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San Francisco Enlists Bus Cameras For Traffic Law Enforcement 151

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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  • Temptation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:57AM (#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:dangerous idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcCoyote ( 634356 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @12:49PM (#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 sco08y ( 615665 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @12:51PM (#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?

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @01:57PM (#39005745)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:51PM (#39006541)

    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.

  • by superdana ( 1211758 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:08PM (#39006685)

    I'd kill for that.

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

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