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Council and Police Fines
Bus Lane Fine

How to Avoid Paying Bus Lane Fine – Things You Can Do UK

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 27th, 2024
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How to Avoid Paying Bus Lane Fine

Are you bothered by a bus lane fine and unsure what to do? This article is here to help. Every month, our website guides over 130,000 people in dealing with fines and parking tickets.

In this straightforward guide, we will explain:

  • What a bus lane fine is.
  • The rules of driving in a bus lane.
  • How to challenge a bus lane fine if you think it’s wrong.
  • The cost of bus lane fines in the UK.
  • What happens when you drive in a bus lane by mistake.

In 2021, Churchill Motor Insurance reported an 8% increase in penalty charge notices (PCNs) in Britain, with over 5.2 million issued.1

Receiving a bus lane fine can be frustrating. We understand this, and we’re here to help. We have lots of handy tips and examples to guide you through the process. So, don’t panic we’ve got your back. Let’s work this out together.

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.

What are the rules around driving in a bus lane?

The bus lanes always have blue and white signs indicating when they are open.

However, the hours that these lanes are open might vary greatly, so it is important that you check the specific bus lane restrictions before you enter one. The periods during which only buses are permitted to operate in the lanes are referred to as the “times of operation.”

Typically, the sign will indicate both a time period and the days of the week during which certain limits for vehicles that are not buses must be adhered to.

If no timings are displayed on the sign, then the lane is in use twenty-four hours a day, and unauthorised vehicles are not permitted to use it at any time.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Can taxis and bicycles use bus lanes?

Sometimes taxis, bicycles and motorcycles are allowed to use bus lanes, which will be shown on the bus lane sign.

However, when a sign states taxi drivers can use a bus lane, this only applies to licensed taxi drivers; private hire vehicles are not allowed (the designation of a licensed taxi varies across local councils. Some areas might refer to them as Hackney carriages).

How do you fight a bus lane camera ticket?

To contest a PCN, visit the website of the local authority that issued it, or follow the instructions on the PCN itself. If you decide to dispute the penalty, the cost of the fine will freeze until the case is resolved.

But if you wait until after 28 days to appeal your PCN, your appeal probably won’t be considered. You’ll have to pay the full amount without any early-settlement discount.

bus lane pcn appeal

In my experience, this does vary; some local councils may still consider appeals after this period, but each case and council can differ, so it is best to submit your appeal before the 28 days are up. Here’s what a typical appeal process looks like.

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.

Here you can see that this forum user on MoneySavingExpert has received a PCN for driving in a bus lane as they did not see the sign and is looking for advice on what to do.

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.

What if you drive in a bus lane by mistake?

Whether you did it on purpose or by accident, you may be subject to a penalty fine if you drove in a bus lane when it’s prohibited. This may be the case even if you did not realise you were breaking the law.

If you find yourself in a bus lane, you should make every effort to get out of there as fast and safely as possible and into an appropriate lane.

How is it detected that I drove in a bus lane?

If a camera detects a vehicle illegally driving, stopping or parking in a bus lane, it will automatically record some footage. Bus lane cameras use ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition).

When this footage is reviewed, if the traffic enforcement officers decide you’ve broken the law, they will look up your vehicle registration and send you a PCN.

How much are the fines?

The cost of a penalty charge notice for using a bus lane varies from one area to the next. For instance, a bus lane PCN in London may cost more than £100, whereas the average cost elsewhere is somewhere around £60.

However, keep in mind that if you pay the fine within the first 14 days, you will often receive a discount of at least half the amount.

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

Get started

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Do you get points for this?

No, you will not get points on your driving licence for driving in a bus lane in the UK, so you do not need to worry about any impact on insurance premiums.

What do I need to do if I get a bus lane fine?

If you are found driving in a bus lane when you are not supposed to, you will receive a penalty charge notice from the local council. You are required to receive the charge from the council no later than 28 calendar days after the purported offence.

A bus lane charge must be paid within 28 days, but the amount can be reduced in half if it is paid within the first 14 days.

How long does it take for the fine to come through?

In order to issue the bus lane fine, your local council has a period of 14 days, during which they can obtain your details from the DVLA and a total of 28 days to issue you with the PCN.

However, the time limit for serving the PCN is increased to six months if the DVLA takes an excessively long time to react with the information.

When can you drive in a bus lane UK?

It is essential to remember that if the bus lane sign does not state that there are periods when you can use it, then you are not permitted to do so.

To make matters even more complicated, there are areas in which certain bus lanes are open continuously, but in other areas, you are only permitted to use them during specific periods of the day.

This is why you need to check the signage before driving in a bus lane. This is especially important when you are driving in a new area that is unfamiliar to you.

If the bus lane does not allow other vehicles generally, the following are possible exceptions to UK bus lane rules when it may be allowed; however, you could still receive a PCN:

  • The route is blocked or obstructed in any way.
  • In the event that there is an incoming emergency vehicle
  • To avoid an accident
  • To pick up or set down a passenger 

If you do any of these things and end up entering a bus lane, you need to make sure that you exit the lane as soon as it is safe to do so. The way I see it, if you can possibly avoid entering a bus lane at all when it is not permitted, then you should do so.

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. Direct Line Group — Parking Fines 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.