East Side SBS Shaving 15 Minutes Off M15 Trips; Bus Cams Go Live Monday

This just in from the MTA and NYC DOT. Select Bus Service has shaved off between 12 and 16 minutes of travel time on rush hour runs along the M15 corridor from 125th Street to South Ferry. That’s before the debut of camera enforcement.

Update: Here are some more specific numbers on trip times from the MTA press office. All the figures compare total travel times on the old M15 Limited to the new Select Bus Service.

  • The 7:30 a.m downtown run used to take 88 minutes, now it takes 76
  • The 5:00 p.m. downtown run used to take 85 minutes, now it takes 69
  • The 7:30 a.m uptown run used to take 75 minutes, now it takes 62
  • The 5:00 p.m. uptown run used to take 76 minutes, now it takes 62

Update 2: The cameras are positioned on light poles and DOT can relocate them as needed along the route. DOT expects to install 20 cameras as part of the initial deployment. The program will continue to grow from there, within the limits spelled out in the enabling legislation, which capped the number of routes where cameras will be allowed at five.

Here’s the press release from the agencies:

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman/CEO Jay Walder today announced that bus lane camera enforcement of the new, exclusive Select Bus Service bus lanes along First and Second avenues will begin Monday to further enhance bus service and speed travel for the 54,000 daily riders of the M15.

“SBS is redefining East Side transit,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Dedicated lanes and paying before boarding are already speeding buses, and now camera enforcement will give M15 customers a VIP ride.”

“The City’s 2.8 million bus riders have been held hostage for far too long by motorists who routinely block bus lanes, and these cameras will send a clear message that bus lanes are for buses only,” MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder said.  “We have already been able to speed up travel times along First and Second Avenues by more than 15 minutes on the M15 and these cameras will help to further improve service.”

The State Legislature authorized camera enforcement this year along Select Bus Service routes. Under the City traffic code, vehicles are permitted to enter a bus lane only to make the next available right turn or to expeditiously discharge or pick up passengers. Any unauthorized use of the bus lanes is subject to a $115 violation.

Five cameras have been installed along First and Second avenues, with additional locations to be activated in the coming months. Bus lane camera footage will be viewed by DOT, which will issue a $115 Notice of Liability (NOL) for vehicles improperly traveling in the lanes. The NOL will be adjudicated by the NYC Department of Finance. In addition to First and Second Avenues, cameras will be installed in 2011 on 34th Street in Manhattan and Fordham Road in the Bronx.