More than 3.4 million drivers in 20 of the UK’s largest cities have received fines for using bus lanes


According to a new investigation, since 2015 drivers in the UK have been handed out over one million Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) worth £68 million for driving in bus lanes.

More than 3.4 million drivers in 20 of the UK’s largest cities have received fines for using bus lanes between 2015 and 2017 and according to the RAC these are worth about £200 million overall.

It may comes as no surprise to discover that London is where the most fines are issued to motorists for driving in bus lanes during restricted hours, however the report has found that PCNs for this road offence are on the increase across the rest of the country.

Ever received a fine for driving in a bus lane?

More than 3.4 million drivers in 20 of the UK’s largest cities have received fines for using bus lanes © Copyright Martin Addison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


The RAC sent Freedom of Information requests to councils in London and other city councils throughout the UK. They discovered that 3,437,348 PCNs had been handed out to drivers for using the bus lanes during restricted times between 2015 and 2017.

In London, the fine for driving in a bus lane is £160, reduced to £80 if you pay early, whereas in other cities offenders must pay a £60 fine – the automotive services company estimates the overall bill for motorists came to £200 million!

It looks as though the clampdown on bus lane abuse has been increasing throughout the whole of the UK within this time period. Council figures suggest a 5% increase in the number of PCNs being issued for driving in a bus lane in London, whilst PCNs for the offence has risen by 9% in cities outside of the capital within the same timeframe.

According to the RAC, the increase of PCNs being issued for the offence could be down to the fact that motorists have’t been given enough information regarding the use of bus lanes, as well as not being clear enough signage to show drivers when they can or can’t use the lanes.

For this reason, the RAC would like a national review of the signs currently being used which show the operating hours and possibly the introduction of ‘smart bus lanes’, which will clearly show drivers when they can or can’t enter the lanes in their vehicle.

“The sheer quantity of fines – more than a million every year – suggests something is awry and we don’t believe the vast majority are knowingly breaking the rules,” said RAC spokesman Simon Williams.

“While there is clearly no defence for deliberately driving in a bus lane, we believe more can be done to make it obvious to drivers when they can and can’t drive in one,” added Mr Williams.

Collectively, the number of PCNs handed out between 2015 and 2017 by councils in London was 994,473 – nearly three times more than any other city in the UK.

Manchester City Council issued the second highest PCNs between these dates – 352,688, whilst Glasgow City Council came a close third with 339,402 notices issued between 2015 and 2017, however it was one of the councils who reported a drop in the number of fines being handed out over the three years.

Back in 2015, only 1,287 PCNs were issued in Manchester to drivers for using the bus lanes in restricted hours. The city has 19 miles of bus lanes. This figure jumped up to 31,768 in 2017 – a massive increase of 2,368%!


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