Information suggestions and grounds of appeal (bus lanes)

Information suggestions and grounds of appeal for a bus lane PCN.  

So you have received a penalty charge notice (pcn) for being in a bus lane. What can you do? You may be surprised how easy it is to appeal a bus lane penalty charge notice.

Most appeals or informal representations will be on the basis that “There was no breach of the bus lane regulation / order” For example, the vehicle was not in a bus lane during its hours of operation, the restrictions were not properly signed or marked, the vehicle was exempt from the restrictions, the traffic order was invalid or the penalty exceeded the amount applicable, You can also appeal to the local authority on compassionate grounds.

Please remember that despite the fact that most Penalty Charge Notices state that you cannot appeal until an enforcement notice is sent to you after 28 days the local authorities who we have contacted do accept informal representations if made to them before the enforcement notice is served. They will also usually preserve the 50% discount for a further 14 days if they reject your informal representations so long as they received it within the discount period of 14 days. So you have nothing to lose by writing in within 14 days. (check with the local authority first.) This informal route is in addition to the normal appeal procedure so if  they do not accept your representations then you can still formally appeal to them after the 28 days when you receive the enforcement notice and then appeal to the adjudicator if the enforcing authority reject your formal representations. If you write in we believe that the local authority will lose money due to the cost of dealing with your appeal. Many local authorities do not even contest a high percentage of appeals made to the bus lane adjudicator.

If you are going to appeal or make a representation do not make payment until you have heard back from the local authority or the Bus Lane adjudicator or you may lose your right to appeal and the case will be closed.

You should state the facts and your letter should be no longer than absolutely necessary.  You should remember that the person who reads your letter may well have discretion to cancel your PCN.  It may not be helpful therefore to vent your anger or make threats.  You should place yourself in the position of the person who will be reading your letter. Photographs, diagrams, witness statements etc can be extremely helpful.  Many motorists have camera phones.  Remember that you usually have nothing to lose by writing in within 14 days.




Are the police taking action? – This offence used to be enforced by the police and a motorist could receive penalty points. Now the offence has been decriminalised and the maximum fine payable is £120 (reduced to £60 if payment is made within 14 days) the police can, however, still take action against you and if they do you will not be required to pay any penalty charge notice issued.

Was the offence captured correctly? – This offence is almost always enforced by a CCTV camera. Previously the Cameras were fixed at the road side like speed cameras but these were inefficient and the film had to be collected and viewed.There are a few still working though.! Now an operator in a control room observes the traffic on his monitors and if he notices a prohibited vehicle contravening the rules on Bus Lanes during the hours of operation then he will usually issue a penalty charge notice. The guidance issued to the operator in London (and we suspect elsewhere) states “The camera or observation should record the approach to and the passing of the sign(s) and subsequent movement by the vehicle including whether it parks, stops or travels along the restricted route”.  The penalty charge notice will usually have a photograph showing your vehicle in a Bus Lane or there may be a web link to where you can view it online. If there is neither then write to the local authority and ask for a copy of the photograph. You also have the right to view the video of the contravention. Again sometimes this can be viewed online or at the council offices. Usually you can request a copy to be sent to you in the post but you may have to pay for this service. The adjudicator will probably want to see a video of your vehicle passing a sign and travelling along the bus lane. Some authorities provide only still images which will not show your vehicle moving or for how long it travelled or the passing of the signs. The adjudicator will need to have proof that a contravention did occur and that your vehicle did in fact travel along the bus lane for a distance. You should ask for a copy of the video to see if it clearly shows you passing signs. Usually it won’t as many camera’s aim at the front of a vehicle. They need to prove that you passed the required signs.

What is a bus? – Regulation 22 of the traffic signs regulations and general direction 2002 (b) (TSRGD) provide that a bus means “a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than 8 passengers (exclusive of the driver)”.  Were you driving a bus?



Below we show much more information that will help you decide whether to appeal against your penalty charge notice for a bus lane contravention including the 20 metre concession and 20 other ways that a bus lane penalty charge notice can be cancelled.

We have even summarised adjudicator’s decisions where motorists have won.


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Next:  Adjudicators decisions and case studies