carry 30 and 75 is a very conservative estimate of the peak period occupancy of the 91-passenger buses)

    I wish our council would look at that review and ask why delays have got worse though there is less traffic … which if you know the Greenways area you probably realise this queue is new (last 5 years) though there is less traffic.

    B&HC buses have been working on getting up to a full service (85% so far) and (I hope) will soon raise the passenger limit from 30 to 40 (no standing, with alternate seats occupied).

    I hope the council will say something useful this afternoon, but historically they have taken little interest in the A259 and the coastal bus service and have refused to measure this queue.

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