MTA Press Releases

Press Release
December 6, 2019
MTA Bus-Mounted Camera Program Begins Issuing Bus Lane Violations on M15 SBS Route

Bus Lane Violators on 1st & 2nd Avenues Now Subject to Graduated Fine Structure up to $250 

Bus Speeds on M15 Route Increase Up to 34% Since Oct. as a Result of Automated Bus Lane Enforcement Program 

NYC Transit Launches Bus Lane Awareness Campaign – View “Are You a Bus?”  Ads Here


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that the 60-day warning period for bus lane blockers on the M15 Select Bus Service route ends on Friday, Dec. 6, and motorists who are caught by the MTA’s new bus-mounted cameras will now receive violations with fines up to $250. 

The forward-facing cameras on buses serving the M15 SBS route on First and Second Avenues in Manhattan were implemented on Oct. 7. State legislation mandated a 60-day grace period before violators are fined for standing or parking in the bus lanes. Since camera enforcement on the M15 began, there have been improvements in bus speeds on First and Second Avenues, with increases of up to 34% in some segments.  The primary indicator of bus reliability, Wait Assessment, is at 76.7% on the route – the highest it’s been for the past 15 months. 

Enforced bus lanes are key to improving bus service, and to heighten awareness of their use, NYC Transit is launching an awareness campaign targeted to motorists. The new campaign features “Are you a bus?” posters noting that “Bus lanes are for buses,” which will be posted on the backs of the buses equipped with ABLE camera systems. The posters will be installed on those buses this month, and the campaign will continue as NYC Transit expands the ABLE program. NYC Transit is working with the NYC DOT to implement transit priority across the city, including the recently announced City commitment to 50 miles of protected bus lanes annually for the next five years. 

“Keeping bus lanes clear is key to improving bus service and traffic flow for everyone,” said Craig Cipriano, Acting MTA Bus Company President and Senior Vice President for Buses of NYC Transit. “After 60 days of warnings and lots of reminders on the First and Second Avenue bus lanes, we are moving forward with tough love: Stay out of the bus lane, or you’ll pay for it.” 

“DOT has committed to speeding up buses citywide – and to get there, we need to continue stepping up automated bus lane enforcement,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “The new enforcement cameras on the buses will complement DOT’s fixed cameras already along the route -- further helping us keep bus lanes clear and allowing tens of thousands of commuters who rely on the M15 a faster, more reliable ride from the Financial District to East Harlem.” 

NYC Transit is currently using the Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) system on buses serving the M15 SBS, B44 SBS and M14 SBS routes. The B44 SBS travels on approximately 10 miles of dedicated bus lanes through Brooklyn, while the M14 SBS uses bus lanes on 14th Street as well as NYC DOT’s Truck and Transit Priority lanes. Motorists who remain in a bus lane without exiting at the first possible right turn, or are captured as blocking the bus lane at the same location by two successive buses, are considered to be violating traffic laws and will be ticketed. 

The ABLE camera systems capture evidence such as license plate information, photos and videos, as well as location and timestamp information, of vehicles obstructing bus lanes to document clear cases of bus lane violation. The system collects multiple pieces of evidence to ensure that vehicles making permitted turns from bus lanes are not ticketed. This information is transmitted to NYC DOT for review and processing, and the program is administered in partnership with NYC DOT and the NYC Department of Finance. Beginning Dec. 6, motorists who are caught by the bus-mounting cameras blocking bus lanes on First and Second Avenues will be subject to a fine of $50 for the first violation. For additional violations within a 12-month period, fines are $100 for a second offense, $150 for a third offense, $200 for a fourth offense, and $250 for a fifth violation and each subsequent one within a 12-month period. 

While NYC DOT has been using stationary fixed-position cameras on streets for years to capture vehicles that do not make the first available turn off a bus lane, the MTA’s bus-mounted cameras capture vehicles standing for long periods or parked in a bus lane. The two systems complement each other and work in tandem to ensure that violators are not fined twice for the same offense. NYPD provide additional enforcement through its Clear Lanes initiative, which uses traffic enforcement agents, tow trucks and ride-alongs with NYCT Bus personnel to target bus-lane blocking hotspots.  

The bus-mounted ABLE systems are installed on 123 MTA buses across the three bus routes. The proposed 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan includes $85 million for further expansion of the program.  

Bus lanes and their enforcement have proven to improve bus speeds in highly congested areas, helping to double bus speeds while increasing other vehicle speeds by 5 percent on a portion of Fresh Pond Road in Queens, increasing bus speeds by as much as 19 percent on a portion of Fifth Avenue and as much as 30 percent near the Manhattan approach of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel. Close collaboration with NYC DOT is a key element of NYC Transit’s Fast Forward plan to improve bus service, improve bus speeds and attract new ridership. Other strategies include redesigning each borough’s bus network to better meet customer needs, installing traffic signal priority technology at intersections and on buses and replacing the existing fleet with new state-of-the-art buses with improved reliability and amenities.

Representative Carolyn Maloney: “Reliable and quick public transportation is critical to most New Yorkers,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12). “I applaud the City and the MTA for implementing the ABLE camera systems program to keep bus lanes clear and mass transit moving.  In my congressional district, we’ve already seen the program working to speed up buses and reduce wait times.”

Senator Liz Krueger: “Public transit is the lifeblood of New York City and our entire region, and buses are an integral part of the system. I am very pleased to see bus-mounted camera enforcement already having an impact on speeds. Drivers have now had plenty of warning – if you park or drive in the bus lane and slow down the service that vast numbers of New Yorkers rely on every day, you will pay the price, literally.”


Senator Brad Hoylman: “More than 15.5 million people ride the M15 Select Bus Service each year — and those numbers can grow if we continue improving service along this bus line. I’m pleased bus lane violations along the M15 SBS route will start being issued, so motorists and transit riders alike can experience the best possible traffic flow. I’m glad the MTA, NYC Transit and the NYC Department of Transportation are all working together to improve bus service for all New Yorkers.”

Council Member Benjamin Kallos: “I love bus lanes when they work. There’s nothing like speeding past block after block of cars parked in traffic as you get where you are going fast and feeling good about minimizing your carbon footprint. Riding the M15SBS without running into a vehicle in the bus lane is getting easier and faster for the 43,343 people that ride it each day. Drivers who consistently block bus lanes are learning that now there are consequences and automated enforcement on buses is working. Thank you to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for putting this into place and improving how we get around.”  

Council Member Keith Powers: "When bus lanes are used as intended, we all get where we are going faster. I am glad NYC Transit is doubling-down on their efforts to keep bus lanes clear for buses."