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Manchester Bus Lane Fine – Pay or Appeal?

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Have you received a Manchester bus lane fine and are unsure whether to pay it or challenge it?

You’ve come to the right place for answers. Each month, over 130,000 people visit our website for advice on fines and parking tickets, so you’re not alone in this situation.

We’re here to clearly explain:

  • The definition of a bus lane fine.
  • Whether you’re required to pay Manchester bus lane penalty fines.
  • Steps to appeal a Manchester bus lane fine.
  • Tips to help you avoid future bus lane fines.
  • What could happen if you decide to ignore the fine.

In 2021, Churchill Motor Insurance reported an 8% increase in penalty charge notices in Britain, with over 5.2 million issued.1 So you’re definitely not alone.

Don’t worry; we’re here to help guide you through the process and make your options clearer.

When can I drive in a bus lane in Manchester?

Some bus lanes are always in effect, preventing the entry of any unauthorised vehicle at all times. However, some other bus lanes are only operational during certain hours or on certain days.†

Nearby road signs should state when the bus lane is in use.

If no signs give this information, it’s best to assume it always functions as a bus lane.†

The purpose of bus lanes and bus lane regulations is to†help public transport and some road users avoid congestion. This†allows public transport timetables to remain accurate and reliable†for its users.††

How much is the fine for driving in a bus lane in Manchester?

A Manchester Council bus lane fine will cost the vehicle keeper £60, but the fine is reduced to £30 when a payment is made within 14 days.

You have a total of 28 days to pay or make a bus lane fine appeal, or the fine will increase.†You can pay your fine online via Manchester City Council.

Traffic fines in Manchester are similar to other places in the UK, outside of London. Inside the capital, these fines are much more expensive – £160 but reduced to £80 if paid within two weeks. 

What happens if you ignore a Manchester bus lane fine?

If you ignore a Manchester bus lane fine and it goes unpaid or unchallenged by the deadline, Manchester City Council can increase the fine by 50% and give a new deadline to pay.

If that deadline is also missed, the council will have the fine registered as a debt in court, and a court order will be served to make you pay.

Ignoring a court order can result in the council employing bailiffs to recover the money or seize goods to be sold and clear the debt.

When bailiffs get involved, the amount you owe goes up by a considerable amount.†

The way I see it, you should pay your fine as early as possible (unless you plan to appeal) to avoid the consequences of unpaid traffic fines.

Manchester bus lane fine appeal excuses

Although difficult, it’s not impossible to win a bus lane appeal against Manchester City Council. Some of the reasons for contesting a bus lane fine in Manchester – if true – that could get your fine cancelled are:

  1. Road signs telling you when the bus lane is operational were damaged or hidden (possibly by bushes).
  2. You only moved into the bus lane to avoid a collision with another vehicle or person
  3. You only moved into the bus lane so you could make room for emergency services to pass
  4. Your vehicle has been stolen

Some excuses could be verified with the roadside camera footage, such as letting an ambulance pass.

Other valid reasons for bus lane appeals may require you to supply evidence, such as photographs or dashcam footage, a crime report for your stolen car or receipts showing when your car was bought or sold, and witness statements.

Here you can see that this forum user on†MoneySavingExpert†has received a PCN for driving in a bus lane in Manchester as they did not see the sign and is looking for advice on whether they should appeal or not.

Appeal process steps

Now that you know the different excuses that can help you challenge your bus lane fine, it’s crucial to understand all the steps of the appeal process. That’s why I’ve put together this table.

If you want to learn more about your PCN, be sure to read our detailed guide.

What happens after you appeal Manchester City Council Parking Fines?

If you choose to appeal and it is successful then your fine will be cancelled which will be confirmed via email or letter (depending on how you appealed).

If your appeal is rejected, Manchester Council allow 14 days from the date of their response to pay the reduced charge of £30.

At this point you can choose to appeal online to the†Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) and you will no longer be offered the opportunity to pay the reduced fine of £30.

The TPT is an independent organisation for all of England and Wales. A lawyer will examine your case and any decision that is made is final and binding.

Manchester bus lane fine – pay or appeal?

Due to the limited possible excuses to get you out of a bus lane fine, you should only appeal when you have a legitimate excuse that is likely to be accepted.

Moreover, you should only appeal if you can evidence your claims (when required).†

Sometimes a successful appeal won’t be possible because you simply made a mistake. In these cases, it is better to pay but to pay quickly.

Remember that you can save 50% of the fine (£30) by paying within 14 days.†

How can I contact Manchester City Council about my PCN?

If you want to contact Manchester City Council about your PCN you can phone the Manchester City Council helpline on: 0161 234 5000.


  1. Direct Line Group — Parking Fines Statistics


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