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Council and Police Fines
Bus Lane Fine

How Long Does a Council Have to Issue 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 26th, 2024
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how long council issue bus lane fine

Have you been fined for driving in a bus lane and are unsure what to do next? We’re here to help. This article will clear up your doubts and guide you on your next steps.

Each month, we help more than 130,000 people to understand bus fines and parking tickets better. It’s a common issue, and we’re here, ready with the information you need.

In this article, we’ll cover these key points:

  • What is a bus lane fine?
  • Do you need to pay for driving in a bus lane?
  • How can you challenge a bus lane fine?
  • Tips on avoiding bus lane fines in the future
  • What happens if you ignore the fine?

We understand that getting a bus lane fine can be frustrating, especially with how common the issue has become. 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

But don’t worry; we’ve got the expertise to guide you through the process. We’re here to build a bridge of understanding and provide you with clear, simple advice.

Let’s dive in and sort out your bus lane fine issue.

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 long does council have to issue the fine?

In most situations, the council has up to 28 days to issue you a bus lane fine. Although this timeframe might be extended if they have requested your address within 14 days and the DVLA has been slow to respond. 

If 28 days pass and you haven’t received the Penalty Charge, you might be off the hook. 

Steps to take after receiving a bus lane PCN

You have 28 days to pay or appeal a bus lane fine.

You could pay the fine within 14 days and get a 50% discount by following the payment process indicated on the penalty charge notice.

Alternatively, you could appeal the fine within 14 days by following the appeal’s process indicated on the notice you received.

Like this, if the issuer rejects your appeal, you could still pay 50% less.

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.

How do you get out of a bus lane fine?

The only way to get out of a bus lane fine is to successfully appeal the fine. When a Penalty Charge Notice is appealed and the council agrees, the fine is cancelled and you don’t have to pay. An appeal must be made by a set deadline and you cannot appeal if you have already paid. 

To make things clearer, here’s a quick table summarizing the most important aspects of an appeal.

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.

Ignoring a bus lane fine is never a good idea. The council can increase the fine by 50% and then have it registered as a debt with the court. The court can then order you to pay or grant permission for the council to use enforcement officers, who will come to your home and may seize your goods to be sold.


Good excuses to appeal a bus lane PCN

It can be hard to successfully appeal a bus lane fine because the council will have camera footage of you entering the bus lane. However, there are some excuses that could win you an appeal if true, such as:

  1. Signage was missing, unclear, broken, or hidden
  2. You only used the bus lane to let an ambulance pass
  3. You only used the bus lane to avoid a road collision

You may have to prove any excuses you use.

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

Get started

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Consequences of ignoring it

The issuer sends you a Charge Certificate when you ignore a bus lane fine and refuse to pay it.

After this, if you still don’t contact the issuer and pay the fine, they will ask the court to issue an Order of Recovery.

The fine is registered as a debt and will appear on your credit file.

You’d have to deal with enforcement officers (bailiffs) who could visit your home to recover the outstanding amount.

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

A bus lane fine should be received within a couple of weeks. The speed of the process somewhat hinges on how fast the DVLA supplies the vehicle owner’s address to the local authority. 

Check out what happened to one motorist who received a London bus lane fine 2 months after an alleged offence.

Source: Moneysavingexpert

How much does a bus lane Penalty Charge cost?

The cost of a bus lane fine differs between locations. For much of the UK, the fine is £60 reduced to £30 if paid within the first 14 days. But in Greater London, a bus lane fine is much more expensive. 

You can expect to pay as much as £160 for wrongfully using a bus lane in London. However, the fine is also reduced by 50% to £80 if paid within 14 days. 

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

You can still be served with a bus lane fine for driving in a bus lane by mistake. As soon as you enter the bus lane you’ve committed a contravention and can be fined.

If you find yourself in a bus lane by mistake, exit the lane as soon as it is safe to do so. You might not be able to exit the bus lane immediately without putting yourself and other motorists at risk.

Do you get points for driving in a bus lane in the UK?

No, you cannot be given penalty points on your driving license for using a bus lane when you’re not supposed to. You can only be issued a bus lane fine from the council. 

Quick recap

The council must send the Penalty Charge Notice bus lane fine to the vehicle owner within 28 in most cases.

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.