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MTA To Begin Monday Using Mounted Cameras To Catch Cars In Bus Lanes

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Starting Monday, cars traveling in M15 bus lanes on Manhattan’s First and Second avenues will be photographed by new bus-mounted cameras.

It’s part of the plan to reduce traffic and increase bus speeds in the city.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says 51 buses that travel in dedicated bus lanes on the M15 Select Bus Service route are being equipped with the Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) camera systems. The cameras can capture photos and videos of vehicles that obstruct bus lanes, and the information is then passed along to the city’s Department of Transportation for review and processing.

According to the MTA, the system collects multiple pieces of evidence to make sure that drivers will not receive tickets for making permitted turns from bus lanes.
Car owners will only receive warnings during the first 60 days the system is in use, but after that, motorists who continue to block bus lanes will be fined. The fines begin at $50 for a first violation and goes up to $250 for a fifth violation and each subsequent offense.

On Sunday, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner saw multiple cyclists in a bus lane, but the DOT said the cameras will not issue them tickets. Only the NYPD can enforce that.

Rozner then spoke to passengers and drivers about the cameras.

“I think it’s fantastic. Let’s keep the buses moving,” passenger Scott Manville said.

“There’s always traffic on the main avenues, so I actually think it’s a good idea. So maybe it’ll stop people and deter them,” passenger Alissa Sheldon added.

“I have mixed emotions about it. I just got a speeding ticket by mail and I felt sort of violated because I couldn’t fight it,” said Gina Corey of the Upper East Side.

“Keeps the traffic moving, keeps people going, keeps New York moving. Just get the bicycles out of the way,” Neil Feinstein said with a laugh.

Some drivers said they worry the technology will create an unfair system.

“It’s not fair. You can’t tell them you had to stay to pick up someone or drop off someone or sometimes to avoid any accidents you had to go to the lane and come back,” driver Jafarr Rakhmatov said.

The MTA plans to expand the ABLE system to the B44 SBS and M14 SBS by the end of November for a total of 123 ABLE-equipped buses across the M15, B44 and M14 routes.

Source: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/10/06/mta-automated-bus-lane-enforcement-system-fines/

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MTA inspector general says four Long Island Rail Road workers padded overtime

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Four Long Island Rail Road workers who ranked among the highest earners in the MTA last year padded their overtime pay by claiming more than $140,000 in “excessive and unsubstantiated” travel time for driving to and from assignments, according to the MTA’s inspector general.

The four, foremen in the track and structures division of the railroad’s engineering department, made $650,836 in total overtime last year, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny stated in a letter dated Sept. 26 to LIRR president Phillip Eng.

The foremen received an estimated $146,800 combined in “questionable travel time payments” for 2018, highlighting a broader problem of inadequate management oversight, unreliable documentation of employee time and attendance, and lax supervision, according to Pokorny’s letter.

“We conclude that this has been a very costly and wasteful practice, brought about by years of managerial neglect that allowed a small group of workers to take advantage at taxpayer expense,” Pokorny wrote in the letter.

Eng, in a statement Wednesday responding to Pokorny’s letter, said the railroad “takes very seriously any confirmed abuses” and will seek to recover money that was not properly earned by the accused workers.

Only one of the four was identified by Pokorny — Raymond Murphy, 65, who retired last year and was accused in a separate inspector general’s investigation about cheating the railroad by claiming he was working when he was at or near his East Northport home. He made $280,950 in 2018.

The revelations come as several agencies, including federal and Queens prosecutors, continue to investigate potential overtime abuse among LIRR workers. The concerns of fraud stem from an April report by the Empire Center for Public Policy that revealed alarmingly high overtime rates among some workers. The MTA paid $418 million in overtime in 2018, up 16% from the previous year.

Source newsday.com

By Alfonso A. Castillo

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MTA New York City Transit Launches ‘Clean Slate’ Redesign of Brooklyn Bus Network

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Public Outreach Begins with Series of Community Open Houses to Gather Information on Customer Travel Patterns and Priorities

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Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

today announced the first series of public open houses this fall as part of a comprehensive redesign of the Brooklyn local and express bus networks, which will redraw the entire borough’s bus routes for the first time. This historic undertaking will use public feedback, multiple sources of data and analysis, and a thorough review of demographics and upcoming developments to create a bus network that reimagines service for 650,000 Brooklyn bus riders.

