Bus lane laws: The rules and what to do if you get fined

Car Advice    Carl

(Photo Credit: AsiaOne)

Stop-and-go traffic, jams and tricky road turns make bus lanes all the more tempting when it comes to getting past those kiasu drivers and reaching your destination on time. But now, buses fitted with video cameras and traffic wardens stationed at bus lanes wait to strike with that hefty $130 fine- Not worth it. Better to be safe than sorry and risk getting a hefty fine. Here are some key notes to take to avoid getting summoned, and tips on how to appeal if you do.

Let's start with the rules.


Types of Bus Lanes

The first thing to note are the 2 types of bus lanes:

(Photo Credit: One Motoring)

Marked by a single yellow line, normal bus lanes are reserved solely for approved vehicles during peak hours with periods in between for normal motorists to use. Full day bus lanes, which are the same except for another red line, operate throughout the morning peak hour to evening peak hour without the period in-between.


Operating Hours

Days Normal Bus Lanes Full-Day Bus Lanes
Mondays-Fridays 7.30am - 9.30am
5pm - 8pm
7.30am - 11pm
Saturdays None 7.30am - 11pm
Sundays & Public Holidays None None

You can get the list of Normal and Full-Time bus lanes here.

Since 2nd June 2008, buses that drive along routes with bus lanes were fitted with video cameras to record bus lane offenders. Traffic wardens have also been deployed at hotspots islandwide where buses have been obstructed to record license plate numbers of those who infringe bus lanes. You may have saved some time using the bus lanes, but luck may not always stay on your side.


Do's and Don'ts

If you find yourself near or inside bus lanes during restricted hours, know what you can and cannot do to avoid getting summoned.

Do not drive in the bus lanes.

Filter in and out only at dotted bus lanes.

Stopping, picking up or letting passengers alight along bus lanes is not allowed.

(Photo Credit: One Motoring)

If you drive a bus (scheduled and non-scheduled), you can use bus lanes. However, non-scheduled buses such as school or factory buses are not allowed to stop, drop off, or pick up passengers along the bus lanes. Other than buses, vehicles such as emergency vehicles, polices vehicles and bicycles are also permitted to use the bus lanes.


What Happens If You Get Fined and What to Do

Punishment

If you have been caught and fined, you would face a hefty fine of $130, the same as the fine one would get if they do not give way to buses exiting bus stops in the Mandatory Give-Way to Buses Scheme. Rest assured, the fine does not come with any demerit points.

However, if you refuse to pay the fine, you could face a Court fine up to $1000 or 3 months of imprisonment (if this is your first time convicted in court and if your offence is not compounded).

What To Do

In many cases, offenders have been caught in bus lanes out of sheer bad luck and misdirection. Jams, turns too close to the bus lane and unfamiliar roads are all common reasons people wrongly use the bus lanes even without intending to do so. If you are part of this group of people, you might have a strong case to appeal and waive the fine! If you are a first-time offender, there is also a possibility that they may waive the fine.

If so, try these tactics recommended by offenders to maximize your chance of getting a second chance!

Firstly, try to contact them as soon as possible. Their processing and reply periods are uncertain. You can even try to make the way down in person to try to appeal, and if unsuccessful, pay the fine on the spot.


When Writing the Appeal

Be sincere, sound repentant and apologize while appealing for the waiver. If you are a first-time offender, assure them that you will not repeat the same mistake. If you do have some issues with payment of the fine, such as insufficient funds, it could be something to add on in your appeal to help them understand your plight better.

If your offence was due to uncontrollable circumstances like jams, unfamiliar roads and turns too close to the bus lanes, say so! You have a strong case, and can even ask them to cite the details and ask them to review the evidence.

However, if your offence was with necessary reason such as rushing to the hospital with your wife in labor or a situation where time is of the essence, then state so- perhaps they would empathize and turn a blind eye. Do not make it a sob story though, it just makes your appeal seem like a lie to evade the fine.

If you need some reference for how it should go, search it up. There are a range of formats and examples from past offenders hoping to help fellow drivers in the same situation.

Stay safe and drive smart!

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