'New Fines War On Bus Lane Drivers' cries Evening Standard

 by Martin Belam, 13 January 2004

Before the death of Harold Shipman knocked it off the front page for later editions, today's Evening Standard was leading with the headline "New Fines War On Bus Lane Drivers". The article, dubbed an exclusive, by the paper's Local Government Correspondent Ross Lydall, revealed that:

Fine for drivers caught in London bus lanes have soared by almost 50 per cent in 12 months

By which, judging from the figures quoted, I believe he means that the volume of fines issued, not the monetary value of the fines themselves, have gone up. Lydall's article continues

...the surge in penalties is certain to re-ignite the argument over a war "war on motorists" who are being repeatedly used to raise revenue...The bus lane fines could net authorities up to £33 million for 2002-03

Well I'd argue that you are bound to re-ignite this "war" if you are the people using the phrase in your banner headlines. And I would also argue that there wouldn't be a "war" on bus lane drivers, or any revenue at all for local councils, if people weren't driving in the bus lanes.

There is something I just don't fundamentally get about motorists complaining when they get fined for being caught breaking the law. If you don't want to get fined for not having renewed your motor tax, then renew your motor tax. If you don't want to get fined for being caught by a speed camera, then drive within the speed limit. And if you don't want to get embroiled in London's "fines war on bus lane drivers", then don't drive selfishly in bus lanes because you think your individual right to drive where you like is greater than the law of the land.

The thing that made me laugh most though was the last two paragraphs of Ross Lydall's article:

Transport for London figures show that buses have also speeded up dramatically.
Journeys on the 300 high-frequency routes are now delayed by an average of 1.4 minutes compared with 2.2 minutes in 2000.

Now, how does the Evening Standard actually think that has been achieved?


I agree - if you don't want to get fined, don't break the law. I read somewhere that 'they' were banning so many drivers for speeding that 'they' were just going to issue fines and no points. If you don't want to get banned, don't break the law. Simple. I manage not to do any of these things. Why not get these crappy drivers off our roads?

Rant rant rant.

The Evening Standard's always good for a laugh. Last week it was running a 'we're doomed' story claiming that the government had issued guidelines that 'everyone should stock up on canned goods', and in the event of a terrorist attack we should 'stay indoors and obey any orders from the authorities. Especially those from the tv'...

What's the world coming to? They'll want to re-introduce rationing next!


Well said sir. I've had enough of these people moaning about speeding fines, parking fines, bus lane fines.

When will the wingers accept they're breaking the law? probably never - and if they do, they'll just moan about resources not going to "proper crimes".

The selfish "drivers are best" attitude of some people in this country, really annoys me.

The original article is here

Typical ESism.

I would have agreed with the comments here, until the following happened to us.

We were driving up Edgware Road to Mesh Computers and were unsure of its actual address. We drove South, spotted it on the north side of the road. Husband then turned around as soon as possible and blinked in onto bus lane to turn left into the side road. You cannot just swerve into a turning.

I might add that this was at 3.15pm in the afternoon and there was not a bus in sight.

I have now received £100 fine notice. We shall go along the road again to make sure of our facts and then I intend to appeal. We would never dream of speeding along bus lanes to make up time or just for the hell of it..I am 70 years of age!!

So before you get censorious, just make sure the same does not happen to you!

Hi all..

I'd concur with the last poster - I received a PCN last week showing me in a bus lane, but with indicator flashing and approaching a legitimate left turn... I've paid my charge because these councils operate in a very fascist manner and will rarely relent on a charge especially when it represents 'easy' money for them...

I feel victimised and unfairly treated for a genuine mistake that happened in an unfamiliar part of London.

If I were a refugee or asylum seeker it appears to be quite acceptable for no license, insurance,mot,tax etc etc... just as long as you don't get caught! Gawd help the family of that poor child who was killed by an 'asylum seeker' who was so desperate to claim asylum here that he chose not to abide by our laws and in the process took the life of an innocent before fleeing - doubtless back to his homeland.

Yes - you could say I'm peeved.

Greg Baker

I know it sounds all above board to say this and that about fines and correct behavior while driving. However, as much as i hate people driving in bus lanes, even parking in them, while they go to pick up the evening standard ;). I cant condone being fined for brushing into a bus lane and being 'govermugged'. 50 pounds for each offence, and I use that term very lightly. You'd think I had started my own private slalom mid London. The cameras are placed at the lip of bus lanes and just before legitimate turnings, so excuse me for turning into it one car length to soon. In my train of thought, I believed the people/ machines running this operation, would at least of been interested in catching real offenders.

