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Drivers beware: MTA activates bus lane enforcement cameras along Jamaica Avenue

Nov. 13, 2023 By Bill Parry

The MTA has activated the bus lane enforcement camera on the Q54 route in southeast Queens.

The NYC Department of Transportation will issue warning notices to violators during the first 60 days on implementation

The Q54 route is now the 21st bus route to have Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) cameras activated on its route and it is the fifth activation by the MTA so far this year. ABLE cameras capture drivers violating bus lane rules in real time and are aimed at deterring motorists from blocking these lanes to improve bus service and reduce collisions.

The Q54 Route travels along the Jamaica Avenue busway and serves approximately 12,000 riders.

“Faster bus service means everything. It means people can get to their destination faster, make that subway connection easier, and ABLE cameras help us accomplish this,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said. “ABLE cameras help send the message to drivers who try to drive outside the lines — it takes drivers just one or two violations to stay in their lane, which also helps reduce accidents, keeping New Yorkers both safe and on the move.”

The MTA announced that bus lane law enforcement cameras have been activated along the Q54 bus route along Jamaica Avenue.Courtesy of NYC DOT

The average speed on the Q54 route is 7.4 mph. ABLE enforced routes have seen improvement of speeds of approximately 5%, with an average 20% decrease in collisions, and most motorists who receive a notice or violation are unlikely to become repeat offenders.

Based on previous data collected, only 8 % of drivers receive more than two summonses for violating the rules of a bus lane. This is indicative of ABLE cameras’ effectiveness in influencing driver behavior.

“Automated Bus Lane Enforcement cameras have proven to be a useful tool in improving bus speeds throughout the city,” said New York City Transit Senior Vice President of Buses Frank Annicaro. “These cameras will now help the thousands of New Yorkers who rely on this route every day to get to where they need to go faster. We will continue to work with our partners at NYCDOT to expand this program beyond the bus lane.”

Each bus lane corridor with ABLE camera coverage has signage indicating the hours that the bus lanes are operable and advises drivers that the lanes are camera-enforced. Drivers who violate these rules during enforcement periods are subject to a summons, with fines beginning at $50 and escalating for repeat offenders up to $250.

Since implementation of ABLE in October 2019, NYCDOT has issued 328,000 violations through September 2023. With the activation on this route, the MTA will have 623 buses equipped with ABLE cameras on 21 routes across Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and Queens. Locations were determined to maximize the length of bus lanes covered, balance distribution between boroughs, address some of the newer bus lanes, and incorporate input from the MTA and NYC DOT on known locations with issues.

ABLE camera systems capture license plate information, photos and videos, together with location and timestamp information. This information is then transmitted to NYC DOT for review and processing. The program is administered in partnership with NYC DOT and the New York City Department of Finance.

“Unless you are a bus operator, you shouldn’t be driving, standing, or parking in our bus lanes. These new bus-mounted cameras will make service faster and more reliable for thousands of daily riders,” NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said. “Automated enforcement has been a proven tool to change driver behavior and we’re proud to collaborate closely on our bus lane camera programs.”

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