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Council and Police Fines
Bus Lane Fine

Should I Pay or Appeal a Bus Lane Fine?

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd

Scott Nelson

Debt Expert

Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.

Learn more about Scott
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

Learn more about Janine
· May 29th, 2024
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Pay or Appeal a Bus Lane Fine

Have you received a bus lane fine and are wondering whether to pay it or appeal? You’re in the right place. Every month, more than 130,000 people come to our website for advice on fines and parking tickets just like yours.

In this article, we’ll guide you through:

  • What a bus lane fine is.
  • Whether you have to pay it.
  • How to appeal a bus lane fine.
  • Ways to avoid a bus lane fine in future.
  • What happens if you decide not to pay.

Churchill Motor Insurance reports that in 2022, UK councils issued an average of 19,631 daily parking fines, a 12% increase from the previous year.1 So you’re definitely not alone.

Don’t worry; we have plenty of useful advice and examples to help you understand what to do next.

Most Appeals Succeed

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your bus lane fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor feeds, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

*Around 35,000 people dispute their tickets each year with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, and a striking 64% of those appeals are successful, so it’s well worth a try.

How much is a bus lane fine?

The fine for driving in a bus lane is £70 for most parts of the UK, while London bus lane fines are £130. However, they can vary between £60 and £160. 

If the fine is paid within 14 days, or 21 days in some cases, you can benefit from a 50% discount.

Making your fine £35 for most places and £65 for London

How do they know when someone drives in a bus lane?

When bus lanes were first implemented, keeping other traffic from using them was difficult.

Over time more local authorities added CCTV to monitor bus lanes.

Some of the CCTV are mobile and others only operate during the hours the bus lane is meant to be bus-only. Whereas, others are in action 24/7

The camera usually captures about 8 seconds of footage, which traffic enforcement officers review. 

Are the fines a criminal offence? 

A bus lane fine is a civil matter and not a criminal offence.

However, when the matter is not dealt with by paying or appealing the fine, there is the possibility that it can be escalated, and prosecution may occur

What other consequences are there?

You will only get a Penalty Charge Notice for driving in a bus lane.

You won’t receive penalty points on your licence and won’t have to worry about paying more for your motor insurance.

Successful Appeal Case Study


Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.

Can I avoid a bus lane fine if it was a first-time offence? 

In September 2020, it was announced that motorists that stray into the bus lane by mistake, and it was a first-time issue, could avoid being fined.

The government recommended that councils issue warnings first rather than fines.

However, if it happens again, the driver will get a PCN

This was to be fairer to drivers who perhaps did not know the city and those who made a genuine mistake. 

How do you pay?

A bus lane fine must be paid to the council that issued it.

For example, if you live in Birmingham but drive in a bus lane in London, you will receive a PCN from London City. 

It is important that you read your PCN carefully, as it will outline all of the ways you can pay.

Many councils accept payment for PCNs on their websites. However, often it can be done via the post or an automated telephone line

No matter how you choose to pay, you will need the following: 

  • The unique PCN reference found on your notice
  • Your vehicle registration number
  • The card that you wish to pay with (alternatively, when paying by post, you’ll need to send a cheque or a postal order)

Do not pay your bus lane fine if you intend to appeal.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

How do the appeals work?

You should appeal your bus lane fine within 28 days.

To appeal the bus lane PCN, you must use the challenge process outlined on the council website that issued the fine. 

It is best to provide as much evidence as possible when you want to appeal a fine. 

When you check your PCN information online, you might be shown photographic evidence of the offence, sometimes not.

A couple of reasons would be considered valid by the council as grounds for an appeal. 

  • The council did not issue the PCN within the allocated 28 days (extenuating circumstances might be when the DVLA take too long to give them the information).
  • There was an accident on the regular road, and you were moving around it.
  • You were in the bus lane at a valid time.
  • The signage for the bus lane was worn off the road, and there were no other signs.

You can use this great template to help you make your appeal: PCN Appeal Letter Template – Free Sample.

If you appeal and are rejected and disagree with the decision, you can take your case to an independent tribunal

Appeal Process Steps

To help you better understand the appeal process, I’ve put together this table.

If you want to learn more about Penalty Charge Notices, be sure to read our complete guide.

Process: Steps you should take:
When you receive the ticket… You should gather as much evidence as you can to support your appeal claim and prove that the ticket was unfairly issued.
If you were given the ticket in person/attached to your car… You must make an informal appeal (sent to the local authority/council that issued the PCN) within 14 days. This should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If it was posted to you… You will be given 21 days to submit an informal appeal (from the day you received the letter). Your informal appeal should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If the informal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice to Owner and will have 28 days to respond to this with a formal appeal. You can conduct the formal appeal online or via paper form. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal can send you one of these forms.
If the formal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice of Rejection. From here, you are free to challenge the council’s verdict at an independent tribunal.
If the independent tribunal disagrees with your appeal… You should pay the ticket within 28 days of the tribunal rejecting your appeal. If you don’t, the fine will be increased by 50%.
If you don’t have the money to pay the fine, you should contact Citizens Advice or another debt charity.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

Get started

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Can I ignore the fine?  

No, you cannot ignore a PCN issued for bus lane offences, parking offences, or any other infringement.

PCNs demand action of either payment or appeal. 

If you ignore the initial fine, then the council that issued it is within its rights to increase the fine, and over time this can be handed to courts, and enforcement officers might be contracted to recover the debt

Ignoring a fine like this can mean that the council put a  CCJ against you, which will show up on your credit rating

Quick recap

Paying or appealing your bus lane fine will come down to your personal circumstances. 

Many prefer to take advantage of the 50% early-repayment discount and have the fine dealt with as quickly as possible. 

If you have grounds for appeal, like those mentioned above, you might want to consider an appeal. 

Check out my packed information pages for more information about Parking Fines, how to deal with PCNs, and even the best list of excuses to appeal a parking PCN and debt advice. 

Hire a Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your bus lane fine then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.

Try it below

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.


  1. SkyNews – Parking Tickets Statistics 
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Appeals Expert
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.