New York To Crack Down on Bus Lane Blocking Violations

The city hopes to improve the speed of its notoriously slow buses by using traffic cameras to ticket drivers who drive or park in dedicated bus lanes.

2 minute read

September 8, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

“Despite New York’s 140 miles of dedicated bus lanes, other large U.S. cities put it to shame when it comes to average bus speed,” writes Danielle Muoio Dunn in Politico, with some buses clocking in at half the average speed of other major cities. “Despite having dedicated access, vehicles parked in bus lanes continue to mar the city’s efforts to dramatically improve speeds and service reliability.”

Now, the city plans to use traffic cameras to issue citations for the notoriously common practice of blocking bus lanes. “During a 20-minute ride along the entire 42nd Street bus lane on a Thursday afternoon in August, POLITICO counted 11 vehicles idling or parked in the busway — including a UPS truck, taxis and SUVs and a commercial delivery van. One car used the bus lane to cut ahead of the gridlock traffic in Times Square, temporarily blocking access as it attempted to merge back into the crowded lane.”

After convening at a Transit Improvement Summit, transit officials committed to installing 50 additional cameras in bus lanes. “Meanwhile, the MTA recently awarded a contract to California tech startup Hayden AI to mount 300 more cameras on buses — bringing its automated enforcement program to 473 buses by the end of this year.” In 2021, the camera program captured more than 600,000 violations.

The article notes that “The tickets have an impact. Less than 20 percent of drivers who are issued a bus lane violation go on to commit another, according to the MTA, which started tracking the data in 2019 when it began mounting cameras on buses. Only 8 percent of motorists have gone on to commit more than two violations.”

Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in Politico

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