As part of the Fast Forward plan to modernize and transform New York City Transit services, NYC Transit is seeking to transform the entire city’s bus networks to speed up rides and improve bus service. Most of the city’s current bus routes were implemented decades ago, with many replacing old trolley lines from the turn of the 20th century. NYC Transit will redraw those routes to take into consideration the vast changes in usage, ridership, demographics and development the city has seen. Goals of these historic redesigns include providing bus service that runs more frequently and serves more customers throughout the borough’s major corridors. To achieve such goals, Transit will look for ways to straighten routes that are excessively circuitous, limiting redundancy while adding service where needed, and bolstering off-peak service and coverage.

MTA will thoroughly review all local, Select Bus Service, and express bus routes in Brooklyn. Planners and MTA officials will also conduct an analysis of current and future market needs, travel trends, and current bus performance and reliability. Collectively, this work will help identify enhancements such as new routes, changes to service frequency, transit priority treatments, or bus priority signaling technology. MTA staff met with the Brooklyn Borough Board in early October to provide details on public outreach and the redesign process that will take place over the coming months. Public feedback from meetings, surveys conducted in person and online, and public input sessions will help inform this process, which is scheduled for completion in 2020. Each step in the process will incorporate opportunities for public comment, including community meetings and workshops. A draft plan will undergo its own round of public outreach before a final plan is proposed, and that final proposal will also be accompanied by a round of public outreach when it is released in late 2020. The final plan will be subject to public hearing and an MTA Board vote before it can be implemented.

NYC Transit has scheduled 10 open houses to inform customers and Brooklyn residents about the project’s goals. The community is encouraged to attend and share their priorities for Brooklyn’s new bus network. Members of the public will work in tandem with MTA bus planning experts to consider factors such as frequency of service in high-ridership areas, ensuring adequate service throughout the borough and balancing bus stop spacing. Transit personnel will also conduct rider surveys at bus stops and online through a dedicated project website.

In addition, MTA personnel will be on site at locations across Brooklyn to provide information about the open houses, answer questions about the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign and to help customer submit surveys online.

 

OUTREACH CALENDAR

 

More information about the redesigns is available here: new.mta.info/system_modernization/bus_network

A dedicated website on the Brooklyn redesign with the accompanying online survey, where customers can find reports as they are released, is available here: new.mta.info/brooklynbusredesign

Information about the Bronx redesign is available here: new.mta.info/bronxbusredesign

Information about the Queens redesign is available here: new.mta.info/queensbusredesign

 

 

ABOUT THE BROOKLYN BUS NETWORK:

  • 63 local routes serving approximately 640,000 weekday customers
  • 9 express routes serving approximately 9,000 weekday customers
  • The borough’s local bus ridership has declined 14% between 2016 and 2019
  • Brooklyn express bus ridership has declined 10% between 2016 and 2019
  • Bus speeds boroughwide are currently 7.7 mph, a decline of 3% since 2016

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Ferry frustrations -New York taxi scheme crippled drivers across the country — Erie County race a national bellwether

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York City ferry system inspires a particular derision among a certain set of the city’s transit devotees. But who could hate transit that offers open air, a river breeze, skyline views and serves beer?

The issue, even transit advocates say, is that the city has sunk a huge pot of money into the ferries, which carry a tiny number of people when compared to the subways and buses. Newly-released data confirms ferry riders tend to be white and upper middle class.
As our Dana Rubinstein reports today, New York operates the second most heavily subsidized urban ferry system of its size in the country, trailing only New Orleans. The subsidy adds up to a hefty $9.34 for each ride.

Still, the city throws wads of cash at a lot of things, so what’s the beef with the ferries, which at least offer New Yorkers and tourists a new amenity? As with so many things, part of the problem may lie with de Blasio’s rhetoric. The mayor framed the new ferry system as part of the solution to the larger transit crisis, even though it carries too few people to make a dent. He called it a way to tackle historic “inequities,” even though the evidence suggests its riders are not disadvantaged.

While the mayor does not control the MTA (periodic reminder: Gov. Andrew Cuomo does), advocates would like to see him lavish as much attention and, more importantly, money on changes to city streets that would improve bus service, which is used by exponentially more riders.

If you accept the premise that the ferries are a problem, what’s the solution? Some would like to see the city keep the boats going, but charge more than $2.75 and free up money for other transit needs. Still, de Blasio is boxed in by his pledge to make the ferries affordable by pegging their cost to the subway fare. If he faces some backlash now, a move to hike the fare would surely spark a backlash of its own.

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