Paging Mayor de Blasio — Fix Your Bus Lanes

If good bus service was a priority for de Blasio, City Hall wouldn't let NYPD vehicles and delivery trucks obstruct bus lanes all over the city.

Video still via TransitCenter
Video still via TransitCenter

For a mayor who campaigned as a champion of economic fairness, fixing NYC’s ailing bus system should be a no-brainer. The city’s buses are the slowest in the nation, and the delays and disruptions affect low-income New Yorkers the most.

Bill de Blasio can directly influence the quality of bus service — unlike subway service — by prioritizing transit via the streets and traffic signals his administration manages. But the city isn’t accelerating the pace of bus lane implementation. And if you go out and observe the bus lanes that have already been painted, they’re a mess.

This video posted by TransitCenter this morning shows bus lanes across the city obstructed by delivery vehicles, taxis, and especially NYPD:

The footage brings home how little effort City Hall puts into keeping bus lanes clear.

While 13 of 15 Select Bus Service routes have camera enforcement, the cameras are stationary as opposed to mounted on buses, so motorists can figure out where they’re located and avoid detection.

There’s also very little incentive for delivery companies to avoid specific infractions thanks to the city’s Stipulated Fine Program, which essentially gives them a bulk discount on parking fines.

Then there’s the city’s enormous supply of parking placards, which amount to carte blanche to block bus lanes for the privileged class who have them — a cohort that’s growing larger thanks to de Blasio.

And of course, law enforcement officers are setting a terrible example for everyone else.

These are not intractable problems. If the mayor cares about New Yorkers who ride the bus, he can solve them.

  • NYCBK123

    Hear hear! Keep it up.

  • walks bikes drives

    The bus lane on Lexington Ave in the high 70’s is blocked by placard holders, but not DOT placards. It’s blocked by Lenox Hill Hospital placards. All doctors, because they are all luxury vehicles.

  • Andrew

    In other words, we’re not talking about people who can’t afford to pay to park in a garage.

  • walks bikes drives

    Exactly.

  • Hugh Shepard

    Why not just protect the bus lane with planters or concrete blocks? That would really disincentivize people from using the bus lane for delivery or parking.

    Oh, but the curbside bus lanes used for parking during weekends and nights. Useless!

    As for moving violations, why not install cameras on busses? I bet it wouldn’t cost too much, and would be politically viable for NYC. Is there a stupid state law that bans that kind of thing?

  • reasonableexplanation

    Planters and blocks right at the edge of the lane without widening it would end up slowing the buses down like traffic calming.

    Yes many bus lanes are no longer bus lanes off peak. This is fine, as many places get pretty desolate at night, but this should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

    Cameras on buses might work, but unless the image recognition software is really good, would probably end up ticketing tons of cars legally entering the bus lane to make a turn onto a side street. Maybe a non automated ticketing system would work, where the bus driver has a “snap picture, send ticket” button that they can press when someone is in the lane illegally.

  • Sfgeoninja

    Keep up the pressure!

  • Reggie

    I bet the MTA could hire staff other than the bus driver to take pictures and later issue tickets and the new positions would be at worse revenue-neutral.

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