Reporting Stan Brooks
NEW YORK (CBS New York) - If you’re caught driving in the new special bus lanes on Manhattan’s 1st and 2nd Avenues expect to pay dearly.
The bus lanes are clearly marked but as CBS 2 HD’s Derricke Dennis reports the lanes are now also being monitored by video cameras.
“It’s a huge problem and, I think you could say it’s an age-old problem,” says MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin.
The M15 Select Bus Service uses streetside kiosks to dispense tickets, which much be purchased before boarding.
If you’re caught on camera in a bus lane during restricted hours, you can be fined by mail for between $115 and $150. You’re also not allowed to off-load anything in the lanes during posted hours.
LINK: Details from the MTA
You can, however, drop off or pick up a passenger by the curb if there’s no alternative (like around the corner), but you have to be fast.
If you need to make a right turn by using a bus lane, you’re allowed anywhere along the block from which you’re turning. Just don’t stay in the lane.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the cameras are watching.
“I think they will be a deterrent for drivers,” says Kelly. “It’s a pretty hefty summons and I believe the system is going to work.”
Drivers are simply going to have to adjust to the new reality and, in the end, traffic should move faster and better, speeding up travel by an estimated 15 minutes in some cases.
The MTA says the city’s 2.8 million bus riders deserve an unimpeded ride.
“We’re starting this small right now,” says MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin. “We have the ability to use the cameras on select bus routes. But the hope is when people see how effective it is, we’ll be able to spread it to the whole system.”
This may take some getting used to and a couple of New York lawmakers want to help.
A news conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the corner of 1st Avenue and East 14th Street to go over the new guidelines.