NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday announced a crackdown on illegal parking in bus lanes.
The initiative is designed to speed up buses, with a goal of increasing bus speeds by 25 percent by 2020 using increased enforcement and street redesign. There will be dedicated NYPD teams towing cars parked in bus lanes in all five boroughs.
"It shouldn't be so hard to get around the greatest city in the world," de Blasio said. "Buses are a critical link in our public transportation system, but too often they are painfully slow. I hope all New Yorkers get the message that we have to keep bus lanes clear to get people moving and to work on time."
The mayor noted that, on average, buses only move at 7.4 miles per hour. And in busy commercial districts, the average speed is less than 4 mph.
Bus ridership is down across the city as riders avoid trips and choose faster, more reliable modes of transportation.
WATCH: Mayor, NYPD announce crackdown on illegal bus lane parking
In addition to the efforts to increase NYPD enforcement, as part of "Better Buses for All," the mayor announced the following:
Redesigned Bus Networks
--Work with the MTA to optimize the bus network in every borough, work that began last year in Staten Island and will expand to the Bronx in 2019, and pursue street redesigns to improve bus movement and maximize the effectiveness of the new networks
--Press the MTA to restart the SBS program and continue adding SBS routes every year, allowing NYC to fulfill our October 2017 commitment to add 20 SBS routes citywide, doubling the current number of routes
Streets for Buses
--Perform street projects across the city to benefit 600,000 daily riders citywide in 2019
--Install bus lanes at an average of 10-15 miles per year, up from current pace of 7 miles per year
--Upgrade 5 miles of existing citywide bus lanes per year with extended hours, restricted turning, and piloting up to 2 miles of physically separated lanes in 2019
Give Buses Green Lights
--Add traffic-signal priority at 300 intersections per year, doubling the number of intersections where buses get green lights.
--Better Boarding and Rider Experience
--Improve rider experience by pressing for all-door boarding and off-board fare collection, and making bus stop improvements
--Advocate for expanded camera enforcement