Buses Work Best on Car-Free Streets, MTA Data Shows - StreetsBlog


MTA officials said on Monday that bus lane cameras are speeding up snail-like service along congested corridors, but in the same announcement, the agency ended up emphasizing a strategy that works best, yet is so rarely instituted: getting cars out of the way of buses entirely.

In a new analysis issued on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the MTA said that its enforcement cameras on just three Select Bus Service routes — the M15 and M14 in Manhattan and the B44 between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn — have issued 9,110 tickets or warnings to drivers blocking bus lanes between Oct. 7 and Dec. 31.

Bus travel speeds are up on all three camera-enforced lines — but they are up dramatically along only one route: the car-free 14th Street busway, which didn’t even get camera enforcement until late November.

The data:

The busy M15 route along the East Side of Manhattan, where 6,910 tickets and warnings have been issued since Oct. 7, December bus speeds were 1.5 percent better than they were during the same month of 2018. Real tickets began being issued on Dec. 6.

The busy B44 route, where 2.090 tickets and warnings have been issued since Oct. 30, bus speeds in December were 2.8 percent faster than the same month of 2018. Real tickets began being issued on Dec. 29.

But, wow, bus speeds along the car-free portion of the 14th Street busway are up 55 percent — even though cameras have only issued 110 warnings since Nov. 21. Actual tickets will start being issued on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

And ridership along the M14 is up 19 percent on weekdays and up to 25 percent during the morning rush hour, the agency said, without providing an update on ridership along the other two camera-enforced routes.

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