Councils rake in £41m a year from bus lane fines

Councils rake in £41m a year from bus lane fines
Councils rake in £41m a year from bus lane fines

British drivers are forking out more than £41 million a year in fines for using bus lanes, new data has revealed.

More than 888,000 motorists were handed fines last year, amounting to a total of £41,807,647.

Drivers in Glasgow were hardest hit, with the city council issuing 108,735 fines worth £6.5m to those driving in bus lanes when they shouldn’t.

Cardiff issued the second most fines for an individual council, with 79,907 fines adding £5.6m to the council coffers, while the combined local authorities in London handed out 89,730 fines worth £7.5m.

However, the most profitable bus lane wasn’t in any of these cities. A single lane on Oxford high street raked in £1,488,120 in 2017 alone.


Bus lane fine
Picture: Shutterstock

While more than a quarter of drivers (28 per cent) admit that they knowingly ignore bus lane restrictions, mostly to skip queues, almost than half of those who received fines (49 per cent) were unaware that they had even driven in a bus lane.

Most fines issued

Glasgow – 108,735, £6.5m
Cardiff – 79,907, £5.6m
Ealing – 23,970, £3.1m
Leicester – 57,320, £2.3m
Wolverhampton – 73,165, £2.2m

The findings came from responses from 40 local authorities to a Freedom of Information request by and have prompted calls for councils to invest the money raised from the fines in making information on bus lanes clearer.

Restrictions on bus lanes vary even within the same town. Some are in operation all the time while others only apply during peak traffic times, with drivers relying on signs and road markings to make them clear.

However, of drivers questioned, two in five (41 per cent) blamed a lack of clear signage or markings for mistakenly driving in a bus lane and the same number agreed that profits from the fines should be reinvested in making bus lane signs clearer.

Bus lane fine
Two-fifths of drivers want better signage around bus lanes. Picture: Shutterstock

Unfair and excessive

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “The £41m in fines issued by councils are testimony to the fact that bus lanes are one of the most confusing challenges motorists face on our already chaotic roads.

“Drivers needs to be listened to for a change – it’s only right that some of this fine money is invested to make bus lanes and signage clearer. In the meantime, we’ve launched a go-to bus lane guide to help drivers navigate through the chaos and advise how they can challenge a fine if they think it has been unfairly issued.

“While there is a place for driving fines, many feel bus lane charges are unfair and excessive, adding to the ream of costs burdening drivers.”

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