Bus lane rules
A bus lane is a section of road that is reserved either all day or between specific times for the use of buses (and pedal cycles, motorcycles, taxis and authorised vehicles, where indicated by the signs).
Bus lanes are created using Traffic Regulation Orders under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. This allows us to place various restrictions on roads within Gateshead such as limiting the use of some roads to certain types of vehicles.
Who is allowed to drive in a bus lane?
Signs in each bus lane will show which vehicles are permitted to use them.
The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 prescribe the standard signs and markings that must normally be used in bus lanes. For vehicles where no standard symbol is specified, the words "authorised vehicles" will appear on the sign. If you do not know whether the vehicle you are driving is authorised to use a bus lane, you are advised to assume that it is not.
Where a bus lane is not in continuous operation, the days and times of operation will be displayed on the signs. Where no days or times are shown, the bus lane is in force 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including public holidays.
Do bus lanes create more congestion?
For many roads in Gateshead the demand for road space is significantly higher than the ability to supply sufficient road space at peak times. Therefore we aim to reduce congestion by providing realistic alternatives to the car, for example, by making public transport more accessible and efficient and by making cycling and walking easier and safer, encouraging the public to use these alternative modes of transport. All schemes are considered in relation to following factors:
- Impact on user amenity - including consideration of the local environment as well as movements
- Impact on parking
- Impact on servicing
- Impact on traffic speeds
Bus lane enforcement
Gateshead Council have been granted power to enforce bus lanes under the Transport Act 2000.
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
For more information on bus lane enforcement, including permitted vehicles and which bus lanes are subject to civil enforcement, visit the bus lane enforcement page.