Covid-19: Travelling in the city

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has significantly changed the way people are using roads and public spaces in Brighton and Hove. We have seen an increase in the number of people cycling for pleasure and exercise, fewer journeys are being made by car and more of us are choosing to walk, rather than drive short distances. 

Active travel is playing an important role in helping people get around the city whilst maintaining physical distance and avoiding overcrowding on public transport. We are taking bold and swift action to support walking and cycling as much as possible during the pandemic and as restrictions on movement ease. 

On 14 May councillors approved a transport action plan including changes that will support the city to recover in the short, medium and long-term.

The key principles are:

  • helping vulnerable people in the city
  • making essential journeys safer
  • supporting the local economy
  • ensuring the transition to a Carbon Neutral city by 2030

By reallocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists we hope to embed new commuting habits and reap the health, air quality and congestion benefits for the city as a whole. 

Further plans for longer-term improvements are being developed as part of an interim Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan that will be reviewed by Councillors on 23 June.

In June the Council was awarded more than £650,000 by the Department for Transport to deliver urgent changes that will support active travel in the city. You can find out how this will be spent by reading the bid we submitted to the Department for Transport

Tell us what you think about these changes

We welcome feedback on the temporary changes as they are implemented. If you want to share your views, please complete our online survey. 

Some of the changes also require Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders that introduce new traffic restrictions. Details of the Orders must legally be advertised for 6 months and you can comment on the proposed restrictions during this time.

Your feedback will be considered by councillors when they determine whether the Orders should remain in place or be changed.   

Future active travel changes

Further changes have been identified following the development of an Interim Covid-19 Response Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (Interim LCWIP). The plan was commissioned by the Policy and Resources Urgency Sub-Committee on 14 May and agreed at the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on 23 June. 

An updated transport action plan was also agreed to support the delivery of the Interim LCWIP and plans for the following additional temporary changes are now being developed:

  • on-road cycle lane improvements along the A259 from the Palace Pier roundabout to the West Sussex boundary
  • improved cycling facilities along the A259 Marine Parade
  • increasing the length of the A259 bus lane (Roedean Road to Ovingdean roundabout, eastbound) so that public transport is not delayed, encouraging greater use
  • options for a cycle lane along Boundary Road/Station Road
  • a two-way cycle lane on the A23 Preston Road between Dyke Road Drive and Argyle Road and improvements to other cycle links along the A23
  • a protected cycle lane between the A23 and Cheapside, connecting Valley Gardens with the National Cycle Network (NCN20)
  • increased cycle parking in the Valley Gardens area and 6 new BikeShare hubs across the city
  • installation of temporary cycle parking, such as railings and gates, across the city
  • improved signing on Basin Road South to address cycle safety concerns
  • citywide capping of signal timings to reduce cycle times and wait times for pedestrians
  • changing some advisory cycle lanes to mandatory cycle lanes, for example Lewes Road
  • restricting access to roads to support physical distancing and local businesses
  • widening pavements to provide more walking space for pedestrians - for example the Clock Tower to Montpelier Road
  • providing more walking space for pedestrians in shopping areas by removing traffic - for example southbound traffic on part of Queens Road
  • a School Streets Programme for timed road closures to support the safe reopening of all primary and nursery schools
  • a pilot Low Traffic Neighbourhood in the Hanover area

Public transport

The council’s Public Health team have been advising public transport providers in the city on how they can effectively manage and reduce the risk of illnesses spreading.

Staff have been given information and advice on how they can take the same precautions as the public in reducing the spread of illnesses. Buses and taxis are regularly cleaned.

The council will continue to support our public transport providers.

Find guidance for staff in the transport sector.


Brighton & Hove Buses has increased further in response to easing of movement restrictions and more people returning to work. You can view their new timetables on their website.

Passengers are being asked to follow travel guidance and, if possible, use contactless forms of payment or carry exact change.

