A woman who received a fine for driving through a “bus gate” in Brighton said that the signs “don’t make sense”.
Mary Glossop*, 54, received two fines over the weekend of Saturday 11 March and Sunday 12 March.
She drove through the bus gate at Marlborough Place, in the Valley Gardens area of Brighton, while taking her partner to a writers’ workshop at the One Church, in Gloucester Place.
Driving into town from the couple’s home in Hove is essential, she said, because her partner Jimmers, 46, is a blue badge holder and cannot walk more than 50 metres, making a bus journey impossible.
And it was the first time that the Writers HQ had held an in-person event since the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown in 2020.
The couple had not travelled into Valley Gardens for three years and were not aware of the changes to the road layout.
Mr Glossop used to live in Gloucester Place and the couple took their familiar route, only to receive a fine days later.
Mrs Glossop said: “I was following the signs. It says local access and went into Marlborough Place.
“When you reach the bus gate at the end of Marlborough Place, there was nowhere to go.
“All you can do is turn right and around Old Steine again. There’s no way to get to One Church other than going around the houses, which doesn’t make sense.
“If I went up Church Street, that takes me into the most pedestrianised part of Brighton, a one-way system and the narrowest part of town.
“The argument that it’s improving green space and anti-congestion doesn’t make sense. It’s busy stop-start driving and terrible for pollution. It’s more congested, pushing traffic up the one-way streets.
“When you reach the bus gate at the end of Marlborough Place, there was nowhere to go. You have to go over it.
“It’s too confusing and it’s dangerous because you’ve got no time or preparation to make a manoeuvre.”
Mrs Glossop called for improvements to signs to explain what “local traffic” means and more publicity on the council’s social media and Visit Brighton to tell people the routes they must take to avoid bus gates.
In the two years since the Marlborough Place and Gloucester Place bus gate went live, the number of drivers passing through has fallen.
In the first year, the highest number of drivers passing through the gates was 5,570 in August 2021. Numbers dropped to 1,687 in August 2022.
Last year there was a significant fall in the number of vehicles passing through the bus gate, with a high of 2,217 in January and a low of 1,088 last October.
Brighton and Hove City Council said that 67 per cent, more than two thirds of penalty charges, were issued to vehicles registered outside the BN postcode area.
*Mary Glossop is a pseudonym.
It’s fairly moronic it doesn’t just say bus lane like every other city.
The term bus gate is just a made up term to catch people out. And the figures show clearly that people who know the area avoid it, people who don’t know the area are getting fined. 1000+ fines a month shows clearly there is a signage issue.
You need to get out more Dave, there are bus gates in loads of UK cities these days
Burning stuff creates pollution. Old diesel vehicles cause much more pollution than petrol vehicles. Congestion is pollution, free flowing traffic is slightly less pollution.
She is the congestion.
She says bus gates are ‘terrible for pollution’ but she is incorrect. Diesel is the pollution and pollution harms our health.
She is upset she didn’t see or understand a common sign in cities and got caught. End of story.
It doesn’t say bus lane because it’s not a dedicated bus lane as other vehicles need access to properties and side roads.
The term bus gate is used in various Towns and Cities across the country and is nothing new.
While Gate might be confusing to some, surely the word BUS should ring alarm bells and therefore more attention is needed by drivers.
Entering from the Old Steine and passing the King and Queen there are various signs informing drivers they MUST turn right at the traffic lights. If these signs are missed, there are BLUE signs with a white Arrow showing traffic to turn right. There’s even a repeater sign on the traffic lights themselves, I do worry that drivers who look at the lights can’t see the right turn in front of their faces.
I think the problem is the wording ‘Local’ Traffic. Those who are travelling through are not ‘local’, local in this case would be as I said above access to local residents, businesses and side roads.
There isn’t a gate. Change it. End of story.
You need to revise your Traffic Signs Manual if that’s what you truly believe, because you’re completely incorrect.
Not sure if you’re comment was aimed at me.
I’m fully aware of the meaning of traffic signs and have no need to check the Traffic Signs Manual.
It’s one of Brighton’s top earners from the data I’ve seen. I’ve also been caught out by that gate as well. More difficult because I also have to remember what vehicle I’m driving of a day.
£2.4million from the ones in York and Gloucester since January 2021.
I’m old enough to remember a thriving London Rd being two way traffic. People came into the town, spent their money and then went home happy. I believe the original changes that started London Rd on the slippery slope break the third world hell hole it currently is happened under a Labour administration.
London Road still is two-way traffic. Traffic goes both ways, that’s the very definition of two-way traffic. Semantic sarcasm aside, the decline of the highstreets has been pretty much majority contributed to the advent of the internet.
White, J., Hickie, J., Jackson, C., Orr, A. and Richardson, R. (2023). The experience economy in UK city centres: a multidimensional and interconnected response to the ‘death of the high street’? – White Rose Research Online. Whiterose.ac.uk.
Incorrect, London Road is not TWO WAY.
You can only go North from St Peters Church.
You can not enter London Road coming South from Preston Circus you are directed along Viaduct Road then Ditchling road where you can enter London Road via a side road. Once in London Road you still can’t exit to go South, therefore the Road is not two way as South bound is limited access and in not a through road.
