Can I be penalized for driving in a bus lane?

One driving lesson you may have forgotten is what to do when you hit a bus lane.

There are hundreds of these lanes all over the country, so it would be helpful to know rules for their use.

Cyclists can use the bus lanes, as well as motorbikes and taxis in some places


Cyclists can use the bus lanes, as well as motorbikes and taxis in some placesCredit: PA: Press Association

What is a bus lane?

Bus lanes are marked areas on public highways that can only be used by buses.

They are there to make sure that buses can pass through traffic and that public transport can continue to operate during peak hours.

Bus lanes are usually marked on the road and accompanied by signs.

This includes dedicated bus lanes – roads that are actually one giant bus lane.

Some are 24-hour bus lanes, which means cars cannot use them.

Transport for London has been testing the 24-hour bus lane since September 2020, which will end in March 2022.

The test will be reviewed before any changes to the bus lanes are made.

Others are just lanes for buses at certain times of the day, such as during morning and evening peak times – these are known as operating hours.

Driving in these lanes is not permitted during operating hours unless you are on a bus or another authorized vehicle.

Motorists who violate these rules can be fined.

Is it a criminal offense to drive on a bus lane?

Unlike a prohibited parking violation, driving in a bus lane may be subject to action by local authorities or the police.

Usually, the local authority – the council – will detect an incorrect bus lane and issue a penalty notice.

You will pay this civil “fine” to the local government or claim it using the local government website.

However, the police can issue a fixed penalty notice for the same offence.

This is a fixed penalty of non-confirmation, or FPN, that is part of the criminal justice system.

It is a crime of the same severity as driving with the wrong lights on.

You won’t get points on your driver’s license, even if you get a bus lane FPN from the police.

Even the shortest bus lanes could result in penalties as 7,800 drivers were found to have been charged for using the 39-foot lane between April 2019 and December 2021.

Who can use bus lanes?

It’s not surprising that you can use a bus lane if you’re driving a bus, the minimum requirement for a bus to be ten seats, including the driver.

If the bus lane has the word “local,” then you must be driving the bus on an official local route – which you probably know, if that’s what you’re doing.

Other vehicles that may normally use bus lanes include taxis – black taxis – and bicycles.

Privately hired taxis, Ubers and minibuses are often unable to use bus lanes during their operating hours.

Motorcycles and scooters can often use bus lanes, although sometimes this is restricted at certain times of the day.

You may enter the bus lane at any time and in any vehicle if directed by the police.

There have been calls for other vehicles are allowed to use the bus lane.

What is the penalty for driving in a bus lane?

Typical penalties for driving in a bus lane when you shouldn’t be around £60, or £160 in London.

You may be fined if you drive in the wrong 24-hour bus lane or enter the bus lane at the wrong time.

These penalties are usually halved if paid within two weeks.

You will not receive any penalty points on your driver’s license on the bus lane.

Have the right to appeal against fines but if you do not pay or appeal, the board will price increase sale 50%.

If you still don’t pay, you can register with the court without a trial and the council can collect debt with the sheriffs. Can I be penalized for driving in a bus lane?

Fry Electronics Team

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