MTA installs bus lane cameras: Here's how the ACE program works

The MTA is cracking down on NYC drivers occupying the bus lanes by installing cameras that will automatically give drivers tickets. 

This initiative is called Automated Camera Enforcement (ACE). The MTA said ACE will be on 14 bus routes across Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. 

"ACE is key to getting buses running faster and safer for the riders who rely on them to get where they need to go," New York City Transit Interim President Demetrius Crichlow said. "I’m grateful for the dedicated efforts from our partners at the New York City DOT to work with us to get this done." 

ACE is a modified version of a program that started back in 2019 where the MTA says caused accidents and emissions to both significantly drop.

"The number of accidents between a bus and vehicles is down 20 precent at locations where there’s enforcement. If that doesn’t say we should be doing this, there’s not another target," said Crichlow.

How does ACE work? 

The ACE program has been implemented on 623 buses across 14 routes in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. 

This system captures cars that violate bus stop rules, which slow down traffic and create safety hazards for riders.

"In addition to targeting the bus lanes, given those who are stopping for an expanded period of time inside of a bus lane it also targets those outside of the bus lanes," said Demetrius Crichlow, the interim president of New York City Transit.

The MTA reports that activating enforcement cameras results in a 5% increase in bus lane speeds, a 20% decrease in collisions, and a 5-10% reduction in emissions on average.

The Department of Transportation announced that for the first 60 days, drivers will receive warning notices before fines are imposed. These fines will range from $50 to $250.

MTA officials said only 9% of drivers commit another bus lane violation after being fined.

List of bus routes with now-enforced ACE cameras:

  • B44 SBS
  • B46 SBS
  • Bx12 SBS
  • Bx19
  • B62
  • Bx41 SBS
  • Bx36
  • M14 SBS
  • M15 SBS
  • M23 SBS
  • M34 SBS
  • Q44 SBS
  • Q54
  • Q58

How are New Yorkers reacting to the news?

A grandmother and her 3 grandsons after a few bus trips every day know what makes, the ride go smoothly.

"The bus is nice and quiet and stuff and going fast," they told FOX 5

When vehicles are double-parked holding up bus lanes, that's when that smooth bus ride turns into a slow drag, which creates a pretty common complaint among commuters.

"Often almost every day, and it causes delays and everyone has to move around the bus, it’s a hot mess," one commuter, Clarissa told FOX 5.

The newer cameras can capture wider angles and include more lanes which could clear congestion for bikers like Ting who sometimes have their lanes cluttered with double parked cars as well.

"Typically, I see that drivers rather park on the street side than the bike lane side, but I think it should be enforced for sure," Ting said.

After that first ticket, most tend to get the message as just 8% of violators received three or more tickets and only about one in five people received a second ticket.

"They should, and I think people would stop cause now you’re going to get ticketed, you know," Clarissa added.

Tickets start at $50 and can climb up to $250.

The MTA said by the end of 2024, there will be 1,023 ACE equipped buses across 33 routes.