Starting on Oct. 7, the MTA will be using a new automated bus-mounted camera system to help prevent motorists who block bus lanes, also known as bus blockers.
The automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) system will be put on 51 buses that travel on M15 SBS in the bus lane. It will also help initiate a new graduated fee structure for bus blockers.
The new cameras will help capture evidence of people bus lane violations. The cameras are able to pull photos and videos, license plate information, and location and timestamp information. ABLE will also show evidence that vehicles making legal turns from bus lanes are not ticketed.
The information from this new system will go to the New York Department of Transportation for review and processing. Additionally, the NYC Department of Finance will be involved.
If a motorist blocks the bus lanes during the initial 60-day grace period, they will be given a warning without a fine. After the grace period is over, drivers who continue to block bus lanes will be charged $50 for their first offense.
If motorists continue to violate the within the 12 months time span, they will be charged $100 for a second offense, $150 for the third, $200 for the fourth and $250 for the fifth violation. Beyond five violations, motorists will continue to be charged $250 per violation within the 12-month period. Each violation also has a $25 late fee.
Craig Cipriano, Acting MTA Bus Company President and Senior Vice President for Buses of NYC Transit said in a press release that, “A graduated fine structure shows how serious we are about keeping bus lanes clear as we strive to improve service for customers and speed up everyone’s rides.”
Additionally, Cipriano added, “The message will be crystal clear: If you’re a repeat bus blocker, you will be penalized accordingly.”
The ABLE system will expand to busses that travel to B44 SBS and M14 SBS by November. The ABLE system will eventually be deployed on 123 buses across three different routes. The new MTA Capital Plan will include $85 million to expand the program.