Nov. 15, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Vehicles that illegally encroach onto a bus lane along a section of Merrick Boulevard in southeast Queens will be hit with fines starting later this month, the Dept. of Transportation announced Monday.
The DOT has installed cameras along a 6.4-mile bus lane along Merrick Boulevard, from Hillside Avenue in Jamaica to Springfield Boulevard in Laurelton. Only buses are permitted to use the lane and the DOT will begin issuing fines for violations on Nov. 22.
The automated bus lane cameras will be active from Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A single-vehicle violation will cost $50 with fines increasing to as much as $250 for a fifth offense. Violations are issued against vehicles, not drivers.
New signage indicating that the bus lane is camera-enforced has already been put in place, according to the DOT.
The DOT started issuing warning letters on Sep. 21 to motorists illegally using the bus lane. The warnings have been part of an effort to help drivers get ready for the change.
The bus lane between Hillside Avenue and Springfield Boulevard is part of Mayor de Blasio’s Better Buses initiative that aims to improve bus speeds in the city and increase ridership levels.
“Our message is clear – if you block a bus lane, not only are you slowing down the commutes of 94,000 bus riders, but you’ll be getting fined as well,” DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman said in a statement. “Be a good neighbor and stay out of the bus lanes!”
The Q4, Q5, Q84, Q85, N4 and N4X bus routes go through the Merrick Boulevard corridor. It will become the 30th corridor in the city to have automated camera enforcement.