NYC looks to improve bus service by reducing illegal bus lane parking

Jan. 25, 2019
Seven NYPD tow truck teams will tow vehicles that block dedicated bus lanes in every borough.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a plan to, literally, clear a path for improved bus service in the city: Cracking down on illegally parked cars in bus lanes.

The mayor has set up seven new New York City Police Department tow teams that will operate in all five boroughs and tow cars parked along bus routes with dedicated bus lanes. The mayor has pledged a 25 percent increase in bus speeds by 2020 through the Better Buses for All. The initiative will accomplish its goal through increased enforcement and street redesign. 

“It shouldn’t be so hard to get around the greatest city in the world,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Buses are a critical link in our public transportation system, but too often they are painfully slow. I hope all New Yorkers get the message that we have to keep bus lanes clear to get people moving and to work on time.”

Mayor de Blasio noted in his State of the City address that buses only move at an average of 7.4 mph with that average dropping to less than 4 mph in busy commercial districts. The mayor's office says that bus ridership is down across the city as riders avoid trips and choose faster, more reliable modes of transportation.

The mayor's offices explains that while the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) control the buses, the city has the tools to reverse the downward ridership trends and increase average bus speeds through redesigning streets, installing new bus lanes and removing more vehicles blocking bus lanes.

"The NYPD recognizes the important role that safe, on-time bus performance plays in New York City's transportation network,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. "The NYPD is collaborating with our colleagues from the Department of Transportation and the MTA to keep bus routes across all five boroughs clear of illegally parked vehicles. As Mayor de Blasio mentioned in his State of the City address, the NYPD now has a dedicated team of tow trucks and enforcement agents that patrol bus lanes and bus routes across this City with the goal of increasing bus speeds.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.