Cumberland Road bus gate

Bristol City Council has made a proposal to install a bus gate on Cumberland Road, historically a through-route for eastbound (inbound) traffic. A bus gate would permit it to be used by just buses, taxis and cycles. The stated objectives are to reduce delays to buses, particularly at the Bedminster Bridge junction, prioritising public transport over private vehicles, and to improve air quality.

The Society has submitted a response. We support the policy of prioritizing public transport, but in this location, unless evidence of bus delays can be provided, it feels difficult to argue for a bus gate at this time. We have proposed an alternative measure which may help free bus flows.

Turning to two other possible reasons for change, the strategic case for restricting private vehicles here is not overwhelming; and the evidence that air pollution will improve as a result of the proposed scheme is not clear.

Alan Morris

Full Civic Society response.




14 thoughts on “Cumberland Road bus gate”

  1. I live in Bathurst Parade and I can drive to the SS Great Britain in Gas Ferry Road and return on the same route. If the new proposals were introduced , I would still be able to drive to Gas Ferry Road but my return journey would be to continue along Cumberland Road , go over the bridge to Coronation Road and drive to Bedminster roundabout and exit onto Commercial Road and then to Wapping Road. This would mean that my return journey would be 3 miles longer and on congested roads causing more pollution.
    Also if I wanted to come from the Portway to my home , I would have to either go along Hotwells Road towards the city centre or along Coronation Road which again would take much longer and on congested roads particularly at peak times .The same is true if I wish to go to and from Clifton Village . I vehemently oppose what is proposed particularly as so few buses have routes along Cumberland Road.

  2. Marjorie Bates

    How would it lessen air pollution when the traffic is doubled along Coronation Road?
    Think of the poor people living in this road who would suffer from the increased stop and start traffic. Getting in and out of their drives would be a nightmare,

    All this proposal is doing is transferring air pollution and increased traffic pollution to other areas. I suggest a major rethink.

  3. Probably more people live on Cumberland Rd to the West of the bus gate, and I’m one of them. It makes more sense to have direct in/out access to Cumberland basin (a major “by pass”) than the restriction we currently have, which forces us all to use Coronation Rd as we currently do. At the same time, I can see the value of a relatively quiet/safe route in/out for other more vulnerable road users, and for increased public transport. I’m less likely to want to drive west into all the congestion of the inner city, and nor should I. So, I’m happy with the proposal.

  4. Jon Sims Williams

    Traffic on the A370 on the South side of the River Avon has increased because of the work on Cumberland Rd. The result of the higher traffic is more stop and start hence more pollution and time wasted. It seems disproportionate to have a bus gate thus stopping the Cumberland Rd being used when it is not obvious that the buses are going to be significantly slowed.

  5. I’ve lived in Bristol all my life and my dad would drive us along Cumberland Road,to get to the Portway to visit my sister in Shirehampton ,but can’t do it for years now WHY NOT

  6. This is a ridiculous proposal. So few buses go along the Cumberland road which in 3 years of my wife studying at spike island has never been congested. We will now add to the hideous congestion on the coronation road on our return home.
    Might catch a few tourists visiting the SS Great Britain unawares, so a good revenue stream, or is that too cynical

  7. I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely fed up I am with the new bus gate on the Cumberland Road. I regularly need to travel between Spike Island, Bower Ashton and the Arnolfini. This new bus gate makes literally no sense. None of the charges will stop me using my car because no matter how I try to work it out, public transport simple does not fit my needs. I will just have to pollute the roads for longer, use more petrol and gridlock some other road. I don’t want to use my car but I have too! I don’t have the physical ability these days to cycle everywhere I need to be everyday. I will likely kill myself or someone else if I use a scooter. I often need to transport heavy or bulky equipment and sometimes can’t go about my daily business because of the ridiculous amount restrictions and inflated parking charges in place around Bristol these days making it logistically too difficult. I feel like citizens of Bristol are just being constantly robbed by the council. I would much rather walk into town from my home and I used to on a regular basis, but it takes over an hour and I don’t have time now to do this at the beginning and end of the day as I need to get back for my family, often running other errands on the way. This council has made a fortune out of me over last couple of years and made nothing better. Now they are suggesting closing the A4. I feel that eventually those of us in Brislington will simple be cut of from the city while those coming in from outside will have it easy. Great if you are young, fit and full of energy. Tuff luck if you’re not. I am literally furious. There are bus lanes near Templemeads that are closed all the time, why? The stress of getting around the city because of the cost simply exhausting.

  8. I never knew the new bus-gate on Cumberland Road was activated and with all the work carried out over the past 4 years. The deprivation of use which has been stopping traffic flow along with limited information available as you drive around the distorted routes in this part of Bristol, it makes you just want to stop visiting the leisure facilities and parks which we pay so much toward in our taxes.

