How to Correctly Use a Bus Lane

Used to separate traffic and to improve the flow.

Do you find yourself constantly receiving fines for not correctly using a bus lane, but you weren’t aware that it even was one? Well, we’re here today to make sure you’re not only able to spot one, but also how to correctly use a busy lane.
How do I spot a bus lane? It’s simple! Bus lanes are distinguished by their dashed white lines or a solid white line. Additionally, it will include “bus lane” along the road.
  • When you see a solid white line, this is used to outline the edge of the bus lane – you should never cross this whilst it is in operation.
  • Now when you see the dashed white lines, this is used to display the beginning and end of the lanes, whilst also pointing out where vehicles can cross into it.
When can I use a bus lane? Taking your safety into consideration if it is outside of the bus lane’s operational hours, you are free to use it. This is a benefit to the flow of traffic, as it eases congestion because it frees up another lane for other vehicles.
When can’t I use a bus lane? When you see a bus lane, it will have blue signage stating the times of operation – bear in mind, these can vary from road to road.
On the sign, it will include information showing a time and the days of the week when restrictions for non-buses are being observed. They may also include two sets of times e.g. Mon-Fri 6:50 – 10:50am, 1:00 – 4:45pm.
However, if there are no times displayed on the sign given, this means that it is being used on a 24-hour basis.

Can I use a bus lane? This is dependable upon what type of bus lane it is; some are reserved just for buses (it is required as a minimum to have 10 seats including the driver) and individual signs will be signposted to display what other road users are able to drive in them.
Here is a list of the following vehicles which can use bus lanes at indicated times if they’re shown on the sign:
  • Licensed London Taxis
  • Motorcycles
  • Mopeds
  • Scooters
  • Tricycles
  • Bicycles
What will happen if I do cross into a bus lane? Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to move into a bus lane. These may be occasions where you feel that you must drive into the lane when you have no other choice but to move; to move out of the path of an emergency vehicle, to avoid an accident or to avoid an obstruction in the road.

If you do have to enter a bus lane, make sure you leave it as soon as possible when it is safe to do so.
What penalty will I receive if I use a bus lane? This lane is increasingly monitored by CCTV to record any unauthorised vehicle driving or parking within the operational area, whilst also checking if it had been used in the specific incident, like avoiding an accident.
If you have been caught using a bus lane, you may be liable to pay a penalty charge notice (PCN) - this will be sent to the registered vehicle keeper. The amount charged will depend on the area of the country you were caught. If it’s in the capital and its Congestion Charge zone, this could be considerably more.
  • Inside Greater London: a full fine is £160, but if paid within 14 days it is £80.
  • Outsider Great London: a full fine is £65, but if paid within 14 days it is £30.​
How do I appeal a bus lane violation? If you feel that you have been wrongfully accused of this violation, then you are able to appeal the notice on the following grounds:
  • The contravention didn’t occur
  • The charge is more than the relevant amount
  • A Fixed Penalty Notice had already been issued
  • You are not the registered owner/hirer
  • The vehicle was being hired out to someone who had signed a statement of liability
  • It was being kept by a motor trader
  • The vehicle was being used without consent.

To conclude, we hope you now know how to correctly use a bus lane – as these are a great benefit to improve traffic congestion, but also improve bus service reliability.
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