Bus Lane Enforcement
In order to help buses get ahead of traffic congestion – especially during peak hours – we have designated bus lanes along many routes in the city. To make sure they’re as effective as possible at keeping buses running on time we are operating bus lane enforcement in the city centre.
If you receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) you can pay it quickly and easily online. If you pay within 14 days you will be liable for a reduced charge of £30 rather than £60. (If you challenge the PCN and are unsuccessful, the fine will be the full £60.) If you do not pay within 28 days then the fine level goes up to £90.
If you feel you have already paid the Notice, please check the reference numbers (beginning with the letters BM) as you may have received more than one Penalty Charge Notice.
If you wish to make a representation this can be done directly by using the link below. Please be aware that if you have received more than one notice, a representation must only be made against the notice that you wish to dispute as the full charge of £60 is payable for each individual case, if it is rejected.
We are in the process of extending bus lane enforcement across the city in areas where there is a problem with bus lane abuse. This will be done using a combination of fixed bus lane enforcement cameras and car-mounted mobile cameras.
The first site identified for this next phase of bus lane enforcement is the bus gate at the junction of Belgrave Middleway with Longmore Street and Horton Square. We are currently in the process of designing minor improvements for this location and consulting with local residents and stakeholders.
How does enforcement happen?
Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras mounted on poles or operated from one of our marked CCTV enforcement cars will record vehicles entering bus lanes, and once a contravention has been confirmed the registered keeper will receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) – a fine – by first class post.
The cameras record vehicles entering the lanes during restricted hours, taking a close-up of the vehicle including the registration plate. They also track it moving in the bus lane to provide evidence of the contravention taking place. The recordings are checked by enforcement officers to ensure a contravention did occur and whether there are any clear mitigating circumstances.
An example of what the PCN you receive will look like is attached below:
Fines and how to avoid them
Always check the signs at the start of a bus lane before entering to avoid getting a PCN!
Every driver is responsible for making sure they comply with all traffic regulations; being new to the area or following what your satnav says is not an acceptable excuse for contravening traffic regulations – you will still be held responsible, and this will not be accepted as a reason for challenging the PCN.
If in doubt, stay out!
The charge for entering a bus lane or bus-only street is £60. If you pay within 14 days of the notice date on the PCN the charge is reduced to £30; payment instructions are on the PCN. (If you challenge the PCN and are unsuccessful, the fine will be the full £60.) If you do not pay within 28 days then the fine level goes up to £90.
Details of how to appeal a fine will be included on the PCN, or can be viewed here.
How to recognise a bus lane or bus-only street
Bus lanes are clearly marked with a solid thick white line and the words ‘bus lane’ painted periodically along the lane. Signs at the start of the lane show the times the bus lane is operational – if no times are given it is operational 24 hours a day. Bus gates are short bus lanes at junctions that allow buses to get ahead of other traffic or to make a manoeuvre not allowed by other vehicles. Bus-only streets are streets which only buses may use, again clearly marked with signs showing permitted vehicles and operational times.
Along bus lanes there will be sections of broken white lines – these show where you may cross the bus lane e.g. in order to turn left.
Examples of the signs are shown below.
Permitted vehicles in bus lanes and bus-only streets
Permitted vehicles vary across the city, so always check the signs before entering.
In the areas where we are carrying out bus lane enforcement, only buses, coaches and bicycles may use all bus lanes, bus gates and bus-only streets; black cabs (hackney carriages) and motorbikes may use some areas only. Private hire vehicles may not use any bus lanes or bus-only streets in Birmingham.
Emergency vehicles on an emergency call or operational manoeuvre are exempt from these restrictions.
More information about bus lanes and their enforcement
View information about the locations where bus lanes are enforced in the city centre and a plan showing alternative routes for access avoiding bus lanes and bus-only streets.
Further information about Civil Parking and Bus Lane Enforcement (including PCNs and NTOs) is available online at www.patrol-uk.info or in a leaflet from the Council: