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San Francisco Enlists Bus Cameras For Traffic Law Enforcement 151

Posted by timothy
from the move-along-citizen-and-watch-your-mail dept.
Lashat writes with news that San Francisco's Muni bus system has outfitted 30 buses so far with "cameras capable of snapping photos of vehicles illegally traveling or parking in The City's transit-only lanes," and that 15 months from now, all of Muni's 819 buses will be equipped with the cameras: drivers caught on tape violating the bus lanes will be subject to fines of up to $115. 'The cameras have been instrumental in changing driver behavior. When cars see a bus coming, they get the hell out of the way now,' said John Haley, transit director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni. Now for the scary part: 'We're starting to get a lot of experience with cameras,' said Haley. 'With all the footage, I'm starting to feel a bit like Cecil B. Demille.'"
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San Francisco Enlists Bus Cameras For Traffic Law Enforcement

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  • Peterbilt parking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:46AM (#39004905)

    Drivers are parking in bus lanes? Man, but these people are desperate. I always thought a solution to the parking nightmare in SF and elsewhere would be to modify those car carrier semi trailers so they could be used as mobile mass parking in some fashion; build upwards, in other words. Might block the view from somebody's Queen Anne though, so scratch that.

    • Re:Peterbilt parking (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:01AM (#39004975) Homepage Journal

      The solution to car problems in SF is to get rid of cars. That moves the problem domain but I can't think of how many times I've thought of how fucking great SF would be without all those damned cars everywhere. Maybe just push them out of the city center, don't allow people to drive in the marina either, et cetera. As it is, it's just another noisy collection of imbeciles that it takes ages to get across at traffic time.

      • by sco08y (615665) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:51AM (#39005301)

        The solution to car problems in SF is to get rid of cars.

        But that leads to the real problem, which as it turns out, is that people who own cars get to vote, too.

        Yeah, even in San Francisco! They actually think they've got "rights" or something like that. Nuts, isn't it?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          But that leads to the real problem, which as it turns out, is that people who own cars get to vote, too.

          Even further, people with cars often have jobs, significant income, pay taxes and have influence with elected officials.

        • "is that people who own cars get to vote"

          You must be new to SF politics, it's not operated as a democracy.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is such a real problem that one person created http://www.iamabutthole.com/ [iamabutthole.com]

      • Re:Peterbilt parking (Score:5, Informative)

        by adenied (120700) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @12:30PM (#39005577)

        Not having a car in SF is great if you live near the Market St. tunnel and need to get somewhere on that stretch of the city. Otherwise it's pretty horrible. Sure there's buses and Muni Metro trains that will get you most places, but due to the layout of the city it will generally take you 3x longer to get somewhere via mass transit than driving. As long as this is the case people will keep their cars, even when there's horrible traffic.

        That and in many cases Muni buses will be extremely late or bunched up. It's not rare to see Nextbus saying 30+ minutes and this during what are peak travel times. For me it's often faster to walk if the distance is less than 2 miles. This is not an option for a lot of people unfortunately.

        Also, what do you do if you live in SF but regularly leave the city? Mass transit is OK for specific things, but Caltrain and BART can only get you so far. I work in Mountain View but will soon need to commute to Campbell a day or two a week. To take mass transit I'd have to take multiple Muni buses or trains or take one and walk a mile, take Caltrain, and then get on VTA somewhere in South Bay. At best my commute will be 2 hours one way and if there's any hiccup and I miss the 5 minute transfer window between Caltrain and VTA it's closer to 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When I can drive down 280 in an hour or so this becomes unacceptable as much as I would prefer to be on a train.

        As long as the transit options in the Bay Area are as poor as they are cars will be a necessity for many people. SF would be awesome without them but I just don't see it as feasible. Makes me envy everyone I know who lives in London and NYC.

        If we had transit like NYC or London then I'd be all about getting rid of cars.

        • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @12:57PM (#39005745)

          Kick out the cars and I bet the citizens will vote in proper transit funding right quick.

          • by adenied (120700)

            With what funding though? They'd be more likely to vote cars back in than raise the necessary tax revenue fund the amount of change that would be necessary in San Francisco alone. That and if it was underground stuff being built it would take forever. They're building a two mile or so extension to the underground trains that will be done in like 2018 or something. And I still have no idea who's actually going to use it.

            And look at the BART extension around the bay that was funded. I have no idea when that w

        • Also, what do you do if you live in SF but regularly leave the city? Mass transit is OK for specific things, but Caltrain and BART can only get you so far. I work in Mountain View but will soon need to commute to Campbell a day or two a week. To take mass transit I'd have to take multiple Muni buses or trains or take one and walk a mile, take Caltrain, and then get on VTA somewhere in South Bay. At best my commute will be 2 hours one way and if there's any hiccup and I miss the 5 minute transfer window betw

          • by adenied (120700)

            Take transit 4 days a week and drive on the day you commute to Campbell?

            It'll actually be work from home 3-4 days a week and drive to Campbell the other days. But yeah that's looking like the most viable option. To the point of the OP though, that would be difficult if I couldn't have my car in the city.

            Although maybe a better idea would be for the cities on the Peninsula to become livable enough so that people don't feel a need to live in SF and commute an hour to two hours a day.

            I lived in Cupertino for a

          • by dbc (135354)

            Although maybe a better idea would be for the cities on the Peninsula to become livable enough so that people don't feel a need to live in SF and commute an hour to two hours a day

            Um.... typing this from Sunnyvale. Personally, for me living in SF would be Hell on Earth. Different people have different definitions of 'livable'. Not that Sunnyvale is Nirvana, I'd rather live some place like Mariposa. But at least in Sunnyvale I have easy access to places liked Halted and Weird Stuff Warehouse and life's other fundamental necessities.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I hear what you're saying, I lived in Bernal Heights and worked at the foot of Potrero Hill and it took an hour and a half to get there on MUNI, about an hour and a quarter to walk it, or fifteen minutes to drive including parking. But I really don't think you could make MUNI useful without getting all the cars off the street.

          I love driving, I really do, but I just don't think cars have a place in cities, especially city centers. I'd like to see them replaced with typical public transportation options immed

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And so speaks some utterly clueless twenty something hipster. A life style tourist who spends 5 or 10 years here going to college, partying, "working" at some non-profit non-job but who then discovers that when they actually want to grow up and get a real life that all the politically trendy bien pensant policies they have been pushing so hard while living in the City means that there are no real jobs, housing is ludicrously expensive due to no growth policies and the public schools and services are worthle

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        But think of all the car workers, the supply chain workers and the awesomer feeling of having your own Trans-Am.
        Thats the trade most parts of the world made -car jobs vs quality of life.
        Now comes the cash flow to rebuild the cities with bus lanes, trams, light rail, underpasses... at wonderful private sector rates from tax payers.
        As for the camera push, expect real time registration plate OCR with a nice data stream building up a massive profile of everyday traffic.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          But think of all the car workers, the supply chain workers and the awesomer feeling of having your own Trans-Am.

          I had the even awesomer feeling of having my own lowered IROC until it was stolen from under my window with the alarm set. Probably should've had it installed out of the city, I guess. You get what you pay for.

          Thing is, driving around the city is shit, even when it's faster than MUNI. Parking is difficult and/or expensive. Pedestrians behave more randomly than psuedorandomly. The roads are crap, which is OK in the country where there's room to dodge (I'm not happy about it out here in the boonies either, bu

      • by SvnLyrBrto (62138)

        Great idea.

        Once city hall fixes MUNI so that:

        1) They actually bother to follow their published schedule.
        2) Said schedule is structured in such a way that it takes no longer than 20% longer to get anywhere I need to go, any time I need to get there, than it does now by car.
        3) They're scheduled with such frequency that there will always be room to comfortably get on board with two bags of groceries.
        4) They get rid of all of the graffiti, mysterious liquids and smells, and the general trouble causing riffr

    • by eyenot (102141)

      There are numerous problems with that idea. For instance, you can't just load and unload cars freely. The car hauler has to park the cars onto the carrier furthest-in first, and drive them off in reverse order. There's no way to get a car out from behind the other cars without moving them all. You end up with (albeit periodic and momentary) a need for enough space to accommodate almost all the cars, after all.

      You could modify the car carrier, but how? You can't have some ramp poking out from the side, it wo

      • Maybe the cars could park on tables that would slide out to free up those that are in the middle. Somehow. Doesn't address the problem of freeing up those on a 2nd tier...maybe a forklift? We're getting really complex and hence expensive, but it seems people are ready to pay whatever it takes to get a spot. Whenever I've been in SF I've always been quite horrified at the lengths drivers have to go to get around or park.

        I suppose they're maxed out on parking garages. In her novel the Lathe of Heaven Urs

    • people park in bus stops valet as well

    • by swalve (1980968)
      I have to say, for as much I have paid in parking violations, upping enforcement and charging higher rates has made parking better in my city. It used to be a nightmare- you couldn't find street parking anywhere, because people would monopolize spots all day. I'd have to park in a garage, with their ridiculous rate structures ($10 for the first 10 minutes, $26 for 10-60 minutes and $32 for all day) just to run a quick errand. Now I can plunk my $3.50 into a meter and go on with my life.

      I remember when I
      • And I think a Dutch company had a computerized version of that system, where you'd pull into a garage, park on a pallet thing, and the computers would store the car-pallet above and below grade. I think you could put in an expected ETA so the computer could store the car efficiently. It's a good solution for areas with high real estate costs, because you aren't wasting half your space on access ramps.

        The Japanese have something like this throughout the country for over a decade. It's best described as a Ferris-wheel for cars (but inside a building and I'm sure there are variants).

        Considering their weird zoning / building laws, if these work in Japan they would definitely work for San Francisco.

  • Temptation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:57AM (#39004955)

    One can certainly understand the need to enforce the policy - if they created dedicated transit lanes to make public transit more efficient and attractive, then the system collapses if those lanes aren't kept clear and the buses have to travel through the same traffic as everybody.

    Taking a step back, though, one wonders if dedicated bus lanes are really the best use of the land. An entire extra 10' lane comes to about 1 acre per mile paved. If the buses are five minutes apart, that's a lot of potential street going almost entirely unused. Worse if they're longer apart. (60 -- 90 minutes in my community. We're "rural" though, so the busses are just there to tease us, not to actually provide a viable transportation option)

    That mostly empty lane sure would be tempting to a lot of drivers stuck in traffic.

    Perhaps a compromise would be to sell a limited number of license to use that lane. Just enough so that it's sparsely occupied, but not so much that it disrupts the flow of buses. Taxis would be obvious potential customers. Pricing could be auction-style and done periodically. And with bus cameras for enforcement, I see no reason why it couldn't work to everyone's benefit.

    • Re:Temptation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:03AM (#39004983)

      Some cultures are heading more towards a 1984 style of control and some go for the Brave New World approach. San Francisco seems to enjoy taking the worst elements from both books and just running with it.

    • so (Score:2, Interesting)

      by unity100 (970058)

      best use of public land would be to stuff more people, each one of them occupying some 10 m2 area with their cars to transport their single person, instead of fitting bus lanes in there, which will provide transportation rate of 1 m2 space occupied per person ?

      excuse me, but engineering-wise, that would fail you an exam.

      • by Richy_T (111409)

        Is it really 1m2 area though? If the bus lane is empty otherwise, you also have to add all the space between the bus and the bus in front of it.

        The true measure is probably mean velocity per person (though parking may play into the equation too). That likely means not having the bus lanes be exclusively for buses. Maybe for taxis (though they are typically single passenger so not so useful), motorcycles and full occupancy vehicles or have a light system that helps ensure the bus lane is empty when a bus is

        • by sessamoid (165542)
          SF "bus lanes" are also usable by taxis and bicycles. They actually stay pretty well used.
    • Re:Temptation (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dupple (1016592) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:07AM (#39005009)

      There is a similar system in place in London. Taxi's and motorcycles are able to share bus lanes.

      This report from 2007 show's the enforcement cameras are improving things in London

      http://www.tfl.gov.uk/static/corporate/media/newscentre/archive/6042.html [tfl.gov.uk]

      After that it get's more complicated because congestion charging at peak times has come into effect for traffic entering the centre of the city

    • Re:Temptation (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @12:12PM (#39005471)

      At least where I live, the public bus only runs between certain operating hours during the day. Normal traffic is allowed to drive in a bus lane outside of those hours, and those hours are posted on signs by that lane every 10ish miles or so.
      The lanes are only "exclusive" for 1/3rd of the day, and so not as large of a waste as you imply.

      If they wanted the lane to be 100% exclusive, they should have put in train tracks, and instead of normal road safe buses, just use trolleys.
      Most people do not argue the right-of-way between cars and trains. Likewise, most people do not attempt to drive up on train tracks. (For the record however, I've seen both happen. The first more so than the second, as people feel being 5 feet closer to the red light will somehow aid their situation)

      In fact it would be pretty hilarious if they installed cow-catchers on the front of the buses! Not too helpful against other vehicles, but none the less hilarious to see the attempt!

      On my normal work-home commute, there is a particular intersection with traffic light, that has a rail road crossing across it. There is room for exactly three cars between the intersection line, and the rail road line.
      If you are the 4th car waiting to go that way, you are supposed to stay behind the tracks.
      Apparently tons of people seem to think "Well if a train comes before the light turns green, I'll have to wait even longer... I know, I'll stop on the tracks, that will greatly improve my situation!" and proceed to do just that.

      I wish there was a way for these idiots to experience the end results of their logic, without risking other peoples lives in a train derailment.
      I have however seen one pickup truck hit by a train stopped over the tracks, totally destroyed, and no derailment happened.
      He did fuck up traffic there pretty bad for a few hours.
      I have no doubt in my mind that he blamed/blames the train for that too.
      Unfortunately he made it out of his vehicle before the train hit it too :/
      If there was any sanity left in the system, not only should he have permanently lost his driving license, but should have been opened to lawsuits from all the rest of us around there who he put at risk. Had the train derailed, many more people would have been killed due to his stupidity.

      Hell he should have been charged with attempted manslaughter once for each other car within 100 feet of that track, plus anyone on the train.
      When I caught the story on the news, all they mentioned was suspended license (implying he can and will get it back eventually) and points on his insurance :/

      • It would be interesting to know whether the insurance paid for a new truck, or not. They should not have, since he was violating several laws when hit.
    • by Y-Crate (540566)

      Your argument is flawed in that you're applying your own rural area's poor level of service to infrastructure that is not designed for the sticks.

      The average car driver commutes alone. The average bus holds 50 to 100 commuters. Rush hour headways in many major American cities are 8 to 15 min, with buses running at full capacity.

      This is why they deserve their own lanes, and signal priority. That bus waiting to cross an intersection is likely moving more people than all of the cars waiting at the light combin

    • There's another reason the bus lanes are useful: pedestrians.

      I live in downtown San Jose, near the corner of Santa Clara and 2nd. Most of the north/south streets here are one-way, with one bus lane and one car lane. As a result, even during rush hour there are very few cars, and so most of the time the road is clear. This makes it very convenient to simply walk across the road (nowhere near a corsswalk). I do it every day to get back and forth from the tram (light rail) stop.

      It's not dangerous, as I said mo
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      In my city bus lanes are only used on major arterial roads. We have entire tunnels dedicated to buses as well as their only bus only express way down next to the highway. The buses aren't 5 minutes apart in these areas, nor are they in our city centre. It's more like 5-10 buses a minute.

      It can be the result of two things. Firstly either good / bad planning to either waste or make excellent use of a bus lane, or it could be a chicken and egg problem of how we going to get another 100 buses on the road if we

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      In London, taxis are allowed to use the bus lanes. The buses there have had cameras to issue fines for quite a few years now.

      The idea of having bus lanes is that one bus can take about 60 cars[1] off the road, and takes the same space as about 4 cars. If you can encourage more people to take the bus by making journeys faster, that reduces congestion for everyone.

      [1] Based on the capacity of the Enviro 400 bus [wikipedia.org] a pretty common choice of bus in London.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:03AM (#39004987)
    without that it's just another regressive tax on the working poor. And before a bunch of /.er's chime in with 'How can you be poor & live in San Francisco', don't forget the rich hire maids, gardeners, bus boys and other low income workers that still have to get to work at their wealthy boss' house. I always found it odd there was always a ghetto nearby every rich community until I realized this.

    Maybe it's different in San Francisco and they can get around on the bus system quickly and conveniently. Aw, who the heck am I kidding. Why spend good tax money on public transportation when you can just make the poor get up 2 hours early to ride the bus in.

    Now, if they're putting points on your license then I like. Here in Arizona we learned from California's mistake and stopped putting red light cameras in rich neighborhoods where the stay-at-home moms could organize a vote to ban them. We keep 'em in the poor neighborhoods where everyone works two jobs. Unlike a cop a camera doesn't know not to ticket a late model BMW or Mercedes.
    • by Afforess (1310263) <afforess@gmail.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:09AM (#39005021) Journal
      Lol what? I visited San Francisco over Christmas and rented a home inside the city center, the bus system was great! The waits at any station was never > 7 minutes, and usually 2-3 minutes. Almost everyone there used the bus systems, and you can also use BART to get outside of the Bay area if you need to. I wish the public transportation in my area (Grand Rapids Michigan) was half as good as San Francisco.

      I think commentators should stick to topics they are familiar with instead of making wild, false claims.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by adenied (120700)

        I live in SF and this is true for a very small portion of the city. If you want to get many places be prepared for a 45 minute bus ride for something that would take half as long or better to drive. I'm sure it's better than Grand Rapids. But Grand Rapids is about the same land area as SF with about 1/8 the population. For things as spread out as that mass transit is difficult.

        There are many times where Muni buses only show up every 30 minutes or so and many cases where you need to take two buses or a bus a

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          If you want to get many places be prepared for a 45 minute bus ride for something that would take half as long or better to drive.

          I'd kill for that. When I lived in Dallas, I had the choice of a 15 minute drive or a 3+ hour bus trip. I could bike (and probably walk) the 10 miles faster than take a bus, if only most of the roads weren't car-only (the direct route was Interstate). Only twice as long for a bus trip? I was looking at 12 times or worse in Dallas. The one time in high school my car broke down and I took the bus, it took me about 3 hours from home to school to replace the 20 minute drive. Only twice as long? That's gr

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by superdana (1211758)

            I'd kill for that.

            Try riding it every day and then come back and tell us what you'd kill for. :-\

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)

        I've lived in San Francisco and visited for more than just "over Christmas" when traffic is reduced and ridership is depressed. Muni actually kind of sucks. Worlds ahead of the rest of the US, mind you, but pretty bad. Its reliability is legendary... legendarily bad.

        It's not like it couldn't be better, but the government agency and the union are both pretty dysfunctional. You'd think that a bunch of professional tree-huggers who hate cars, like they purport to elect in these parts, would actually care ab

        • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @01:47PM (#39006159)
          I've found that greens pushing public transport prefer to punish cars with parking fees and changing light timings to cause traffic problems to encourage bus riding, rather than admitting that public transport sucks and working to improve it.
          • by artor3 (1344997)

            I've found that assholes who double park and run red lights like to shift responsibility away from themselves by claiming that an evil left-wing conspiracy is intentionally screwing with light timings.

