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MTA Activates Bus Lane Enforcement Cameras on the Q54 Route

New York City Transit
Updated Nov 8, 2023 12:00 p.m.

Fifth Activation of 2023, 21st Overall

NYCDOT to Issue Warning Notices to Violators for First 60 Days of Implementation 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the activation of automated bus lane enforcement (ABLE) cameras on the Q54 bus route in Queens. The Q54 is the 21st bus route to have ABLE cameras activated on its route and is the fifth activation by the Authority this year. ABLE cameras capture drivers violating bus lane rules in real-time and is 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.

The average speed on the Q54 route is 7.4 mph. ABLE enforced routes have seen improvement of speeds of approximately 5 percent, with an average 20 percent 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 percent 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.

“Faster buses mean everything. It means people can get to their destination faster, make that subway connection easier, and ABLE cameras help us accomplish this,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “ABLE cameras help send a 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.”

“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.”

“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,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Automated enforcement has been a proven tool to change driver behavior and we’re proud to collaborate closely on our bus lane camera programs.”

Upon implementation of ABLE cameras on the Q54, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) will issue warning notices to motorists for the first 60 days, in accordance with State law, to ensure drivers are informed about the program before any fines are levied. 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 NYCDOT 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 NYCDOT for review and processing. The program is administered in partnership with NYCDOT and the New York City Department of Finance.

The MTA is committed to extending the benefits of this program. For instance, the bus camera enforcement project received approval through the NY State Budget to begin ticketing violations to double-parked vehicles as well as vehicles illegally parked at bus stops effective May 2024. The budget approval allows the MTA to establish a demonstration program over a four-year period to bring the speed increases and safety benefits of bus lanes to entire bus routes.