Concessionary bus travel extension

24hr concessionary bus travel now available for disabled people and has been extended during the pandemic to include older people. This was introduced early on during lockdown to support passengers who may need to get to the shops early to buy essential items.

You can find out more about concessionary travel and apply for a disabled or older person’s buss pass by visiting our Blue Badge and Concessionary Travel Team webpage.


Find the latest advice and information from Southern Railway

The situation is changing all the time and transport providers are advised to check information on the government website is the latest update available. 

Madeira Drive walking and cycling space

The full length of Madeira Drive from the Palace Pier roundabout is temporarily closed to motor vehicles to provide more open space for pedestrians and cyclists to travel and exercise safely during lockdown.

Stewards control access to the road from the top of Duke’s Mound from 8am to 8pm daily, to ensure only businesses have essential access to properties. A temporary road block at other end of the road prevents vehicles from entering.

Old Shoreham Road (A270) temporary cycle lanes

Road space on both sides of the A270 – Old Shoreham Road, from its junction with Hangleton Road to The Drive, is temporarily allocated to cyclists. The temporary cycle lanes run along a 1.7 mile stretch and provide a major cycling link to the west of the city, where access to cycling facilities is currently very limited. The cycle lanes connect with the existing cycle network running to Dyke Road and the seafront.

Flexible plastic wands have been installed to ensure that there is a physical barrier between cyclists and other traffic on the road. Temporary cycle lane signs and road markings along the route make road users aware of the change.

Traffic controls are in place at Hove Waste & Recycling Centre along this stretch of Old Shoreham Road, to manage capacity and safety. Vehicles are only able queue on the site access road to keep traffic flowing on the main road. Stewards are positioned at the site entrance to manage queueing and will ask drivers to return at less busy times if necessary.

You can find more information about the city’s Waste & Recycling Centres on the recycling webpages.

Old Shoreham Road signage

Signing along the seafront and the Undercliff path

The demand for walking and cycling along the seafront and undercliff path has significantly increased during lockdown, as people have taken the opportunity to use this popular route for their daily exercise and to travel actively.

To help manage congestion at these locations, additional temporary signs have been installed.

Moveable, electronically-controlled signs and floor markings remind people not to cycle along the promenade and to share the busy seafront routes responsibly and safely.

Undercliff signage

Pavement widening to support physical distancing

Pavements in various locations across Brighton and Hove have been temporarily widened to provide additional footway space for pedestrians to pass one another safely, including around customers queuing outside shops.

Pavement widening at the following busy locations have been prioritised:

  • Western Road – the bus stop outside Waitrose has been temporarily moved to the east to widen the pavement, and bus operator staff will be present between Marks & Spencer and Imperial Arcade to manage queues at the bus stops.
  • Church Road / Tisbury Road, Hove - the Hove Town Hall bus stop outside NatWest has been relocated to Tisbury Road to widen pavement space on Church Road.
  • St Andrews Church, Hove – the pavement has been widened to help pedestrians maintain physical distancing around the bus stop.
  • St James Street – parking and loading spaces have been temporarily suspended to widen the pavement near Morrisons and further along the street.
  • London Road – bus stops near to Aldi have been relocated further along the road and parking spaces temporarily suspended to widen the pavement.
  • The Old Town – parking spaces in areas of the Old Town have been temporarily suspended to widen pavement space, although access for businesses, taxis and disabled badge holders is still permitted.

In addition, traffic restrictions in busier shopping areas of the city, such as North Laine and the Old Town, are also being implemented. These changes require Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders that must legally be advertised for six months. You can comment on the proposed restrictions during this period and your feedback will be considered by councillors when they determine whether the restrictions should remain in place or be changed.

Signing across the city centre

Floor markings, temporary signs and banners reminding people to ‘Give Space Keep Safe’ have been placed across the city to encourage people to maintain physical distancing.

Give space, keep safe poster

Cycle Hire

Brighton & Hove has a well-established BikeShare scheme with 69 cycle hire hubs around the city. Demand for this scheme is increasing as people are choosing more active ways to travel during the pandemic. Additional cycle hubs are being created to support this increase in demand.

