Blocking a bus lane? Hefty fines are in effect on this Brooklyn route
Motorists caught illegally blocking Brooklyn’s B44 Select Bus Service lane will now be hit with hefty fines reaching as high $250, the MTA announced on Monday.
All buses on the B44 SBS route, which runs from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay, are now equipped with the transit agency’s new Automated Bus Lane Enforcement system located on the front of the bus. This is the first bus line in the borough to be equipped with the technology.
The on-board cameras will supplement the Department of Transportation’s aerial cameras positioned on stoplights along the route.
Motorists who remain in a bus lane without exiting at the first possible right turn will be ticketed by the DOT cameras, while cars caught parked or idling in the same location by two successive buses will be fined by the ABLE system.
“Automated bus lane enforcement is a critical part of our plan to increase bus speeds, because transit priority improvements do not work if motorists do not respect their purpose or abide by traffic laws,” said MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “We need to give our buses every fighting chance to get through the city’s congested streets.”
The new system was implemented on Oct. 30, but the MTA agreed not to fine drivers during a 60-day grace period. From Oct. 30 to December, the system captured roughly 7,000 potential bus blockers.
The cameras are also in use on the M14 SBS and M15 SBS routes.
A first offense is $50, while the second is $100. They continue to increase by $50 per offense, up to $250.
Customers on other bus lines will also benefit from the on-board cameras since the B44 SBS dedicated lane is also used by the B44 and B49 local routes.
Riders have long complained that without enforcement, buses get snarled in traffic, causing straphangers to endure longer commutes. New York City buses are the slowest in the country, averaging only 8 miles per hour.
“Bus lane cameras help more than two million riders get ahead every day,” said Danny Pearlstein of Riders Alliance. “They’re essential to putting buses first on our crowded streets. Camera enforcement is a helpful nudge to drivers to stay in their own lane.”
A bill was signed into law in June that removed a limit on the number of automated enforcement cameras in New York City. State law had previously limited camera enforcement to just 16 routes across the city, but the new legislation now permits enforcement wherever bus lanes are in effect.
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