Muni plans to add more bus-mounted cameras

SAN FRANCISCO

The SFMTA will get a status report Friday on what's called the Transit Only Lane Enforcement Program.

Forward-looking cameras run continuously as buses roll through San Francisco's streets, looking for people parked in bus-only lanes. Much like red light cameras and bridge toll cameras, a license plate is captured and then a ticket is sent in the mail.

"Our bus system goes about eight miles an hour," said Paul Rose, SFMTA spokesperson. "That's one of the slowest transit systems in the country. That is a problem and we're trying to address that."

The pilot program on 30 buses, covering about 15 miles mostly in Chinatown and the Financial District, might not have had an impact on traffic yet, but it has on revenue. The number of citations has grown from more than 1,300 to more than 3,000, translating to a revenue increase from $187,000 in 2009 to $314,000 in 2012.

The state has approved extending the program to 2015 and expanding it to all Muni buses.

"With limited resources for enforcement we have to think out of the box, and what this latest legislation allows us to do is to do that and install these cameras on buses to make sure we can enforce as much as possible," said Rose.

By the middle of next year, Muni expects to have 1,000 buses equipped with these cameras.

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