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What Happens If I Don’t Pay Bus Lane Fine?

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Have you received a bus lane fine, and you’re unsure what to do? This is the right place to find out.

Every month, our website is visited by more than 130,000 people who want to understand fines and parking tickets.

In this article, we will help you to:

  • Understand a bus lane fine.
  • Decide if you need to pay your fine.
  • Learn how to appeal a bus lane fine.
  • Find out ways to avoid a bus lane fine.
  • Discover what happens if you ignore your fine.

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 rest assured, you’re not alone.

We know that getting a bus lane fine can make you feel frustrated. But don’t worry, we have lots of helpful advice and examples to guide you.

What should I do when I receive a bus lane charge?

You’ll get a charge notice from a council when you’re caught driving in a bus lane when you shouldn’t. In most instances, a council must send you the charge within 28 days of the alleged offence.

You get 28 days to pay a bus lane charge, although the amount is halved if you pay within 14 days.

Note: You can find out more about a charge notice issued by a specific council on the authority’s website.

Check out the message one motorist posted on a popular forum when they got a London bus lane fine.

Source: Moneysavingexpert

Who gets the charge notice for a bus lane offence?

A charge notice for a bus lane offence is sent to the vehicle’s registered owner.

The law states that even if someone else is at the wheel at the time of the offence, the registered owner has to pay.

Who can use bus lanes?

It depends on the region as to who can use bus lanes. However, the following vehicles may be allowed to drive in bus lanes:

  • Buses that have a minimum of 20 seats
  • Licensed cars for private use
  • Licensed taxis
  • Motorcycles providing there’s no sidecar
  • Mopeds
  • Scooters
  • Bicycles
  • Tricycles ‚Äì motorised under 450kg, non-motorised and without sidecars

What happens if I don’t appeal the bus lane charge?

You’ll be sent a Notice to Owner if you don’t appeal the bus lane charge as a reminder to pay the fine. When you don’t, you’ll receive a Charge Certificate and the charge amount increases by 50%.

How do I appeal a bus lane charge?

You have the right to appeal (make a representation) if you feel the charge is unfair or you did not commit an offence. You’ll typically have 28 days from the day of getting the fine to appeal.

Reasons why you might want to appeal a bus lane charge, include:

  • You were not the vehicle owner when the bus lane charge was issued. You must provide evidence which could be a copy of a DVLA registration document
  • The alleged offence never happened because the rules were not in force when you used the bus lane
  • Someone else drove your car without your consent when the alleged offence happened

Note: The information on how to appeal is on the charge notice the council sends you.

PCN Common Defenses

If you believe the PCN was unfairly issued, you have the right to appeal.

What happens after I appeal a bus lane charge?

A local council must assess your appeal.

Also, the council must let you know if they accept or reject your appeal.

You’re sent a ‘notice of rejection’ if a council does not accept your appeal. Plus, they’ll provide information on how to take an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

Note: You must pay the bus lane charge if you don’t want to take the matter further. Also, you may lose the right to pay a lower amount.

What happens if I don’t pay bus lane fine?

You’ll receive a reminder to pay the fine in the form of a Notice to Owner. If you still don’t pay, you’ll get a Charge Certificate.

My advice? You should pay or appeal a bus lane charge, but you should never ignore it.

The amount goes up by 50% when you’re late paying the fine. In short, you miss out on paying the lesser amount and end up paying double.

Plus, you could get a County Court Judgement on your credit history, making it harder to borrow money in the future.

Will I get a CCJ for a bus lane fine?

No. A bus lane fine in itself will not earn you a CCJ.

However, if you refuse to pay the fine and the court issues an Order to Pay and you don’t, a default will be registered on your credit file.

How much is a bus lane fine?

A bus lane fine outside of London will set you back £60. Paying the PCN early within 14 days, the charge is reduced by half to £30.

But if you miss the 28 day deadline to pay, the fine increases to £90.

In Greater London, a bus lane fine is £160 or £80 depending on the seriousness of the offence.

The fine is reduced by half when you pay within 14 days but it goes up by 50% if you don’t pay within 28 days.

What are the bus lanes rules?

According to the Highway Code (rule 141), bus lanes are indicated by signs and markings. These signs show whether other vehicles can use the bus lane.

My advice? Don’t drive in a bus lane unless a sign says you can when the lane it’s in operation.

However, you can enter a bus lane if you:

  • Want to stop
  • Load or unload items

However, you can do the above in a bus lane but only in places where it’s permitted.

Several local councils enforce bus lane rules. The authority typically uses cameras to detect when bus lane rules are broken. But not all local councils have the power to enforce the fines.

In some instances, the police issue fixed penalty notices to motorists instead.

Are there times when I can drive in a bus lane?

Yes, you could use a bus lane at specified times. But, if there are no signs saying you can use the bus lane, you cannot legally use it.

That said, in some regions, a bus lane can be used when:

  • There’s an obstruction or blockage along the road
  • An emergency vehicle needs to get by you
  • You need to avoid an accident
  • You want to drop off or pick up a passenger

But you must leave the bus lane as soon as possible when it is safe.

Note: In some areas, bus lanes operate 24 hours a day.

What happens if I don’t pay a bus lane charge?

When you don’t pay a bus lane charge, you’ll receive a Notice to Owner and the amount increases by 50%.

If you fail to pay the fine after this, it could be registered as a debt in court. In addition, you risk having bailiffs contacting you.

Will I get points on my licence?

No. Getting a bus lane fine won’t earn you any points on your driving licence and it won’t affect your motor insurance either.


  1. SkyNews – Parking Tickets Statistics


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