Temporary bus gates in Oxford city centre (COVID-19)

Update - October 2020

The county council Cabinet decided at its 13 October meeting not to proceed with the proposed temporary city centre bus gates in Oxford.  Instead Cabinet agreed that work is accelerated, where feasible, on Connecting Oxford (including the permanent city centre bus gate proposals), the Zero Emission Zone and the wider sustainable and active travel programme, including specific measures to enable and incentivise COVID-safe bus use. New bus gates remain an important part of the transport strategy for the city, but need to be well-considered, thoroughly consulted on, and supported by appropriate complementary transport improvements.

More detail can be found here:

Temporary city centre bus gates - Cabinet report (13 October 2020)

A report summarising the responses received to the temporary city centre bus gates consultation can be found here:

Temporary city centre bus gates - consultation report

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Why are temporary bus gates proposed for Oxford?

The government has asked all local authorities to introduce emergency transport schemes to facilitate safe, socially distanced transport links (particularly walking and cycling) to help restart the local economy whilst controlling the spread of COVID-19.

The bus gates support our emergency active travel programme.

Before COVID-19, Oxford city centre was very reliant on buses and Park & Ride for its footfall. In a 2017 survey, around two-thirds of city centre shoppers said they came by P&R or bus. The bus gates here are being planned by both Oxfordshire County and Oxford City Councils.

  • Due to the timescales involved, this page is designed to enable people to give 'fast feedback' on the bus gate proposals. 
  • We will consider amendments in response to feedback where possible before the bus gates are implemented.
  • If they are implemented, the bus gates may also be adjusted in response to feedback after they have been implemented.  Their temporary nature means they would be relatively quick and easy to amend.
  • The bus gates cannot and will not be made permanent without full public consultation.
  • The first six months after the temporary bus gates become operational would be a full and formal public consultation on the proposals. The response to this would be carefully considered as part of the democratic decision making process on the long-term arrangements for the bus gates.

The bus gates will help restart the city centre economy in safe way. By reducing traffic levels in the city centre and the routes into it, the bus gates will:

  • Enable safe walking and cycling conditions, in line with government instructions to all transport authorities, to provide an alternative to bus travel.
  • Ensure buses continue to be able to move around the city efficiently as traffic levels start to return to more normal levels. This will reduce waiting times, reduce crowding on buses, and reduce the amount of time people spend on buses. In conjunction with steps being taken by bus operators, this will make bus travel as ‘COVID-safe’ as possible.  This is important for economic recovery as around two-thirds of city centre shopping and leisure visitors came by bus before the start of the pandemic.
  • Retain some of the environmental benefits of lockdown, particularly reduced traffic levels and the resulting reduced noise and air pollution.

What exactly is being proposed?

Temporary bus gate proposals are being developed for three locations in Oxford city centre.  The exact locations have not yet been decided.  It is likely that only bus gates 1 & 2 would be implemented initially; bus gate 3 would be kept under review and may be implemented at a later date.

At the times of day when the bus gates are in operation (currently proposed to be 7.30am to 6.30pm 7 days a week), only the following vehicles would be allowed through them:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Vehicles in which a blue badge holder is travelling
  • Disabled tax class vehicles
  • Emergency services

We are considering exemptions to allow some residents and businesses access through the bus gates and would like your feedback on this.  We need to strike a balance between local access needs and traffic reduction.

What happens next?

  • You can give us your views via our 'fast feedback' survey. This isn't a standard consultation, and we can't allow the normal time for it, but the survey will give us valuable information which will inform decisions about the scheme. 
  • The temporary bus gates will be installed at the end of September at the earliest - because we propose to introduce the temporary bus gates using Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) powers, there would need to be a period of consultation and engagement with statutory stakeholders e.g. emergency services, bus operators etc.  This would take place before the final decision about whether to go ahead with the temporary bus gates .
  • The scheme timetable is of course subject to change in response to public feedback, changing government guidance or the local COVID-19 situation.

Timeline

  • Opened
    28 Jul 2020 at 11:00
  • Closed
    9 Aug 2020 at 23:59

Consultation Documents

Details

Contact Name Central Locality Team
Contact Email Address activetraveloxfordcity@Oxfordshire.gov.uk
Contact Phone Number 0345 310 1111

Consultation Topic
  • Economy & business
  • Environment & waste
  • Planning
  • Roads & transport
Geographical Area
  • Oxford City