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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