Penalty Charge Notice (bus lane enforcement)

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) Also known as a Bus Lane Ticket for Bus Lane Enforcement 

Local authorities use cameras to monitor bus lanes and for bus lane enforcement. When an alleged contravention is seen, the local authority may serve a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) on the person appearing to them to be the owner of the vehicle.

This is normally the person registered as the keeper at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The owner is usually, but not always, liable for the penalty, whoever was driving.

This is known as Owner Liability.

The Penalty Charge Notice is normally served by post.


Your next steps. You have three choices.

Either:  Pay the penalty charge

  • payment details are on the Penalty Charge Notice.
  • you should pay within 28 days beginning with the date of the notice. If the authority RECEIVES payment within the first 14 days, you only have to pay half the penalty.
  • If you do not pay within 14 days, your right to pay at the reduced rate ends.
  • If the authority does not receive payment of the reduced penalty within 14 days or the full penalty within 28 days, the next stage in the formal process is for the authority to send an Enforcement Notice. This will allow you to make formal representations to the enforcing authority.

or:     Make an informal challenge (also known as an informal representation) against the Penalty Charge Notice. (Please see note below)

When making an informal challenge (representation), you should:

  • explain your reasons fully and carefully;
  • send clear copies of any relevant documents, keeping the originals;
  • make sure the local authority RECEIVES your representations within 14 days if you want them to preserve the discount whilst considering your representations. (see note above)You can give any reason as to why you would like your PCN cancelled including compassionate grounds. If you would like to see the statutory grounds then these are contained in the next section – Enforcement notice.OR:

wait for an enforcement notice to arrive and make formal representations to the local authority.


Informal challenge (also known as an Informal representation)

This is basically a letter or email from you telling the local authority why you think they should cancel the PCN.  It is not part of the formal appeal process although as long as you write in within 28 days nearly all local authorities will accept an informal challenge. They will consider what you say and may cancel the PCN.  However, if they do not accept your informal challenge, they will normally allow you a further 14 days to pay at the reduced rate if they received your letter or email  within the 14 day discount period. For this reason you should ensure that your informal challenge arrives at the local authority within 14 days. (We suggest that you check with the enforcing authority that they will preserve the discount in this way)

You can still wait for an Enforcement Notice to be served and make a formal appeal to the enforcing authority although you will have then lost the right to pay at the discounted rate.

If you want to make formal representations under the statutory grounds, then you must wait for the Enforcement Notice.  We would recommend that an informal challenge (representation) is sent initially as you would still have the option of a formal representation if your informal representations are not accepted.

Next: Sample Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)