Cameras placed along Q44 Select Bus Service route

By Madina Toure

The city Department of Transportation has started issuing bus-lane violations, based on camera surveillance, along the Q44 Select Bus Service route that runs from the Bronx Zoo through Flushing to Jamaica.

The DOT had put out warnings based on the cameras to motorists for a 60-day period before beginning to levy fines on Monday.

Now motorists who drive or stand in the bus lane during designated hours will receive $115 violations. Each corridor has signage indicating the hours that the bus lanes are operable and that the lanes are camera-enforced.

The 60-day warning period was mandated by state law when the cameras were first operated to make sure that drivers understood the program. Since violations are issued against the vehicle, points are not taken off of drivers’ licenses.

A DOT spokesman said the hours for existing bus lanes on the Q44 SBS route vary based on the location and design, with some in effect at all times and others only in effect during daytimes or rush hours.

In response to concerns by Borough President Melinda Katz and community leaders such as Community Board 7 Chairman Gene Kelty and Dian Yu, executive director of the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District, the spokesman said all bus violations are reviewed and issued only by trained DOT employees.

Camera enforcement is also in effect along six other streamlined bus routes in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The state authorization authorizes the expansion of the city’s bus-lane camera program to 16 total routes. Additional SBS routes will be added over time. The agency also works with the NYPD to enforce bus lanes citywide through traditional methods.

Kelty said he wants more information about the enforcement process and how many red light camera pictures are taken.

“I would like to know how many camera lights, red light infractures happened since they instituted the policy of enforcement,” he said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.