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Driving in London is never much fun is it?! Between the roundabouts, traffic lights, crossings, pedestrians, cyclists, congestion charge and the bus lanes it can be a nightmare. Being aware of your surroundings is only part of the battle when you drive in London. While you’re sitting there, stuck in traffic, for hours on end it can be tempting to zip down a bus lane. After all, it seems like everyone else does, right?! This post explains all about London bus lanes and who exactly can drive in them. Hopefully next time you’re stuck in traffic you will know if you can save yourself a little time by using one.

Bus lanes in London seem to be everywhere. Because they are! A city this large needs a fantastic public transport network to allow people to get around. Without London buses think how many more cars there would be on the road. Nobody would ever get anywhere! A bus lane is shown by a thick white line. Different London bus lanes can be used by different vehicles, and this will be indicated by a sign. Other vehicles that may use bus lanes, besides buses, include motorcyclists, mopeds, scooters, cycles and taxis.

Many of the bus lanes in London have hours of operation on them. Outside of these operational times anyone can use a bus lane. There will be a blue sign to indicate the times that the bus lanes are operational. If the bus lane is large then there will be multiple signs along the way to keep drivers informed on their journey.

Typically a sign will display images of the vehicles that may use it at any time and then underneath the hours of operation. Outside of these times you will be able to drive your car in these bus lanes to help you get to your destination quicker. While driving along a stretch of road the operational hours of the bus lane may vary. Always be alert and pay attention to signs while driving.

If you use a bus lane without a permitted vehicle, or outside of a permitted time, then you will likely receive a penalty charge notice. These are issued to help ease congestion, keep the bus lane free and ensure that the buses are able to run on time without unauthorised drivers in their way. If you were travelling on a bus, and was late for work because of a car parked in the lane, then you would probably be a little pleased to see someone get a penalty charge notice. If you’re a driver, in a rush, don’t be tempted! Most of the bus lanes have cameras now and there are operatives who spend their days looking for people breaking the rules and then pop them out a penalty charge notice in the post. The days of the ticket on the window of your car are gradually declining!

Next time you are driving in London, and hit a congested area, check out the signs on the bus lane to see if you are permitted to use it. This could save you time, stress and best of all gets you on the move easier.