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.

The hours when you can or can't use bus lanes can differ based on the volume and frequency of buses using the route. In summer 2020 we will begin a trial to make all bus routes on the red routes operate 24 hours a day. Find how you can have your say on the better bus journeys consultation page.

When you can enter a bus lane

You can enter a bus lane when the bus lane is not operational (outside the hours of operation) or when you are driving a certain type of vehicle. 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.

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 London Taxis
  • 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.

The sign will tell you which vehicles can use the bus lane and the hours of operation

When you can use the lane

  • Monday to Sunday - 19:00 to 07:00 - any vehicle can use the lane

When you can't use the lane

  • Monday to Sunday - 07:00 to 19:00

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.