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Preserved Buses and the use of Bus Lanes

There seems to be plenty of difference of opinion regarding the types of vehicle permitted to use bus lanes. Most operators consider that only their vehicles should be in them, but this is not correct. There is no special dispensation or prohibition for preserved or vintage buses - they are treated just like any other bus.

The situation is that any bus (including minibuses) may use bus lanes in the UK. There are however some specific conditions:

  • A bus is defined as a vehicle with nine seats or more including the driver. It does not have to be in any specific taxation class.
  • Only service buses may use bus lanes if they are specifically signed "Local Buses Only" or have the word "Local" superimposed on the symbol for a bus on a bus lane sign.
  • Only service buses may use bus lanes with bus gates or rising bollards.
  • Specific confirmation was sought from the Police Traffic Division by Imperial College London regarding the special bus lane on the M4 motorway, and it was confirmed that all buses may use this.

Useful sources

  • DVLA - whilst a very useful general source, their published information on Bus Lanes is aimed mainly at the motor car.
  • Imperial College Union Transport - downloadable PDF file available on Driving in Bus Lanes, plus some on other useful related subjects


I hate disclaimers, but it has to be said:
These notes were originally compiled in February 2006 and are believed to be both accurate and current, but should not be construed as legal advice. The interpretation of the law is a matter for the courts and is open to any individual to take legal advice on their behalf.

This page was last updated on Sunday, 28-Jan-2018 10:22:40 GMT

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