The gloucester road showcase bus lane is one of the prides of the Greater Bristol Bus Network. From 4:30 pm, you can't use the parking spaces along the road, as it is a bus lane.
On those rare days when this parking rules are enforced, its not only fast to cycle, buses can go down there quickly too. But those are the days when Bristol's three parking wardens are out somewhere other than the profit-earning city centre. Today, at 5:31 pm -rush hour- they aren't, and there are vehicles parked in both directions.
But if you look closely, there are people in them. Either it is last-minute shopping, or they are actually picking up people who work in the area.
The problem here is that it only takes a single parked/waiting car for the lane to be rendered useless. Bikes here have the easiest option, they just slide past. Or go down North Road, parallel to Gloucester Road, which, apart from the odd very-impatient car is fairly quiet. If you are happy to ignore a car right behind trying to intimidate you by revving its engine, it's a good route. But buses, both FirstBus and the U1/U2 UWE buses have less room to manoeuvre, literally. They get stuck behind the cars and have to wait to be allowed out. And if you are driving, you don't want a bus to pull out as they don't accelerate, stop for passengers and stop to give way to oncoming buses.
Which is why on evenings that the parking rules are enforced, Gloucester Road is faster to drive along than Kersteman Avenue: buses and bikes get their lane, cars have theirs -and the cars do not have to worry about buses in the other direction swinging into their path to get round a van that shouldn't be there.
Further up Gloucester Road, by Horfield Common, there's a traffic info board. It should flag whether or not parking rules are being enforced along the bus lane, so drivers can choose whether or not to turn into Kersteman Avenue.