Bus lanes are part of the road that is indicated on the carriageway by a thick white line. They are reserved for certain vehicles, shown on the sign. They increase journey time reliability and safety for certain vehicles and encourage the use of sustainable transport such as public transport and cycling.

When you can enter a bus lane

The times of operation and the type or types of permitted vehicle are indicated on a blue sign. The sign is located in advance of the bus lane and repeated if the bus lane is long.

If you want to turn left across a bus lane, an arrow or a dotted white line on the carriageway will indicate if this is permitted.

24-hour bus lanes trial

As part of a trial from 13 September 2020, most bus lanes on the red routes now operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This was done to support a sustainable recovery from the pandemic by making bus journeys more reliable and consistent. It also helps reduce bus congestion and create more space to help make the roads safer for cyclists.

  • To keep the bus lanes clear, some parking bays are suspended during the trial. Blue Badge parking facilities have not changed
  • Loading bays are not affected for now, but we'll monitor how they impact bus reliability to understand if they can be moved in the future
  • Road users such as taxis, motorcyclists and cyclists have the same access to bus lanes as they had before - only the hours of operation have changed

Bus lane signs were changed to indicate the new hours of operation.

The trial expires in March 2022. We are now reviewing the evidence and feedback gathered since September 2020, before making any changes to the bus lanes.

This evidence includes:

  • bus journey data
  • feedback from passengers and bus drivers
  • our online survey, which ran from September 2020 to August 2021

Vehicles that can use a bus lane

Read the bus lane signs to find out who can use it and when. Some signs may display the word 'local' indicating that only local bus services can use the bus lane.

  • Buses which have a minimum of 10 seats (including the driver)
  • Licensed taxis (hackney carriages)
  • Motorcycles (without side cars)
  • Mopeds
  • Scooters
  • Tricycles (non-motorised, motorised under 450kg, not with side cars)
  • Bicycles

For other road signs please visit the Highway Code website.

Look out for the bus lane sign and thick white line on the carriageway. The sign will tell you which vehicles can use the bus lane and the hours of operation.

Anyone can use the bus lane outside the hours of operation but please do be aware that bus lane times can vary along a stretch of road.

Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)

Using a bus lane when you are not permitted can delay buses and cause congestion. We may issue a PCN if you drive in a bus lane.

Find out more about penalty charges.