Photo Gallery - Stockport A6 Bus Lanes

In September 2001, Stockport MBC implemented a bus priority scheme along the A6 Wellington Road North from Mersey Square to the Manchester boundary at Crossley Road, a distance of a little over two miles.

This scheme has been the subject of great local controversy, and official estimates are that it will improve average rush-hour bus journey times by less than a minute, while increasing car congestion by reducing traffic volumes through the town centre section.

Below are some pictures of the scheme and other features on the A6.

Before the inauguration of the bus lanes, countdown signs were displayed which were replaced (not always reliably) every day. Was this an appropriate use of taxpayers' money?

Southbound bus lane approaching the traffic lights by Debenhams at Mersey Square. The bus lane continues right up to the lights, meaning that only one lane of non-bus traffic will be able to pass through, which will inevitably result in long tailbacks.

Northbound bus lane at the junction of Heaton Road. Is this ten-yard section really necessary? And note how the left-hand lane has been marked with a left-turn arrow, even though bus lane schemes are meant to allow two lanes of non-bus traffic to pass through lights and merge again on the other side, and the bus lanes are in any case only operational for 30 hours out of 168.
The arrows were later changed to admit the possibility of traffic continuing straight ahead in the left-hand lane, as can be seen below:

This section of southbound bus lane at Belmont Bridge is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even though there are no buses whatsoever in the small hours. But is that immediately obvious from the sign, when most of the other sections are only operational during weekday peak hours? The intention is to "gate" the amount of traffic entering Stockport town centre, no doubt resulting in large tailbacks further north.
An additional sign was subsequently added here stating "At All Times", as shown below. Why didn't they think of that in the first place?

In May 2003, this prohibition as changed to restrict the lane to buses only between 7 am and 7 pm, seven days a week, which at least removes the problem of the bus lane being operational when there are no buses.

The A6 looking north by the junction of Warwick Road. This picture clearly shows the wide, straight nature of the road, and the amount of visual clutter resulting from the bus lane scheme. Should there be a left turn lane, as this is a well-used junction? A reversible Gatso is just visible in the middle distance.

The same viewpoint, with a long queue of rush hour traffic shortly after the bus lanes came into operation. This spot is more than half a mile from the next set of traffic lights, and the traffic would previously have been free-flowing here. The complete absence of buses is noteworthy.

Some time after the introduction of the bus lanes, the word "local" was added to the signs to make it clear that non-scheduled coaches and minibuses were not entitled to use them. Even though this picture was taken on a Sunday morning, most traffic is still keeping out of the bus lane.

Looking northwards towards the School Lane traffic lights. Even though the bus lanes are only operational for 30 hours a week, the left-hand lane has been marked out for left-turning traffic only, the sign saying that only buses may go straight ahead. Not surprisingly, outside the times when the bus lanes apply, this prohibition is routinely ignored.

The soutbound A6 viewed from the School Lane traffic lights. Local traders are extremely unhappy that the scheme has resulted in the removal of short-stay parking bays on the left at this point. The picture shows how the bus lane restarts only a very short distance after the junction.

Looking north towards the Chapel House pub from the junction of the A6 and Cambridge Road, in the middle of the morning rush hour. Further illustration of the congestion caused by the bus lanes. This is a short section without a northbound bus lane, resulting in two lanes of standing traffic waiting to merge into one. At least there are a couple of buses on this shot.

Looking south from the same point, showing the continuous queue of northbound traffic.

(last updated June 2003)

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