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Bus lane penalty FAQs

Why have I received a bus lane Penalty Charge Notice?

The Penalty Charge Notice has been issued because the council believes you were driving an unauthorised vehicle in a bus lane.

A bus lane contravention occurs when a vehicle, without good reason, crosses the solid white dividing line between the bus lane and the rest of the carriageway during the bus lane’s hours of operation. Images of your vehicle in the bus lane will be included with the Penalty Charge Notice.

Who can use a bus lane when it is in operation?

Buses, coaches, vehicles constructed to carry eight passengers (excluding the driver), pedal cycles, hackney carriages, emergency vehicles (police cars and vans, fire engines and ambulances), and other authorised vehicles. Parking in a bus lane is not permitted, even with a Blue Badge.

How much is the bus lane Penalty Charge Notice?

If you pay within 21 days of the date that the Penalty Charge Notice was served, you'll pay £35. After 21 days the charge will increase to the full charge of £70.

How do I pay a bus lane Penalty Charge?

You can pay your bus lane penalty charge notice online.

Most major debit/credit cards are accepted. You will need to enter your vehicle registration number and your PCN number.

How do I challenge a bus lane Penalty Charge Notice?

If you believe that the fine is incorrect or you shouldn't have to pay it, you can make a formal representation (appeal) against the Penalty Charge Notice/Notice to Owner document. If you want to appeal, do not pay the fine.

Please note that the registered keeper of the vehicle at the time the contravention occurred is liable for the payment of the penalty.

All formal representations must be made in writing. This is so they can be reproduced should the case progress to independent adjudication via the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. If you wish to make a formal representation you must follow the instructions on the Penalty Charge Notice/Notice to Owner document you've been sent. Your case will be placed on hold and the fine held at the amount currently outstanding whilst we consider your formal representation.

You can make a challenge:

Online

You can submit your challenge by completing the online appeal form.

Up to three attachments can be added to the form.

By post

Put your challenge in a letter, including the Penalty Charge Notice number, your name and postal address, and with any supporting evidence securely attached. We recommend that you only submit copies of any original evidence; if you wish to submit originals, please ensure that you keep a copy for your records.

Send your challenge to:

Parking Services
Middlesbrough House
50 Corporation Road
Middlesbrough
TS1 2YQ

All cases will be considered on their individual circumstances and you'll be sent a decision on whether your formal representation has been accepted or rejected by Middlesbrough Council.

If you submit your representation within 21 days of the date the Penalty Charge Notice was served and we reject your appeal, we will re-offer the discount period. You'll have 21 days from the date of the rejection letter to pay the discounted fine (£35). If you submit your representation outside of the discount period, you'll have to pay the full £70 penalty if we reject your representation.

What if I don't agree with the decision to reject my formal representation?

If we reject your formal representation, we'll send you a 'Notice of Rejection of Formal Representations'. This will explain that you have two options, either:

If you do nothing and ignore the 'Notice of Rejection of Formal Representations' we'll send you a charge certificate approximately 28 days later, which will increase the amount you owe by 50%, to £105.

How do I appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal?

Making an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal is the final stage of disputing a bus lane Penalty Charge Notice. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal is independent of the council and there is no charge to make an appeal.

You can only appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if you've first made a formal representation to the council (in response to a Penalty Charge Notice/Notice to Owner) and have received a 'Notice of Rejection of Formal Representations' in response. You can only appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal against the full penalty amount of £70.  

A 'Notice of Appeal' form will be attached to the 'Notice of Rejection of Formal Representations'. You must complete this form and send it to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. This must be done within 28 days of being served with the council's 'Notice of Rejection of Formal Representations'. Alternatively you may submit your appeal to the tribunal online using the PIN code provided in the 'Notice of Rejection of Formal Representations'.

You can choose to have your appeal considered by post, or you may have a hearing with the adjudicator either in person or over the telephone. The adjudicator will make a decision, which is binding to both you and the council. Read more about the Traffic Penalty Tribunal and the appeals process.

If the adjudicator dismisses your appeal and you don't pay within 28 days, we'll send you a charge certificate, which will increase the amount you owe by 50%, to £105.

What if I ignore the bus lane Penalty Charge Notice and all correspondence from the council?

The following statutory documents are served by the council in relation to a Penalty Charge Notice:

  • Penalty Charge Notice (a combined Penalty Charge Notice/Notice to Owner is sent for postal PCNs)
  • Notice to Owner (a combined Penalty Charge Notice/Notice to Owner is sent for postal PCNs)
  • charge certificate
  • Order For Recovery (TE3)

If you do not pay the amount you owe, we'll take action against you/the registered keeper to recover the amount due. The debt will be registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) at Northampton County Court. You'll be sent an Order for Recovery (TE3) to let you know that a debt has been registered. This also adds a £9 debt registration fee onto the amount you owe.

If the amount still remains unpaid a warrant may then be issued to bailiffs to seize your goods. This will incur additional costs for which you'll also be liable, in accordance with The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

The stages of enforcement and fees added by enforcement agents are detailed below:

1. Notice of enforcement: this is a letter informing the debtor of the debt and giving them an opportunity to pay. A charge is applied to their account which is set to £75.

2. Enforcement stage: physical attendance at the debtor’s address by an enforcement agent to take control of goods. The enforcement agent can take control of goods either at or on the premises, or on the highway. A fixed charge of £235 and 7.5% of any sum over £1500 can be applied to the account.

3. Removal and sale stage: goods are physically removed by the enforcement agent. A fixed charge of £110 and 7.5% on any sum in excess of £1500 is applied.

What happens to the money recovered from bus lane Penalty Charge Notices?

The money recovered from bus lane Penalty Charge Notices is used to fund the parking/bus lane service and any surplus is spent on local transport projects.

I can't pay the full amount. Can I pay in instalments?

The council doesn't set up payment plans to allow bus lane Penalty Charge Notices to be paid in instalments. If an amount is received by the council which doesn't satisfy the penalty in full, the Penalty Charge Notice will progress in line with normal Penalty Charge Notice procedure.

Where can I see the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) relating to my bus lane Penalty Charge Notice?

Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are bylaws created to implement traffic management controls on roads and in car parks. TROs are made to regulate speed, movement and parking. The law requires a TRO to be in place to enable the council to enforce parking and traffic restrictions.

(Please note this is not applicable to bus stops and zig zag markings at pedestrian crossings as no TRO is required to enforce these restrictions)

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal keeps a library of TROs which can be viewed online. Middlesbrough Council’s TROs be viewed on their website (follow the links for the Traffic Regulation Order Library and select Middlesbrough from the alphabetical list). The council's bus lanes are described in the Middlesbrough Councils (Traffic Movements) (Consolidation) Order.

Where can I see the council's CCTV Approved Device Certificate and CCTV Code of Practice?

Councils using CCTV to enforce parking and traffic restrictions can only do so by using an 'approved device'. The device must be certified by the Secretary of State for Transport. The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) has been appointed to do this on behalf of the Secretary of State.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal keeps copies of VCA Certificates in its Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) library which can be viewed online. Middlesbrough Council's certificates can be viewed on their website. View the council's CCTV code of practice.

If I file a witness statement with the Traffic Enforcement Centre, will that cancel the bus lane Penalty Charge Notice?

Filing a witness statement does not cancel the original Penalty Charge Notice. However, if grounds are established, your Penalty Charge Notice may be reset to an earlier stage in the Penalty Charge Notice process.