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Bus lane enforcement

Gateshead Council have been granted power to enforce bus lanes under the Transport Act 2000.

Why enforce bus lanes?

Enforcement ensures bus lanes are properly used, and that their benefits are maximised. These include: 

  • Increased bus service reliability;
  • Improved bus passenger journey times;
  • Encouraging the use of sustainable public transport, further reducing congestion and pollution on and near our roads.

What reasons are there to be in a bus lane?

There are times when it will be permitted for an unauthorised vehicle to enter a bus lane. These are:

  • when directed to do so by a police officer;
  • to make way for an emergency services vehicle;
  • when crossing a bus lane to enter or leave the road, such as accessing a driveway or parking lay-by;
  • to avoid danger such as a collision or debris in the road;
  • owing to circumstances genuinely beyond the driver’s control.

Every driver is responsible for making sure they comply with all traffic regulations; being new to the area or following what your satnav says is not an acceptable excuse for contravening traffic regulations – you will still be held responsible, and this will not be accepted as a reason for challenging the PCN.

Always check the signs at the start of a bus lane before entering to avoid getting a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

What is happening in Gateshead?

Councillors in Gateshead have taken the decision to introduce bus lane enforcement and to set the level of the penalty charge at £60. Enforcement is expected to commence in the Spring of 2018.

There are many things that have to be put in place before this can be successfully implemented. These include:

  • deciding where bus lanes are required and which are a priority for enforcement;
  • agreeing what exceptions (if any) should apply in each bus lane;
  • ensuring that the signs and road markings at each location are correct;
  • drafting and making the Traffic Regulation Order;
  • communicating our intentions, including placing advance warning signs and having discussions with groups particularly affected (such as bus companies and Gateshead’s Private Hire operators);
  • obtaining and commissioning the cameras and upgrading the back office processing system.

View the Notice of Making (152Kb) to read about the changes made to the legal orders in November 2017.

Permitted vehicles

The types of vehicles which may or may not use bus lanes are defined within a TRO or within the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, which also specifies what bus lane signage may contain.

For the purposes of bus lanes within the Borough of Gateshead, the definitions set out below will apply throughout the Borough.  

In addition, a general exemption will apply to any police, fire brigade or ambulance vehicle which is on operational duty (not just when blue lights are being used).

Vehicle type  Legal definition
Authorised vehicle

Private Hire Vehicle which is operating under a licence issued pursuant to section 55 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and is displaying a valid licence plate.

Bus A motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than 8 passengers (exclusive of the driver); or a local bus
Hackney Carriage A vehicle licensed under either section 37 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 or section 6 of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869
Local bus A public service vehicle used for the provision of a local service not being an excursion or tour
Pedal cycle A unicycle, bicycle, tricycle or cycle having four or more wheels, not being in any case mechanically propelled unless it is an electrically assisted pedal cycle that is not treated as a motor vehicle for the purposes of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Taxi Please refer to 'hackney carriage'

Bus lanes subject to civil enforcement

As a result of The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions Designation Order 2016, the entire Borough of Gateshead is both a civil enforcement Area and a special enforcement area, with the exception of the following roads within the borough (these are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Transport):

  • A1(M)
  • A1(T)
  • A194(M)

Subject to the statutory TRO making process, it is proposed that civil enforcement will begin with one or more of the following bus lanes. View these on this bus lane enforcement map.

There are already bus priority lanes at all of these locations, although some of the definitions are being changed to facilitate enforcement.

The statutory notice (59Kb) provides the levels of bus lane penalty charges in Gateshead.

Road name Detailed description Permitted vehicles
A184 Felling Bypass and Felling Bypass to Lingey lane Westbound Slip Road The inside lane of the eastbound carriageway from a point 76 metres east of the junction with Lingey Lane in a easterly then northerly direction and then continuing on the westbound carriageway of the A184, Felling Bypass to a point 37 metres east of the junction with Heworth Roundabout. 
  • Local buses
A694 Spa Well Road The inside lane of the northbound carriageway from a point 89 metres south of the centre point of the roundabout at its junction with Hexham Road / Shibdon Road in a south-westerly direction for a distance of 558 metres
  • Buses
  • Pedal cycles
  • Hackney carriages
  • Authorised vehicles
High Street, Gateshead The outside lane of the northbound carriageway from a point 248 metres north-west of its junction with Jackson Street in a north-westerly direction for 30 metres
  • Buses
  • Pedal cycles
  • Hackney carriages
  • Authorised vehicles
High Street, Wrekenton The eastern lane between its junctions with Springwell Avenue and Wrekenton Row
  • Buses
  • Pedal cycles
High Street, Wrekenton The western lane from a point 15 metres north of its junction with the northern kerbline of Wrekenton Row in a northerly direction for 11 metres
  • Buses
  • Pedal cycles
West Central Route A184 The inside lane of the northbound carriageway from a point 97.5 metres north-east of the junction with Mulgrave Terrace in a north-easterly then northerly direction for 163.5 metres, then continuing in the central lane of that highway in a north-westerly direction for 34 metres
  • Buses
  • Pedal cycles

General queries may be sent to BusLaneEnforcement@gateshead.gov.uk, although communications regarding the Traffic Regulation Order must be dealt with in line with the statutory process once it is advertised.

Whilst care has been taken to ensure accuracy, in the event of any conflict between the information contained here and a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) or legislation, then the provisions of the TRO or legislation will prevail.

Contact us

Traffic Planning Section
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street
Gateshead
NE8 1HH

Email: BusLaneEnforcement@gateshead.gov.uk