Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) council are coining it from local drivers and visitors to Bath—thanks to their Pulteney Bridge ‘bus gate’ junction in the middle of the city that fines drivers for passing through it between 10am and 6pm. Some 10,000 drivers have been caught by the CCTV camera over the past year, resulting in a pile of cash amounting to between £300,000 and £600,000!
It is all part of the city’s increasingly complex one-way system that seems designed to catch out unwary drivers and create gridlock for locals as they are all forced on to a single ring-road around Bath. Now B&NES is set to increase the congestion by introducing a new £20,000 ‘bus gate’ for an 18-month trial near its bus and train stations in Dorchester Street—and bring in yet more cash from frustrated and confused local drivers and tourists.
Opposition councillors and residents have protested against the ‘bus gate’, which is designed for buses, taxis and other exempted vehicles to pass through but not regular car users. They argue that it will simply displace traffic to the already congested high street that passes through nearby Widcome and should not have been undertaken until neighbouring Rossiter Road had been made two-way. The decision was called-in for further discussions but the objections have since been dismissed, despite a local poll revealing a majority of residents against the new ‘bus gate’.
‘At the moment it simply seems like another way of raising money from fines on motorists whilst adding to congestion and producing few benefits,’ said the opposition leader.
In the meantime, local taxpayers are paying for a one-way system they didn’t want—making driving around their city even more difficult—both through their council tax and fixed penalty fines.
‘We’re just very disappointed at the result and concerned about the residents in Bath where all the traffic is going to pile up,’ said an opposition councillor. ‘I just think they haven’t really listened to the people.