During the pandemic the BTN BikeShare scheme has been made available for free to NHS staff and council-contracted care staff working in Brighton & Hove, as they are supporting some of the vulnerable people living in the city.

The free BikeShare scheme for NHS workers is now fully subscribed. Care contractor staff working for Brighton & Hove City Council can still contact their lead commissioner or manager to access a free pass. From September nursery and school staff will also be offered discounted access to the BikeShare scheme. Further information will be available nearer the time.

Enhanced cleaning of the BikeShare bikes is helping to minimise any possible spread of Covid-19. Additional cleaning and maintenance of the scheme’s 600 bikes takes place on the five busiest days of the week, and the busiest cycle hubs are prioritised.

Customers are also being encouraged to wear protective gloves if they wish to, avoid touching their faces or eyes while riding, and to wash their hands thoroughly before and after use. Riders should practice social distancing from pedestrians and others on shared routes and cycle lanes.

Man on BTN BikeShare bike

Public spaces

You should make sure you are following the latest government guidance on when to self isolate (stay at home) to help to prevent the virus spreading. 

What to do if you become unwell in a public space

If you become unwell with possible coronavirus when you're out and about, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Follow advice on self-isolation (staying at home) if symptoms are mild or call NHS 111 if symptoms are severe

You can find the answers to more common questions about Coronavirus from NHS.UK.

Wellbeing in public spaces

We understand that some people may be concerned about being in public spaces where people who have been confirmed of having COVID-19 have been. Public Health England are taking all necessary steps to prevent the spread of illness.

Travel help for people looking for work

If you live in Portslade, Hove, central or east Brighton and are currently looking for work, we can support you with your travel. This includes up to £300 worth while looking for work and when you find a job. We can help:

  • fix your current bike or help you buy one
  • pay bus or train costs in your first month of paid work

For more information, send your postcode to:


phone: 07876 394 865

This offer ends February 2021.

A259 temporary on-road cycle lane

The pathway and cycle lanes on the seafront are under increasing pressure as people exercise, walk and cycle more during the Covid-19 pandemic. This makes it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to keep physical distance.

To reduce this pressure we’ll introduce a temporary cycle lane on the road between the Palace Pier roundabout and the western boundary of the City. This will be delivered in two phases, the first in the first two weeks of August and the second later in the summer.

  • a new temporary on-road westbound cycle lane will be implemented in the nearside traffic lane between the Palace Pier roundabout and Fourth Avenue, Hove
  • the cycle lane will be up to 3m wide to accommodate all types of cycles including adapted and passenger carrying cycles, as well as families travelling together. The cycle lane will also be lightly segregated using plastic bollards and barriers. This is a requirement of the funding from the Department for Transport but will also protect the cycle lane from illegal parking and improve the safety for cyclists
  • eastbound cyclists will continue to use the existing footway cycle lane
  • as much parking as possible on the southern side of the road will be retained but there will be an overall loss of 60% of the available spaces within Phase 1. Parking bays that are retained will be offset from the kerb to ensure the cycle lane is uninterrupted
  • all parking on the north side of the road will remain unchanged
  • all existing disabled bays will be retained although some will be offset from the kerb with additional space provided on either side of the bays and new facilities to ensure additional safety and access at these locations
  • 'No loading/unloading at any time’ restrictions will be introduced on the south side of Grand Junction Road, King’s Road and Kingsway and we will reinstate double yellow lines on sections of the cycle lane where parking bays have been offset.
  • existing bus stops for the No. 77 Breeze service will be retained. For up-to-date information on bus frequencies for this service please visit their website.
  • all existing signal-controlled pedestrian crossings will remain and cyclists will be required to stop at the stop lines in the same way as all vehicles
  • we expect that this reallocation of road space will help to reduce vehicle speeds along this route for the benefit of all users, however this will be closely monitored.

You will be able to feedback your views on this new temporary cycle lane once the works are complete.