Charge notices for driving in a bus lane

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

Find out what to do if you receive a charge notice for driving in a bus lane.

Bus lane rules

Some local councils are responsible for enforcing bus lane rules and use cameras to do this. If you don't follow the bus lane rules, you might get a fine called a 'charge notice' from the local council. This is a civil matter, not a criminal offence.

Not all local councils have these enforcement powers. In some areas, the police will issue a fixed penalty notice for this driving offence.

Receiving a charge notice

If you've used a bus lane illegally, your local council can give you a charge notice. In most cases, the council must send you the notice within 28 days of you driving in the bus lane.

The charge notice will say that you have 28 days to pay the charge. The local council might offer to reduce the charge if you pay within 14 days. For example, if the original charge was £60, you might only have to pay £30 if you pay within 14 days.

You'll find more details about charge notices on your local council's website. Find your local council on

If you accept you committed the offence, you can pay the amount the council asks for. The charge notice will tell you how and when to pay.

The charge notice will be sent to the owner of the vehicle. In law, they're the person responsible for paying the charge, even if someone else was driving. If you've received a charge notice but someone else was driving your car with your permission, it's a good idea to talk to them about it - they might be happy to pay.

If you don't pay

If you don't appeal against the charge notice and you don't pay it within 28 days, the local council will send you a 'notice to owner', reminding you to pay.

If you don't pay on time, the council will send you a charge certificate, and they'll increase the penalty by 50% of the original amount. For example, if the original charge was £60, you'll now have to pay £90.

You'll have to pay the local council, but you won't have committed a criminal offence.

If you still don't pay, the local council can register the debt with the court without a court hearing. The council can then collect the charge using sheriff officers.

Appealing against a charge notice

If you don't agree that you committed the offence, you can appeal to the local council against the charge notice. Usually you have to appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice. The charge notice will tell you how to appeal and by when.

You might want to appeal because:

  • you didn't own the vehicle when it was wrongly driven in the bus lane. You'll have to prove this, for example with a receipt and a copy of the DVLA registration form

  • the alleged offence didn't take place - for example, because the rules weren't in force when you drove in the bus lane

  • someone else was driving the vehicle without your consent.

What the local council will do next

The local council must consider your case and tell you if it accepts or rejects your appeal.

If the council accepts your appeal, it will cancel your charge notice.

If the council rejects your appeal, it must send you a 'notice of rejection'. It will also send you details of how to make a further appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber.

If you don't want to appeal further, you'll have to pay the charge. It's likely that this won't be a reduced amount as first offered.      

Appealing against a local council decision

If you're still not happy, you can appeal against the local council's decision to the General Regulatory Chamber. You have to appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice of rejection.

Find out how to make a bus lane appeal on the General Regulatory Chamber website.