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Bus lane penalty notices on the rise

City drivers are being hit by more than one million penalty charge notices (PCNs) a year for driving in bus lanes, which the RAC says could be down to confusing or inadequate signage.

Red bus in London bus lane

More than one million PCNs are issued a year to city drivers using bus lanes.

A freedom of information request made by the RAC to councils in London and other cities found that the number of PCNs issued for bus lane misuse rose 5% between 2015 and 2017, reaching 1.1 million last year. And in Manchester, PCNs issued by the city council increased 175% in 2017 compared to 2015, totalling 172,311.

The RAC said a conservative estimate of the cost to drivers of the penalty charge notices is £68m a year, or around £200m over the three years.

The RAC – which has published a full guide to understanding fixed penalty notices – is now calling for a review of national signage guidelines and the introduction of ‘smart bus lanes’ to make things simpler and clearer for motorists.

Spokesman Simon Williams said: “We don’t believe the vast majority are knowingly breaking the rules. While there is clearly no defence for deliberately driving in a bus lane, we believe more can be done to make it obvious to drivers when they can and can’t drive in one.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.