STATEN ISLAND, NY — Like it or not, automated enforcement cameras have become a part of everyday life in New York City.
Each day, thousands of speed, red light and bus lane cameras issue violations to drivers breaking the law, whether they’re exceeding the speed limit, running a red light or blocking a bus lane during designated hours.
Here on Staten Island, drivers are far more accustomed to being ticketed by speed cameras and red light cameras, with both issuing millions of dollars worth of fines on a yearly basis.
However, barely any bus lane camera violations have been issued on Staten Island, and the reason why is quite simple — there are only two fixed bus lane cameras in the entire borough, according to an analysis of city data.
Both of the fixed bus lane cameras are located along Hylan Boulevard, one in the eastbound direction at Midland Avenue and one in the westbound direction at Jefferson Avenue.
From June 11 through Oct. 13, the last date currently available on the city’s Open Data portal, the two Staten Island bus lane cameras issued just 216 violations, compared to 227,072 violations issued by bus lane cameras throughout the other four boroughs.
Of course, part of the reason for this massive discrepancy is that Staten Island only has a total of four bus lanes, which are located portions along Hylan Boulevard, Father Capodanno Boulevard, Victory Boulevard and Richmond Avenue.
A representative from the Department of Transportation (DOT) would not confirm whether the city has existing plans to install additional bus lane cameras on Hylan Boulevard, or add bus lane cameras to any of the other three locations, but explained that the department will continue to engage the community as it expands automated bus lane enforcement.
“We are using every available tool to ensure our bus lanes remain clear and for buses only. Bus lane cameras, like speed cameras, have been effective tools at keeping drivers in their lane. We will continue to work alongside our community partners as we continue expanding bus lane cameras throughout the city,” said DOT spokesman Tomas Garita.
While additional fixed bus lane cameras may not be coming in the near future, more violations are expected to be issued throughout the borough starting in late December with the addition of bus-mounted cameras.
On Friday, Dec. 30, the Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) cameras that have been installed on the MTA’s S79 SBS buses will officially begin issuing violations.
The cameras capture license plate information, photos and videos, along with location and timestamp information, which are sent to the DOT for review and processing, with fines being issued by the Department of Finance.
The S79 cameras were activated on Oct. 31, but has only been issuing warnings during a 60-day grace period to alert drivers of the new program before any fines are assessed.
However, that grace period will soon come to an end, with the cameras set to start issuing fines on Friday, Dec. 30.
Fines start at $50, escalating by an additional $50 with each subsequent offense, up to a maximum of $250 per violation. The same fine structure is in place for bus lane violations issued by fixed cameras.
Violations are only issued during bus lane operating hours, which vary by bus lane.
On Hylan Boulevard, the bus lanes are in effect on weekdays from 6 to 9 am eastbound and from 3 to 7 pm westbound.
On Victory Boulevard, the bus lanes are in effect on weekdays from 7 to 9 am northbound and from 4 to 7 pm southbound.
On Father Capodanno Boulevard and Richmond Avenue, bus lanes are in effect at all times, meaning drivers can be ticketed at any time of day.
OTHER STATEN ISLAND STORIES
Bipartisan calls to extend the HOV lane on the Staten Island Expressway grew louder
Staffing issues force the Staten Island Ferry to run reduced service over 100 times in 2022
MTA opens new hurricane-resilient Staten Island Railway maintenance shop in Clifton
Watch drivers navigate new traffic patterns on the Staten Island Expressway