Drivers in the UK’s cities have been issued with over one million penalty notices each year since 2015 for driving in bus lanes, new research reveals.
Freedom of information requests made by the RAC to the UK’s 20 largest cities found that on average there were 3.4 million penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued for driving in bus lanes issued between 2015 and 2017.
The RAC calculated the total amount of penalties issued during this time period could amount to nearly £200m.
The data showed that Manchester City Council issued the most notices between 2015 and 2017, with 352,688 sent in total and 172,311 in 2017 alone - a dramatic 175% increase on 2015.
Glasgow was next, issuing 339,402 notices between 2015 and 2017, and then it was Cardiff (267,713), Bradford (208,790) and Nottingham (194,993 notices).
The fine for driving in a bus lane varies across the UK, with London levying some of the steepest charges (£160 or £80 if paid quickly), while other metropolitan and provincial areas charge much less (around £60).
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘Bus lanes have a vital role to play in ensuring the reliability of public transport as they help to keep our urban areas moving.
‘But the sheer quantity of fines — more than a million every year — suggests something is awry and 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.’
Mr Williams added that it was important for councils to improve signage and he also urged the introduction of ‘smart bus lanes’ into cities where technology could be used to make it clear to drivers when they are permitted to use bus lanes.