Knew you’d say that. So it’s two way, as you just accurately described.
Even if you don’t understand the term “bus gate” there’s a standard blue sign with a picture of a bus and the word “only” right there. I do think they should just change the road marking to “bus lane” as it’s needlessly specific and technical and clearly people don’t looks at the sign next to it
It is causing confusion, the revenue generated by fines are testament to that most definitely! However, it is a standard term that is used in the Traffic Signs Manual, a book that every driver with a license has signed to keep up to date on.
Bhcc Transport Dept – for ever looking for new ways to screw the motorist. The department needs serious scrutiny
This particular bus gate is made worse by the fact that cars coming down North Road are allowed to turn left, which means drivers coming towards the bus gate from Marlborough Place can see non restricted traffic i.e. normal cars, heading towards the church, literally 20 feet in front of them, on the other side of a small 10ft by 10ft box painted on the road.
I missed the sign on the left, a few feet before it, advising me of the gate because a delivery lorry had parked in front of it. I think this is a deceptive practice, clearly intended to raise money rather than serve any real purpose.
Which is precisely why the sign says bus gate rather than bus lane.
People are unfamiliar with Bus Gates, and that’s where the confusion comes in, and as you say, they see another car going that way and follow without thinking. Considering the lack of upheld appeals, the law courts seem to agree with this assessment.
So the word gate is confusing, perhaps but the word BUS should alert drivers straight away should it not ?
A common Blue Signs with arrows that give orders can’t be mistaken.
Trouble is drivers don’t look at the signs, how many have been caught speeding by the camera’s that are painted bright yellow and clearly in the drivers view?
It is worrying really when you look at the no1 cause of road traffic crashes, lack of observations so I’m not surprised people get caught out.
I agree with this Mart, been behind a car several times in a nee naw with all my blues and twos going, and it’s not until 20 minutes later they react. Observations are definitely not a strong point for many drivers I’ve experienced.
Don’t go to Brighton.
North Street one end, London Road the other. A few tens of metres of unencumbered bus travel bounded by congestion each end. Pointless other than the revenue opportunity. But then we all knew this.
It’s to stop through traffic from using that side of valley gardens, while still allowing access for the residents and businesses.
Yes, pointless other than the revenue opportunity.
The signs are easily obscured by buses. They could have used the typical and traditional No Entry sign with ‘Except Buses, Bikes and Taxis’ beneath. But then they’d see this revenue stream totally collapse.
BTW. What’s so special about taxis? Most of those I see speeding down Western Road have no passenger.
Taxis are public transport, isn’t they Vince?
London districts have an electronic system that allows blue badge users to access bus gates without being fined. Brighton Council claimed this was not possible. Perhaps the new Labour administration could get this sorted.
Electronic System ?
How does that work then ?
Digital blue badge system existing along side the standard blue badge.
Nathan, you need to remember that the Greens did not like disabled people as they need to use cars to get around. If you are not on a bike, then you were potential revenue to the Greens.
Don’t ask for sensible solutions that would benefit a car owner.
All cars need to be pushed into traffic jams to kick out more fumes – as was pointed out in the article. So many of the Green anti-car policies are also anti-environment as they cause more fumes.
Never heard of that so thanks for the information.
My first thought is that Blue Badge holders are generally not entitled to exemption from bus gates as with other forms of moving traffic offences.
The greens not green have screwed this city into the ground by being disablist, cycle loving prats. They would be a bit buggered if they had there way & got rid of all the vehicles when they need an emergancy plumber ect, cant see many trades ppl going to a job on the bus. The bus gate is to catch ppl out to make money that got spent on cycle lanes that are hardly used, bike sheds over 2 parking spaces when all the houses around some of the areas have gardens & 1 of the most expensive resin paths going & dont get me started on putting concrete blocks around tree bases so if the wind does topple the tree theres going to be bits of flying concrete aswell. THERE OUT NOW. No one can do any worse than the greens.
It’s a cash cow. Everyone knows it. Dishonest and only there in it’s current form to generate cash and dissuade people from ever returning
I wont go anywhere near that area any more ,so confusing ,what is local traffic ??? I keep well clear of that whole area
It’s remarkable that people openly offer this as their reason when caught driving illegally: “I hadn’t driven there in 3 years, so I just drove from memory without paying attention to any new layout or signage.”
Strangers are being caught out by out of date satellite navigation systems too. It’s difficult enough finding your way around an unfamiliar town without crafty councils resorting to this kind of money raiser. I hope someone with the means to challenge this obviously flawed ‘gate’ in the courts. It would be a delight to see the courts ordering the fines to be repaid.
There is precedent: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/02/02/council-refunds-106000-fines-drivers-complaints-road-sign-high/
Better yet if the individuals responsible for persevering with this in the certain knowledge that thousands of people do not deliberately incur fines were personally surcharged. Too much to hope for, I suppose.
Yeah Vince, my old one still suggests driving through the middle in some sort of off roading scenario. I would say people wouldn’t do that, but I remember a story a few years back where people where following their satnavs into a river.