On the roads they don't mention clearly (to motorists) what time you can be in a bus lane, or make the cameras visible. After all a deterrent is the best way to combat the morons, who have no care for the rest of us who have to wait in traffic patiently. But even on the PCN and website they have created, they don't tell you exactly where you committed the offence, or have bus lane times. A handy thing, so at best learn from your mistake and at worst avoid it.

If my ramble seems a bit too emotional, it's because it is. I don't have the heart to go into why motorists are taxed in so many ways or how much is earned from honest people, who simply make a mistake. There is no proper procedure for appeal, unless you fancy having your home violated by some broody ape, who only knows simple phrases like, 'not my problem mate' and 'I'm just doing my job'. So thank you but no thanks, I'll swallow it, bend over and thank our wonderful council, for putting as much thought into finding another inventive way, into screwing over hard working people.

A few Sundays ago at 4.30 in the afternoon I was driving along a local road when the car in front suddenly, without indicating, stopped and decided to turn right. I instinctively checked my mirror and quickly turned to the left to drive around him. Yes, I was mad at the driver, but even madder when I received a PCN for driving in a bus lane! I hadn't noticed any sign, nor had it been advertised locally that this stretch of road now had bus lane times, so I went back to check. There it was - a sign saying restrictions on a Saturday and Sunday were til 6pm. A busy time for buses, I'm sure!!! I have never, never driven in a bus lane, and consider that I still haven't since I just pulled in and out of it, but what's the point of arguing? Since then I have discovered that lots of people have been caught at the end of this bus lane (literally just before traffic lights) trying to turn left. The congestion at these lights is ridiculous now. Perhaps it's time to stand up and start shouting instead of moaning.

I recently received a PCN demanding £50 for driving in a bus lane. Like many people who have been issued with one of these, I was only in the lane for a max of 5secs and only because I needed to take a left turn. The left indicator was blinking away, obviously the CCTV operator did not give a damn whether my case was a genuine mistake or someone intentionally breaking the law. I have subsequently paid the fine, appealing in this situation is simply a waste of time as the councils are money hungry louts, who try and fleece what ever they can ironically from law abiding citizens.

I am in the process of appealing a bus lane pcn.
i am aware buses and bus lanes have camera's and would have only entered the bus lane to go around a car turning right. If i am suppose to pay fifty pounds for that, someones having a laugh. Ask yourself , is that right?
I'll will send another email here and hopefully tell someone how to appeal and win. HOPEFULLY!

I am in a similar situation. I've just got a £50 fine, apparently for going into a bus lane a couple of metres before it ends, just before a set of traffic lights that I was turning right at. The thing that really winds me up is the choice to either pay the £50 fine, or to wait for it to go up to £100 before you have any chance to make your own case. A £50 fine I can just about deal with, but £100 for me is simply crippling, but I have no way of knowing whether or not my case has any merit to it.

Just to add insult to injury, there's a petrol station a few hundred meters down the road from where I got "caught", which you have to cross the bus lane to get into or out of. I doubt their customers get fined...

Any advice on how to do a successful appeal would be gratefully received!

I have been caught turning on to the south circular. There are two lanes, only for turning left, if you're closest to the inside lane you'll turn (left) straight into the bus lane. Once stuck there drivers in the lane to my right wouldn't allow me in. thus I went 20-30 meters ahead to where I saw a gap in the traffic so I could get out of the said bus lane. For that a £100 fine. Further more the lane ends in no more than another 25 meters....smell a rat.

My questing is; how can you fine someone when you have a lane that clearly directs drivers "straight" into a bus lane?

I was a pay and shut up person myself, today I received a £50 PCN for being 6" in a bus lane on the tottenham court road, I know why I was there, I am a special constable and had just stopped two drivers about to have words each other, now, for my unpaid voluntary assistance and of course having moved over to let others pass me while i dealt with it I get £50.

I phoned them and the chap on the line was so what!

Well its a strict liability offence and so I am basically stuffed.

However where does anyones abillity to pay come into it???

I ride a scooter and have been sent a PCN for entering a bus lane over a month after the allenged offence. A number of people are insured and ride my bike soI have no idea who was riding the bike at the time. I have never yet seen a scooter or a bike hold up a bus and I don't like this appeal system - it is punitive and unjust. I will have to pay the fine because the 'owner' is the one liable. Nevertheless I believe this liability is bad law and yet another example of lazy councils making easy money

How can you receive a pcn by mistake? one day I had notice from Haringey Council asking for a £50 charge to be payed for driving in a bus lane, quoting the registration number of my car, but failed to state the make, model or colour of the car. The fact that i was not anywhere near the lane, or the area in question, seem not to matter. After writing to the parking services at the Council explaining my situation and the car number they 'got wrong', they have now sent me a second £100 charge without even replying to my letter. I am most concerned that this kind of error can happen. I now have to write again to ask for a picture of the contravention and try to clear up the matter.