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              I've spoken with people who claimed to be green and sabotaged a new road (with protests and organized complaint campaigns) because they wanted to punish people who drove, even if it meant worse traffic (which harms the environment, with idling and stop-and-go traffic). So I know for a fact there is a conspiracy. You are the one that added "left-wing" to it. Why are you accusing the left-wing of it? Most of the staunchest environmentalists I know are right wing. OF course, they want to preserve the envi
          • what with the car companies actively campaigning against public transportation. I remember how shocked I was to find the plot to Who Framed Roger Rabbit was based on a true story [wikipedia.org].
      • Rules of thumb:

        The East-West bus routes are reliable, frequent, and overcrowded. At rush hour, you might not be able to get on and will have to wait for the next one, which hopefully will be there within 8 minutes. If there are too many people crammed in at the front, it is perfectly acceptable to board the 38 Geary from the rear door, no matter what any dumb newspaper columnist tells you. (This newspaper columnist lives in the suburbs and telecommutes. What does he know?)

        The North-South bus routes are unre

      • by ciurana (2603) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @01:45PM (#39006145) Homepage Journal

        Howdy!

        I split my time between my homes in San Francisco and Moscow, and more than 50% of my time I'm traveling around major cities in Europe and Asia. I seldom use cars in Moscow, London, Paris, Tokyo, or pretty much anywhere else where trains, metro, buses, trolley cars, etc. are available. I never owned a car or motorcycle anywhere in Europe or in Tokyo because I just don't need to. If necessary, I rent a car for a day or two, then it's back to the metro.

        Public transportation in San Francisco just *sucks* in comparison to other cities, both in the US and worldwide. My beloved city (SF!) doesn't have the flexibility of underground trains like NYC or DC do. MUNI is a joke -- they have lots of buses that have the most inefficient passenger pickup areas in the world -- never have I seen a bus line with bus stops at almost every flipping corner along the route, like in San Francisco. Taxis? More suckiness. Trains? Forget it. San Francisco without your own wheels becomes a pain in the ass very fast.

        "The bus system was great!" - try planning your trip by bus, and being on time without having to leave too early, from any point in San Francisco to your destination within the city. You often have to wait for 20-30 minutes without a bus in sight, then four or five come together, in a bunch, because the MUNI drivers decided to take a smoke or lunch break and end it at the same time. This is a far cry from a place like say, Zurich or Oslo, cities of the same approximate area and with a high automobile density, where the bus schedule is met at exact times (e.g."next bus will be a 10:43" and it shows up at exactly that time).

        I love San Francisco more than any place in the world. Hearing someone praise its public transportation, though, is like hearing someone praise my mentally handicapped kid brother's arithmetic ability as if he were solving differential equations.

        Cheers!

    • The bus has a picture of a vehicle violating the law, not of the driver. To put points on a license you would need to prove who was driving.
    • There are plenty of poor and middle class people who commute into San Francisco every day on BART, AC Transit, or Caltrain. A car is absolutely not necessary. And you'd be crazy to drive into work in the Financial District every day. It costs like $20 to park.

      And as much as people like to gripe about Muni, it is one of the most comprehensive public transportation systems in the country. Nowhere in the city is more than two blocks from a bus stop, and some of the lines run 24/7. Is it slow and overcrowded? Y

      • by swalve (1980968)
        Don't forget the price of taking public transit. That still leaves you paying more to drive, but the other costs like increased commute times and having to carry your stuff everywhere and lacking the flexibility to stop somewhere on the way home starts to make it closer to break-even.
        • I lived in SF for 5 years without a car, commuting to locations in the city, in Berkeley, and in Daly City. I'm not aware of having lacked flexibility to stop somewhere. In a lot of ways I had more flexibility. If I needed to go shopping, for instance, the place where I transferred from BART to Muni was underneath the largest shopping mall west of the Mall of America. There were at least 3 grocery stores on my route home. All I had to do was pick one and get off the bus there. Getting back on the bus, not

  • unlike an automated and autonomous traffic camera, a camera fixed to a bus with a human driver behind the wheel can be seen as an extension of the driver the same way the bus can. the camera hanging from the power lines over the intersection doesn't invite reprisal, but knowing what bus number was on that route at the time the picture was taken and therefore knowing what driver was present when you got busted does invite reprisal. i think it's a bad idea.

    • Re:dangerous idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ArcCoyote (634356) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:49AM (#39005295)

      Revenge? For what, a parking ticket?

      If nothing else, I'm more OK with these cameras because there is a human behind them. This isn't an automated system, just an easier way for the bus driver to report offenders (much like that new flag button...)

