Bus lanes and bus-only streets

This is a general guide to bus lanes, including road markings and signs, when the bus lanes operate, who can use them, and how they are enforced.

Priority for buses

A bus lane is a lane restricted to buses (and cycles, motorcycles and permitted taxis where indicated by the signs) on certain days and times.  It is generally used to provide priority for public transport that would otherwise be held up by traffic congestion.

The benefits of bus lanes are that they:

  • increase bus service reliability
  • improve bus passenger journey times
  • encourage the use of public transport
  • provide a safer lane for cyclists
  • provide priority for emergency vehicles

Bus lanes are defined by road markings and signs that indicate which vehicles are permitted to use the bus lane. 

Bus lane signs
Examples of bus lane enforcement signs

You should not drive in a bus lane during its hours of operation, unless you're driving a permitted vehicle.

Bus lane locations

There are over 50 kilometres of bus lanes in Northern Ireland. The times and days of operation may vary from bus lane to bus lane. Where there are no times stated, the bus lanes are operational 24 hours.

Drivers must pay attention to the road signs and markings, as these will clearly show the start and end of the bus lane, the vehicles permitted, and the hours of operation.

You can find details of these bus lanes on this page:

Types of bus lanes

Bus lanes are identified in a number of ways. In general a bus lane is identified by road markings and associated signage detailing its operational hours.

Below are examples of bus lanes, bus-only streets and their associated road markings.

Bus lane city centre kerbside
City centre kerbside bus lane – normally operates Monday to Saturday from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm

Centre of carriageway bus lane
City centre, centre of carriageway bus lane road marking – normally operates Monday to Saturday from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm

Arterial route bus lane
Arterial route bus lane road marking – normally operates peak times Monday to Friday 7.30 am to 9.30 am and 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm

Bus-only street
Example of a bus-only street

Motorway bus lane
Example of a motorway bus lane

 

Penalty Charge Notice

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be issued to the registered keeper of a vehicle detected illegally using a bus lane.

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is £90. However, if payment is made within 14 days of the date of issue of the PCN letter a 50 per cent discount will apply reducing it to £45.

PCNs are usualy sent by post to the registered keeper of the vehicle within 21 days of detection.

Paying a Penalty Charge Notice

If you get a bus lane Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), you can find out how to pay it at the following link:

Information on how to pay is also given on the reverse side of the PCN.

Photo and video evidence

Photo and video evidence of your vehicle using a bus lane can be viewed at the following link:

You can find out how any personal information you send to the Parking Enforcement Processing Unit when using this service will be handled by viewing its privacy notice.

The photos and video evidence are not available for the general public to view, as the PCN number and vehicle registration number must be entered to view the photos and video.

How to challenge or appeal a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

If you wish to challenge (or appeal) a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), it must be in writing.

More details can be found at the links below:

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.