Bus lanes are lanes that are specific to buses at specific times of the day and days of the week. They are designed to help public transport flow a lot easier allowing buses to get to their destinations quicker without as many hold ups.
They can be identified by thick solid while lines, sometimes red painted lanes, road signs and markings and may include any other vehicles that are allowed to use them, typically black taxis, motorbikes, bicycles.
‘A bus lane is a bus lane in its hours of operation, outside these hours; it’s a normal left lane.’
Bus lanes typically have clear signs to say when you are not allowed to enter them.
An example of a bus lane is if the sign says ‘Mon to Sun 7am to 7pm’, it means that road users (other than the ones on the road sign) are not allowed to use the bus lane in these hours on these days. Outside of these hours this bus lane is fine to use.
A typical bus lane in London that is heading towards central London may read Mon – Fri 7am to 10am. This is because more people work closer to central London so that time of the morning is when traffic is at its highest and that’s when they want bus lanes to be clear for buses enabling buses to drop passengers off with as less traffic as possible.
Facing the opposite direction to journeys heading out of London a typical bus lane there may read ‘Mon - Fri 4pm to 7pm’. Again the reasoning behind this is that a lot of people that work in London live further out of London and this is an ideal way of keeping bus lanes free on those busy hours.
If a bus lane says ‘At any time’ then that means you should not use the bus lane at any time unless its an emergency.
Learner drivers need to be particularly clear when it comes to bus lanes as entering one on a driving test when the hours do not allow can result in a serious fault and equally not entering when the hours allow and it’s perfectly safe to do so can also result in the same result. For example if there are 2 lanes, a bus lane and the right lane and the bus lane reads Mon-Sat 10am to 4pm and the learner is having their test at 08:30 but chooses to avoid the bus lane then they run the risk of failing as they could be holding up traffic that wish to pass on the right.