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Council and Police Fines
Bus Lane Fine

Understanding the Bus Lane Fine 20 Metre Rule

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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what is bus lane fine 20 meter rule

Do you want to know about the bus lane fine 20-metre rule? You’re in the right spot. This article is here to answer all your questions.

Every month, more than 130,000 people come to our website looking for advice about their fines and parking tickets, so you’re not alone. In fact, 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

In this article, we will cover:

  • What a bus lane is.
  • How much bus lane fines are in the UK.
  • The truth about the bus lane fine 20 metre rule.
  • Ways to avoid a bus lane fine.
  • How to appeal a bus lane fine.

Getting a bus lane fine can be upsetting. But don’t worry; we’re here to help. We have lots of helpful tips and examples to help you work through this.

We understand how you feel, and we’re here to make things easier for you. So, let’s get started.

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 is the bus lane fine 20 metre rule?

The bus lane fine 20-metre rule is a false rule that all motorists are allowed to enter a bus lane by mistake and exit it without getting fined.

Provided they travelled less than 20 metres in the bus lane. 

Many motorists believe this rule but it’s a myth.

One reason it isn’t true is that creating such a rule could cause dangerous driving.

If you find yourself in a bus lane by mistake, you should only exit the lane when it is safe to do so, which may not be within 20 metres of entering the lane.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

How many metres can you travel in a bus lane (UK)?

Entering a bus lane for any length of time can result in a Penalty Charge Notice.

The 20-metre bus lane rule is fictitious, so even entering briefly is considered a contravention. 

Also, be aware, there are accounts online of drivers receiving two bus lane fines for using a bus lane more than once on the same journey.

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 happens if you ignore the fine?

If you ignore a bus lane fine, the local authority will increase the fine by 50%.

So fines in London can increase to £240 or £90 in the majority of places outside the capital. 

If the newly increased fine goes unpaid by a new deadline, the authority can ask for the fine to be registered as a real debt.

Not paying a debt is serious, and the courts can grant permission for debt enforcement services to be used, namely bailiffs

I’ve included a message from one motorist who received a second payment demand showing the penalty had increased because they missed the deadline.

Source: Moneysavingexpert

How can you get out of it?

Paying a bus lane fine early to score a 50% reduction is a tempting plan, but you might be able to get out of the fine altogether. If you make a successful PCN appeal.

You have a right to appeal a bus lane fine within so many days, but there are limited excuses that can get you off the hook.

Because you only have to have entered the bus lane at all – purposefully or mistakenly – and because the event will be on camera, there aren’t too many excuses that can stop you from having to pay.

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

Get started

Reviews shown are for JustAnswer.

How much are the fines?

Bus lane fines in London cost £160 but are reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.

Bus lane fines across the rest of the UK vary but are considerably cheaper, typically £60 reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days. 

What happens if you get in a bus lane by mistake?

Driving in a bus lane fine on purpose or by mistake can get you a Penalty Charge Notice and you would have to pay.

Whether you get fined or not depends on whether the incident was caught on roadside CCTV

Do you get points for driving in a bus lane?

You won’t be subject to penalty points on your license for mistakenly driving in a bus lane.

Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the contravention negatively affecting your vehicle insurance premiums

Appeal excuses

Some excuses that could help you win a bus lane fine appeal are:

  1. Roadside signage was unclear, damaged or hidden
  2. You entered the bus lane to prevent a collision with another vehicle
  3. Your car was stolen

There’s a certain process that is typically followed when appealing a ticket. Here’s a quick table to help you understand it as clearly as possible.

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.

Quick recap

The bus lane fine 20 metre rule is a rule that you can use a bus lane for 20 metres or less without getting fined. 

But this isn’t true. 

You cannot use a bus lane at all during hours when the bus lane is operational. Even if you mistakenly enter the bus lane briefly, you can be fined.

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.