Traffic cameras find permanent home on Muni buses

A program that uses cameras mounted on the front of Muni buses to ticket drivers illegally parked or blocking transit-only lanes in San Francisco will become permanent.

Governor Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he signed Assemblyman David Chiu’s bill (AB 1287), which would allow to cameras to continue to issue tickets to violators.

Chiu said in a statement that the Transit Only Lane Enforcement program (TOLE) will help make Muni buses run faster and more reliable for transit riders:

“Muni has to go faster than 8 miles an hour. As we increase service on Muni and our economy continues to grow, we have to make sure that our transit system can operate efficiently and reliably.”

The program was first approved in 2007 with the help of then-Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, who authored the legislation and sponsored to reauthorize the pilot in 2011. At the time, more than two dozen Muni buses had the cameras, but now all of Muni’s buses have the cameras.

Forward-facing cameras on Muni buses capture license plate information and send out tickets to drivers illegally parked in a transit-only lanes. Drivers can get $110 ticket in the mail if caught by one of the cameras, according to a list of traffic fines published by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

San Francisco now has about 26 miles of transit-only lanes throughout The City, mostly painted in red, to inform and discourage drivers to not drive in the lane, Chiu said.

Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation, said in a statement that the program will allow to keep the lanes cleared for Muni buses:

“With more than two dozen miles of transit-only lanes throughout San Francisco, we have made significant progress in how we move Muni in our most congested corridors. This legislation will allow us to ensure that these transit-only lanes are kept as clear as possible.”

The San Francisco Transit Riders Union chair Thea Selby said in a statement that she appreciated Chiu’s bill to make Muni run faster:

“This legislation keeps other traffic from obstructing transit-only lanes, which is already helping to accelerate the slowest transit system in America.”