    Considering the amount of disruption adding a bus-gate seems to be a money spinner (Yes I have just received my photo and penalty notice!) which once again ‘punishes’ residents and visitors that need to use cars to get around. Why can’t the council issue first time offenders a warning letter instead of wading in with penalty notices. This area has suffered so much disruption, surely there is a case for allowing road users time to understand what’s different now the changes are applied?

  9. I live in Bristol city center in Bedminster and had to drop my 2 year old and wife off between work, to the Children’s Hospital at 10:00 and then again later at 12:00, went via satnav, and was greeted with my photo and penalty notice of £35 each. I’m livid. If it’s not Bristol City Council giving me parking tickets for parking in the shared use BE parking bay next to my flat with my BE parking permit and having to protest them, I’m getting charged for driving on a road I’m used to driving on. Just makes you want to move somewhere else.

  10. I am a visitor to Bristol, with it being well over 50 years since I last visited as a Bath University student. I was also caught by this ‘revenue gate’ (to give it its proper name). Trying to find the Baltic Wharf Camping & Caravan site in my 7.5 metre long motorhome I was totally reliant on my SatNav and it was taking me in the opposite direction to what a pre-check had indicated I should be travelling. Travelling in an easterly direction away from the city centre I used the side street to the SS Great Britain as a place to turnaround to go back towards the city as I had travelled far more the voice commands of the SatNav had suggested. On emerging from the side road (Gas Ferry Road) on to Cumberland Road there is no warning that a left turn would land me straight into the middle of a ‘revenue gate’. I must be typical of so many visitors to the SS Great Britain who after an enthralling visit to a first-class tourist attraction would have forgotten about the ‘revenue gate’ and would turn left straight into the revenue trap and with no off ramp to avoid it.
    I cannot even understand why it is needed. I used the M2 bus stop on Cumberland Road and there was absolutely no sign of any congestion which may slow a bus. At worse I observed the traffic at four cars a minute maximum, even in rush hour. The M2 bus was always on time and was never impeded by other vehicles. If Bristol City Council think a revenue gate is needed it should be placed nearer to Commercial Road. It is the wrong traffic control measure in the wrong place.
    This gate will not do anything to attract revenue generating tourist to Bristol. I, for one, will not be bringing my tourist pound back to Bristol when I can go to so many other vibrant cities in the South West which do not make vehicle users to feel unwanted.
    If Bristol City Council want to use camaras to catch offenders they should be focusing on all the disgusting graffiti which is blighting your once great city. Entering Bristol from the northern motorways brings the tourist to the sight of graffiti plastered on any and every space. It looks disgusting! It makes a visitor feel intimidated. It looks as if entering some third world poverty-stricken ghetto. Even scruffy Manchester does not suffer this abusive level of graffiti. Is Bristol City Council trying hard to dissuade tourists by whatever means it can.
    Okay Bristol City Council I have taken the hint and will not be visiting Bristol ever again, which is sad as I have very fond undergraduate memories of my visits 50 years ago.

  11. I have just been caught, without warning, by this new installation on Cumberland Road. I say ‘without warning’ because if you are driving, when you have to, around Bristol (and I mostly walk or take the bus or cycle) then it should be possible to drive in the city using common sense and logic. This ‘bus gate’ – I can’t even get my head around the term which I have never heard before – defies both logic and common sense. It’s a no through road for cars, set up without warning, and if you realise in time to avoid it, you see immediately that all it achieves is simply to export all the traffic and all the pollution onto Coronation Road. In fact the additional distances covered increase car traffic and the resulting pollution.

    One other thread to my comment: to judge from other people’s comments, the council’s policy towards private cars ignores a major factor for many motorists, which is that drivers often do use their cars as taxis, to transport elderly relatives, children, the disabled and other groups who it would be hard/expensive to convey from one place to another on any alternative means of transport.

    A complete fail.

  12. Like others posting here, we’ve just received a penalty notice for driving though this new “bus gate” one evening in March whilst visiting the Bristol Old Vic. We had no idea that the Cumberland Road, now open after the extensive roadworks, was closed to ordinary traffic travelling inbound. It was dark and we literally did not see the signs, but neither were we expecting that the road would be closed. What is the point? The road was empty of buses and taxis. I guess Coronation Road was as busy as ever – pity the poor residents there. Interesting to read that the Council has, in ten weeks, raised over £500,000 from 22,000 unwitting drivers on this bus gate alone! The fact that so many people have been caught out strongly suggests a lack of information and signage. Honestly, the Council’s transport policy just gets more daft with each passing year.

  13. Elizabeth Hall

    I am a visitor to Bristol who took my disabled husband to visit The SS Great Britain in March this year.
    I have received a penalty charge for driving accidentally on a bus gate lane .
    I have never heard of a bus gate and I will not be revisiting Bristol in future in case it happens again .
    It seems a very unfair way of collecting revenue and I am clearly not the only one who think so !

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