NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA is looking to crack down further on drivers who block bus lanes and calling on enforcement expansion to be included in the state budget.
MTA officials held a news conference on Friday to discuss plans to expand its automated bus camera program.
The MTA is already using onboard cameras and software to photograph violators in bus lanes -- catching their plate numbers and mailing $50 tickets.
Transit President Rich Davey says enforcement needs to be expanded.
"That's what we're looking to do is to get folks who shouldn't be in a bus lane and shouldn't be in a bus stop out of there."
A bill in the New York State Legislature would make the camera enforcement program in bus lanes permanent and give the MTA and Department of Transportation the ability to enforce certain traffic violations that impede buses.
The bus-related traffic restrictions would include:
-No Standing Zones in bus lanes and at bus stops
-Double parking in bus lanes
-Parking in bus lanes and at bus stops
-Turning in bus lanes
The MTA says its data shows when most drivers get a ticket for blocking bus lanes, they usually don't repeat the offense.
Over 224,000 violations have been issued since camera enforcement was implemented on bus lanes, and only 5% of violators have committed more than two violations.
The M15-SBS route was one of the first bus routes to implement the enforcement cameras in October 2019. Authorities say today, the M15-SBS is the fastest route that travels entirely on local Manhattan streets. Collisions on the route have gone down 34% since implementation.
"While larger initiatives like congestion pricing will truly help speed up buses throughout the city, camera enforcement is a tool at our disposal right now that has proven to be effective," said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. "I applaud elected leaders for proposing legislation that would expand camera enforcement beyond the bus lane, allowing us to speed up buses now, so that New Yorkers who rely on the bus can get where they need to go faster."
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