Drivers of personal vehicles may soon start receiving penalties when they drive in bus lanes. This move is according to the announcement released by the MTA. The agency has said that it has mounted cameras on buses to help law enforcement officers identify offenders.
The agency will issue fines of various for these violations depending on the circumstances surrounding each violation. For example, a first offender will receive a milder penalty as compared to a driver who has violated the law severely. The city will penalize will drivers who use the B44 Select Bus Service route.
The law enforcement agency had issued a 60-day warning period, which effectively ended last Monday. During the warning period, drivers were encouraged to practice driving on other lanes apart from those set aside for buses. Now, officers will impose fines of up to $250 to drivers who are found blocking or parking in bus lanes. It is not clear what the minimum fine will be.
On October 30, the MTA implemented he cameras on buses along the B44 SBS. The cameras operate round the clock and are proofed against the elements. After the camera implementation phase, the agency organized an awareness campaign to enlighten New Yorkers on the new regulation.
During the awareness period, drivers showed appreciation of the new regulation. The agency encouraged drivers to desist from stopping, driving, parking, or otherwise blocking the bus lanes. MTA informed participants of the importance of allowing buses to operate uninterrupted. For example, officials showed data on how efficiency increases when bus speeds increase.
Officials at the enforcement agency have expressed optimism that the new law will increase bus efficiency and speeds. Some officials observed that data indicates an overall increase in the speeds of buses plying the route. They stated that bus speeds along segments of Nostrand avenue improved by 4% while that of buses along sections of Rogers avenue improved by a whopping 17%.
The camera started on along the B44 SBS route and expanded it to the M15 Select Bus line in Manhattan. The first few tickets were raised along East 59th Street and First Avenue at starting 10.00 a, m. The agency observes that it will roll out the camera program in the next year to various other city lanes that have bus routes.
The Acting President of MTA bus, Craig Cipriano, stated that the agency wanted to build on this program but making all drivers stay out of bus lanes. He added that the 60-day trial period saw more than 15,000 violations and thousands of warnings issued to motorists.
If this program’s success so far is anything to go by, the economy of the city will improve, thanks to increased bus efficiency. At the moment, the average speed of buses along the M15 route is just 4.8 miles an hour. This rate is not any faster than an adult’s brisk walk.
Drivers are allowed to make crossings on bus lanes at intersections. However, the cameras can capture any vehicle stopping on bus lanes or bus stops for more than the allowable five minutes. After that, the motorist will be ticketed.