Lane drain: B44 to start issuing violations for bus lane blockers

EXCLUSIVE: Express yourself! MTA wants select bus between Bushwick and Downtown
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It’s time for drivers to stay in their lane!

Motorists caught blocking the B44 select bus service lane became subject to violations on Monday, after a 60 day grace period following the installation of bus-mounted cameras came to an end. 

“Our message is loud and clear, bus lanes are for buses,” said Craig Cipriano, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s bus czar. 

Motorists caught on bus mounted cameras blocking Brooklyn’s first dedicated bus lane will receive a $50 fine for their first violation, with the penalty increasing by $50 up to $250 for recidivist scofflaws who are caught multiple times during a 12-month period. 

Bus czar Craig Cipriano at a bus-lane awareness announcement. MTA

Since bus mounted cameras were first activated at the start of the 60 day grace period, B44 cameras captured over 7,000 violations in the lane that runs up Nostrand Avenue from Sheepshead Bay through East Flatbush and Crown Heights to Williamsburg. Bus speeds have increased up to 17 percent in sections of the route since automated enforcement began, and that was before drivers were even issued fines. 

Cameras will work to capture vehicles that drive in bus lanes without taking the next available right turn, and those that remain parked in lanes for extended periods of time — cars captured by two separate bus cameras in the same position will be ticketed. 

Bus lane enforcement has been proven to speed up buses on congested thoroughfares elsewhere around the city, such as on First and Second avenues in Manhattan, where travel times on the M15 have been cut by as much as 40 percent in some sections. 

The B44 is Brooklyn’s second-busiest bus route after the B46, and the first in the borough to get the dedicated bus lane treatment. When the lane was first implemented back in 2013, commute times were cut by up to 20 percent in some areas, despite initial concerns from local electeds over congestion

Speeding up buses is a key component of New York City Transit bigwig Andy Byford’s Fast Forward plan which aims to modernize the city’s aging transit infrastructure.