Bus lanes are lanes with specific rules about which vehicles can use them. There are four types of bus lane:
- Bus-only lanes
- Bus lanes
- Bus and transit
Bus-only lanes are part of existing roads but designed only for buses. No other vehicles are allowed to use the lanes except to turn into or out of a side road or driveway or to cross them to park.
A busway is a dedicated road for buses that is separated from other lanes, for example, the Northern Busway north of Auckland. Only buses and service/maintenance vehicles are allowed to travel on the lanes.
Fines for using bus lanes
If you ride or drive in a bus-only lane the infringement fine is $150.
When can you drive in a bus lane?
You can drive in a bus lane if:
- the bus lane is only active between certain times and it’s outside those times
- you are driving a vehicle allowed in the bus lane (e.g. motorbikes can ride in standard bus lanes)
- you are driving an emergency vehicle such as a police car, ambulance or fire engine and you are responding to an emergency with lights and or sirens operating
- you are making a left turn to enter a driveway or side street, in which case you can drive in the bus lane for up to 50 metres
- the road is blocked due to an accident or road works
- you are driving a wide vehicle and you need to use the bus lane because your load is wider than one lane.
- a person is signalling to turn right and is either slowing down or stopping and you wish to overtake them on the left. Confirmation can be found in the legislation: 2.3(3)(a)(iii) and (b) grant you permission to drive in a lane that would usually be unavailable to you if there is a road obstruction, assuming it’s safe. 2.8(2)(b) clarifies this.
If you are turning out of a driveway or side street, or you are turning right into a side street then you can cross a bus lane.
You can’t park in a bus lane.
When are bus lanes in force?
Unless they have signage, bus lanes operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How far can you drive in a bus lane?
You can drive for 50 metres if you are turning left into a driveway or side road or to pull into a parking bay that’s not part of the bus lane.