New York City Launches Bus Lane Ticket Cameras

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
new york city launches bus lane ticket cameras

Automated cameras will begin issuing tickets to the owners of vehicles that momentarily stray into bus lanes in New York City, New York beginning Monday. The cash-strapped metropolis imported the idea from London where a similar system generated 293,000 citations and more than £35 million (US $56 million) in 2008. New York’s bus lane tickets will run between $115 and $150 each.

The project marks one of the first uses of automated enforcement in the United States that drops the pretense of being a safety measure. The stated purpose of the new cameras is to give buses a travel priority over automobile traffic.

“We have already been able to speed up travel times along First and Second Avenues by more than 15 minutes and these cameras will help to further improve service,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Jay H. Walder said in a statement.

By reducing the space available to general purpose traffic with the bus lanes, city officials also hope to add to the already considerable amount of congestion so that motorists would be encouraged to exchange their personal automobiles for public bus rides. The initial cameras are located on First and Second Avenues. Additional automated ticketing machines are planned for 34th Street in Manhattan and Fordham Road in the Bronx. The number of ticketing machines is likely to grow quickly as London employs 1045 bus-mounted cameras and fifty static roadside units for its highly lucrative program. Tickets in the UK frequently go to motorists who are tricked by confusing signage or who are making turns into parking lots.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg promoted the idea to the state legislature and secured approval for his plan.


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  • ExPatBrit ExPatBrit on Nov 19, 2010

    I live on the Eastside too redmondjp. We like to blame those Seattle liberals but IMHO the traffic is bad in both directions . There's that little "mom and pop shop" owned by some guy called Bill that seems to generate horrendous backups from Seattle. I would love to see these at the airport for the people who loiter in the "no parking" area and generally gum everything up. There's a free cell-phone lot a block away.

  • ABC-2000 ABC-2000 on Nov 19, 2010

    There was a failed legislation to charge cars entering Manhattan below 96 st, Bloomberg was fighting for it for some time but it did not work out so well. So, we have permanent street closures in mid town, bicycle lanes all over the city and there are more plans to close streets for cars (34 st bet 6 and 7 ave). On the other hand, if you come to the city after 6pm, you can park right in time sq on 6 hour meters, very convenient, come before 6p and it's a nightmare. To my humble opinion, anything the city is doing to drive private cars out of the city in mid week is a good thing, you could see the results of such thing when the MTA went on strike, it was so much fun to walk the streets. I'm driving into Manhattan every day for work, I do have a parking garage and I will never go into midtown with my car during the week, it's just insane and the subway provide a much quicker solution. I'm for it !

  • Tedward Tedward on Nov 20, 2010

    I live right at the top of 1st ave. right now, and so I drive alongside these lanes every day. The issue will be how they deal with turns off of the road, merges onto the FDR, or up top, people bearing right onto the Willis ave bridge. As it stands now you have to wait too long before moving right, or else you eclipse the end of the painted bus lane. This might not seem like a big deal, but you try hesitating when 50 psychotic uptown NY cabbies are driving into your rear bumper. People will get tons of tickets while trying to obey the law and driving safely, that's my take, you can already see it every day. This would be a big deal if it wasn't for NY's shameful kangaroo court system. For all that everyone seems to despise (myself included) the camera ticket inspired changes to due process few seem to realize that this is already the case in NY, and for tickets issued by actual officers. You get a ticket in NYC, even if the cop fabricates the entire exchange, and well, screw you pay me is what you'll hear. No jury, threats of inflated points and fines, license suspension, all delivered at the begining of proceedings, just to keep you from having any notion that you might say not guilty. Re: insurance. NY camera tickets aren't pointed (as yet), but the city gives insurers open access to their ticket databases (lawsuit please). Points will start being assigned once the administration feels like they've got this system in the bag. I know people who've lost coverage for receiving red light tickets, despite not having points assigned.

  • Greg Locock Greg Locock on Nov 21, 2010

    While I don't really have much to say about the cameras I though the line " vehicles that momentarily stray into bus lanes in New York City, New York beginning Monday" should be highlighted as a silly bit of rabble rousing. Drivers who "momentarily stray" across lanes should be charged with careless or dangerous driving or the equivalent. So giving them a fine is letting them off lightly.

    • Tedward Tedward on Nov 22, 2010

      Yeah, but if you don't "momentarily stray" from your lane at least once a block in NYC traffic you will get sideswiped. Especially on the north-south avenues with timed lights, but that really applies everywhere. Taxis, delivery trucks and idiots veer off to double park willy nilly, and accepted lane change practice is just do it and let everyone else sort out the braking end of things. Police do it, school buses do it, city buses do it (and cause a good percentage of it), it's part and parcel of driving in NY. Hell, in a lot of places lanes are really just a suggestion, and frequently you'll see long stretches of road without any visible lines at all, when you know damn well there are at least 4 lanes. The worst part is, if you plan on making a turn and you don't get over to the far side as quickly as possible, you will get boxed out, and you will not be turning, and that's what makes the bus lane cameras a pure money grab. The rules really are different in NY (I think it has to do with the number of drivers who learned the art out of country), but I would wholeheartedly agree with your statement if we were talking about a different place.