10 December 2013

Bus special offer celebrates Lewes Road scheme success

A special offer of a week’s bus travel for under a tenner is being made to celebrate the success of Brighton’s new Lewes Road traffic layout.

Passengers can travel the route’s new bus lanes on various bus numbers for a whole week for £9.99 from Saturday (December 14).  The offer applies to anyone paying via the Brighton & Hove bus company’s smartphone app.  Details and links are below.

The news follows monitoring of Lewes Road showing the scheme has led to quicker, more reliable bus journeys, more bus passengers and increased cycling.  There has been only a slight increase in rush hour car journey times – and less than the council predicted.

The scheme, which opened at the end of September, saw half of the dual carriageway over a two-mile stretch made into wide bus and bike lanes in each direction between the Vogue Gyratory and Falmer.

The scheme has generated significant interest from other towns and cities.  Transport for London has recently adopted similar principles on one of its busiest cycle superhighways. 

Research in October and November has compared figures with the same period in 2012, before construction started.

Brighton & Hove Bus Company reports a seven per cent increase in the number of bus passengers.  Last year services using the Lewes Road carried 15.3million passengers.  This year a seven per cent increase would raise the number of bus trips to 16.4 million.

Bus journey times have dropped in both directions in the morning and also southbound in the evening.  This has happened despite speed limits being reduced and more people getting the bus.  Both Brighton & Hove Buses and Big Lemon are reporting improved punctuality and reliability.

Data suggests a 41 per cent jump in the number of taxis using Lewes Road, where they can travel in the bus lane.  However officials say this needs checking with taxi companies.  Council figures suggest a corresponding increase in taxi passengers.

Cycle trips are up 14 per cent as a direct result of the scheme.  Daily numbers of cyclists have increased from 2085 to 2383.

The number of cars and goods vehicles using Lewes Road between 7am and 7pm has decreased by 13 per cent, down from 18,377 to 16,035.  Officials say it is reasonable to assume that a significant proportion of these trips have been replaced with either bus or cycle journeys, given the increases shown on these modes. 

There has been only a minimal increase in journey times for general traffic as a result of the bus lanes.  A typical car journey from Falmer to Old Steine in the morning peak period has increased by an average of only one minute from 14 minutes to 15 minutes. Southound in the evening, car journey times take about a minute and a half longer.  Outside of peak periods journey times have not changed. Increases are less than the three minutes predicted by the council before the scheme.

There has been no significant displacement of traffic to alternative main routes in and out of Brighton such as Ditchling Road and Falmer Road.  There is no evidence of increased rat running through adjacent residential areas, says the council.

Cars now queue for less to time to get out of side roads onto Lewes Road.  One exception is Coombe Road in the mornings. Officials say traffic lights may need their timings adjusted.

Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said:  “It is still early days but already the scheme appears to be delivering exactly what we promised.  More people are using buses, taxis and bikes to travel along this key route because it’s now safer and more reliable.  And for those people who need to drive there has been only a small average increase in rush hour journey times. As word gets around I would expect more people to make the switch to cycling, buses and taxis.

“I’m particularly pleased that taxi numbers on the route appear to be increasing.  Bus lanes provide rapid travel for cabs too so hopefully that’s helping boost their business.”

The full monitoring report is available on the Lewes Road section of the council’s website - www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/lewesroad

Details of the £9.99 offer are:

Route 23-25 weekly mobile ticket reduced to £9.99 from Saturday December 14 until Sunday January 5.  The usual cost is £12.50.

This Lewes Road corridor ticket gives unlimited travel on routes 23 & 25, plus route 24 between Coldean Lane and the City Centre and on

routes 28 & 29 between Falmer and the City Centre.

Using a smartphone for your ticket is easy. Download the Brighton & Hove m-ticket app from the Apple Store or Google Play, or visit

www.buses.co.uk/app Just download the app and from Saturday you’ll find the cost of the ticket is lower.

The monitoring research was carried out by three separate traffic survey companies – Count On Us, Nationwide Data Collection and East Sussex County Council’s monitoring department.