Drivers who block bus stops beware. SEPTA and the Philadelphia Parking Authority may start cracking down on you soon.
SEPTA and the PPA are currently looking into the possibility of using forward-facing cameras on buses to capture vehicles parked in bus stops. Under the plan, photos from cameras installed on every SEPTA bus would be used to identify and enforce violations against vehicles that were spotted blocking bus and trolley zones.
"The program would be modeled on the concept of the city's red light camera program where a camera takes images of violations in progress," PPA spokesperson Marty O'Rourke said. "Those images are then reviewed and citations are issued based on those images."
According to O'Rourke, under the plan, each SEPTA bus would be equipped with additional cameras. Bus drivers would then have to push a button to snap photos of vehicles parked in prohibited bus zones. Those images would then be reviewed and a citation would be issued if appropriate.
SEPTA estimates that there are around 2,000 bus zone parking violations every day and that the plan could potentially generate an annual revenue of at least $37.23 million for the city. Violators would be subject to $76 fines in Center City and $51 fines everywhere else in Philadelphia under the plan.
"When the program initially starts, we believe that there will be a lot of hits," O'Rourke said. "But we believe that behaviors will start to change due to issuance of fines. We eventually expect to budget revenue of five million to fifteen million dollars per year.”
SEPTA officials say vehicles that block bus stops not only make it more difficult for passengers trying to get onto the bus but also create more traffic problems due to buses having to stop and unload people in the middle of a lane.
Final plans are not in place yet though active discussions are underway between SEPTA, the PPA and the city of Philadelphia, according to SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch. SEPTA currently has 1,193 buses in its system.
"The PPA believes that this will require a change in Pennsylvania State Law to enact this program," O'Rourke said. "They are currently in discussions with multiple legislators to see if there is any interest in proposing the change and how it would be issued."