      The driver could always snap a picture with his phone if the bus didn't have a camera.

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        more like revenge on a system using technology to control and harass. It's coming, and it'll be huge. frank herbert had a notion of such a thing and called it the butlerian jihad. you are going to see old mild mannered "pillar of the community" types snap. very, very soon

  • by swschrad (312009) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:25AM (#39005121) Homepage Journal

    said the Ram pickup, rustily, "I'm ready for my close-up."

  • Tape? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:29AM (#39005137) Homepage Journal

    15 months from now, all of Muni's 819 buses will be equipped with the cameras: drivers caught on tape violating the bus lanes will be subject to fines of up to $115.

    Tape? How quaint.

  • by ArcCoyote (634356) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:46AM (#39005247)

    I might be mistaken, but I do believe in Baltimore, bus drivers have the authority to issue citations. I once parked in a bus stop and didn't realize it, I'm pretty sure the ticket was written by the driver.

    • The bus drivers do not but the Maryland Transit Authority has its own police department and most of those cops ride around on buses and trains all day to curb the massive problem Baltimore has with violence on public transit. You most likely had your ticket written by one of them.
  • Improving San Francisco's MUNI system is pretty important to me. It's been considerably annoying to see cars parked in the bus lane, and it's almost annoying as seeing cars park in the middle of the right lane with their emergency lights on because there's no parking, which more buses would help with! ... As a side note, it's almost impossible to live in San Francisco for an extended period of time with a vehicle and not get a parking ticket. They're ruthless!!

    It's funny though, I've lived in Germany for t

    • Paris and Berlin have both train systems that run late, and night trains, while San Francisco's train system stops around 11 pm (then buses run sparsely after that).

      Most of San Francisco's system (Muni) stops around 1am, actually. They do shut down the Metro (rail) then, but it is replaced by surface bus "Owl" service from 1-5am. BART (a separate, bay-area-wide system) stops around midnight.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:48PM (#39007005) Homepage

    This seems like a good idea. I live near SF, and see bus lanes blocked occasionally, usually by double-parked delivery trucks.

    SF Muni operates more than typical buses. They have long, articulated buses. They have trolley buses powered from overhead lines. They have street cars running on rails. None of those are very maneuverable. So blocked transit lanes are a big deal, more so than in most cities.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      This seems like a good idea. I live near SF, and see bus lanes blocked occasionally, usually by double-parked delivery trucks.

      Delivery services consider those tickets just a cost of doing business.
      Here's a nice article from 2007 about SF, delivery trucks, and parking tickets
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/02/24/MNGMPOAK521.DTL [sfgate.com]

      "This is part of the price of doing business," said Jim McCluskey, a spokesman for FedEx, which paid San Francisco $434,046 for 7,711 tickets [in 2006]. "We encourage our operators to park legally, but we also need to meet the needs of our customers who want reliable, on-time service."

      Because of the sheer number of tickets, most big cities have special programs for the largest corporate offenders.
      This keeps the court system from getting clogged up and streamlines collections.

  • Bus lanes confusing (Score:4, Informative)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:00PM (#39007107) Homepage

    last time the wife and I visited San Francisco we unknowingly got caught in a bus lane and had to go a block or so to get out. Hope there is some leeway for us idiot drivers who don't understand San Francisco bus lanes.

  • If they used them to ticket cyclists they'd be rich. Stand at any intersection in San Francisco, count the percentage of cars that violate traffic laws vs cyclists that violate traffic laws.

    I'm just guessing here but

    cars 80%

    Subtract taxis and cars is probably under 5%

  • I am not a fan of this enforcement, but I have a feeling this is inevitable. Sf is quickly putting sensors in all of the parking meters that report back when the parking meter expires. This will make sf a LOT of money. ($55 per violation). Now another $115 for automating the bus zone violations. They are also putting up the traffic light cams that snap pics and issue tickets if a vehicle passing through a red light. (which at times, cannot be avoided)

    I live in an RV that I park in San Francisco, and it

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