The clampdown on driving in bus lanes is horrendously unfair given the number of bus lanes in London that randomly scatted and appear out of nowhere with no warning before you are about drive into them. Especially in busy rush hour traffic it is all to easy to unwittingly drive into a bus lane and be stuck there until traffic moves on in the next lane to allow you space to squeeze in.

I take great care not to drive in bus lanes (since I take the bus more than I use my car and get annoyed when cars get in the way) so was absolutely amazed when I received a fine for driving in a bus lane. There was no mistake as I checked the location and date but I was furious because I was not familiar with the area and had turned a corner in the correct lane but suddenly ended up in a bus lane. Despite exiting as quickly as possible I was clearly caught on a camera somwhere.

I am not against bus lanes and they do in fact make bus travel quicker, whilst I am a person who never uses a bus lane without being sure if I have a right to be the, you can imagine how mortified I was when I received a £50 ticked for moving into the bus lane for a police car. I did not see any point in appealing because if I did the ticket would double, there can only be three reasons for this 1)camera only showing bus lane and nothing else. 2)spiteful operator 3)Earn Revenue. I know one thing if there are any emergency services needing me to get out the way, they can use the bus lane, as usualy there is nothing in them. My next gripe is the break in the bus lane to make a left turn in sometimes too close the the turn, makeing it dangerous to turn, especially with speeding bus drivers in the bus lane, who are technically undertaking, you can bet there are cameras on the bus lane markings

anyone who thinks drivers are just whinging at getting caught by camaras obviously don't drive (at least not in any of Britains main towns and cities). I'd rather have the old bill stand in the road with a gun and demand the money - it'd be far more honest!

Bus lanes!! For the last 12 months I have been travelling to work on my bike. Yesterday I received not one but two!! PCNs for travelling in a bus lane. This is the Norwood Road bus lane where I always make a left turn. I agree with one of the posters who commented that it was dangerous to just swing in left after the official end of the bus lane. If you did this sort of move anywhere else it would be driving without due care and attention. To top it off I am notified two weeks after my offence and now I look forward to at least eight more contraventions and a total of £500 in fines. When did a motorcycle ever slow a bus down or get in its way? What's even more annoying is that other local authorities allow motocycles in bus lanes. Why the double standards?

WARNING - Transport for London Bus Lane Fines. All - please take note. If you receive a fine for driving in a bus lane from Transport for London make sure you get a Proof of Postage. You are entitled to a 50% reduction in the fine if they receive the payment within 14 days of the Penalty Notice. However, TFL have recently charged me the extra by denying they recived the cheque on time. It is my belief that they are now starting to hold back the processing of some cheques in order to increase the fine. Unless you have proof of postage, it is their word against yours. I am not too sure how much further this low life can sink, but they are trying . Take care.

I was turning the left into the station and cut across the bus lane. Guess what - Fine!

I must say I am disappointed that you all have taken the time to complain on this website but not to protect yourself and others by following through with an appeal.

I have entered the appeals process and could face another £50 fine for the honour. But its a risk Im willing to take. Im 26 and unemployed so it's not like I can afford it, but Im sick of the government getting away with whatever they like because noone exercises their democratic rights. Its not like whinging on this forum has helped you is it!?

I just got a fine for driving in a bus lane too - 3 and a half months later!! Admittedly I was in the bus lane (at least in the photo) and like many others here I think I was undertaking a car turning right, but there's no way I can remember cos its so long ago! There's a limit on how long we have to pay these basta*ds so why isn't there a limit on how long they have to get the fine to us?

Hi, I just got a fine nearly 2 months after the date it says i was in the bus lane.
I know for traffic light offences they have to send the notification after 14 days.
Is it the same for bus lane’s
How is some one to remember who was driving the car at a specific time 2 months ago?
Is this likely to hold up if I appeal the fact that the notice was received after 2 months?
Any info very much appreciated.

I thought that bus lane fines had to be issued by councils within 28 days.

I was charged with £50 the mistake was not mine but bcoz the "not-so-friendly" constable i started a verbal argument and finally ended up paying £150 for the same reason , i think they find it easy to get money just by stating some law of which they are not even sure if it applies in such situation or not

Keep up to date on my new blog