MTA Touts Bus Lane Cameras in PR Blitz

The MTA is advertising that camera enforcement is live on Select Bus Service routes on NY1.com.
The MTA is getting the word out about camera enforcement on Select Bus Service routes.

After a long legislative battle, the MTA wants you to know about the automated enforcement that will be keeping Select Bus Service lanes clear of traffic.

“Good News,” trumpets an e-mail blast sent out by the MTA yesterday. “New York City and the MTA have teamed up to use cameras to strictly enforce designated bus-only lanes and help speed trips for bus riders.” The message went out to what appears to be a broad e-mail list; at least one recipient we spoke with doesn’t recall having ever received other e-mails from the MTA.

The MTA is also advertising online. “Riding the bus costs $2.25,” reads a banner ad spotted at the top of the NY1 website. “Driving in the bus lane costs $115. Bus lanes will now be camera-enforced.” Both the e-mail and the ad send you to this page on the MTA’s website, which concisely explains the need for bus lane enforcement and Select Bus Service more broadly.

You can imagine that the MTA and NYC DOT are excited to finally be able to have this important enforcement tool at their disposal. Bus riders and transit advocates also have reason to celebrate. Camera enforcement has been a long time coming. Two years ago, legislation to authorize the MTA to use bus lane cameras was smothered in the Assembly Transportation Committee. The Assembly allowed bus cams to pass this year in what was reportedly a deal with the MTA, when the transit agency folded on its request for state support for student MetroCards.

Though the state legislature okayed the use of cameras to enforce SBS lanes in June, enforcement wasn’t slated to start until this month. The timing was designed to give drivers on First and Second Avenue a short grace period to get used to the new bus lanes on those streets.

In London, a similar automated enforcement system is credited with improving bus speeds 12.6 percent. We’ll be checking in with the MTA and the city DOT to see how effective the cameras turn out to be.

Update: This post originally indicated that camera enforcement is live on Select Bus Service routes. We have since received conflicting reports and are looking to confirm that the automated enforcement is up and running.

  • JK

    Very amusing, “Camera enforcement has been a long time coming. Two years ago…” Is this a typo and you actually meant to write 10 years ago? Transportation Alternatives and Straphangers were in detailed discussions on this with the MTA and the state legislature at least that long ago, and Tri-State Campaign was writing about it 15 years ago. Yes, we had buses back then, bus lane blockers too. Likewise, the seeds of tomorrow’s progress are being planted now.

  • Sharon

    As someone forced to drive in Brooklyn, bus lane enforcement with camera’s is a great news. That may sound counter to the interests of drivers. it is not as 99% of drivers follow the rules and are put in danger by the 1% that does not. More automated enforcement is needed, thus time to police bus stops. Camera’s mounted in front of the bus issue ticket to the rude who block bus stops.

  • ChrisC

    If they’re actually going to enforce driving in the lane illegally, it makes it all the more stupid the rule that you can drop off/pick up passegners in the lane. That does far more to slow buses than even driving in the lane does. If you need to drop off/pick up someone, use the other side of the street or a cross street. Bus lanes should be for BUSES ONLY. Period.

  • Sharon, you should know that camera enforcement is currently only authorized for Select Bus lanes. You might want to drop a line to your Assemblymember asking them to allow camera enforcement of any bus lane or stop.

    In the meantime, there’s a meeting Monday night at Brooklyn College about bringing Select Bus Service to Brooklyn. You should go; there will probably be lots of people there trying to protect their precious parking spaces from better bus service.

  • J. Mork

    Sharon, if someone is forcing you to do something, there could be a crime being committed. Have you talked to a lawyer or the police?

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