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

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- 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.

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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.

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