Drivers, don't be a jerk. Bus stops are for buses.

A while ago, after a tough battle, New York’s MTA was finally allowed to record license plates of cars blocking bus stops so they could be mailed a ticket.  I’ve never seen this happen but I see bus stops blocked all over the place, especially by the people who are supposed to be enforcing the law. Today I received this forwarded mass email. (Sidenote: I don’t get much of this type of spam anymore, but it reminded me of those awful chain email from the 90s where you had to forward it to 50 people or you would receive bad luck.)

“This morning I saw the license plate of a car in the bus stop light up on the front of the bus. I then learned the newest method being used to issue parking tickets.

If a bus pulls into a bus stop and there is a car there - even if the car is running - the bus camera takes a picture of the license plate and [the owner] will be sent a parking ticket in the mail... “

Okay, fine... Good... No, excellent, if this makes drivers stay out that’s great.... oh, wait:

“The city has found a way to raise more money and with the picture of your plate at the bus stop it will be very difficult to fight this ticket.”

I could rant for days about the sense of entitlement that drivers display by ignoring speed limits, parking and turn restrictions and other rules which are inconvenient to them. Then they repeat the popular myth that it’s all about money, which is a convenient way of justifying selfish behavior, rather than thinking about why blocking a bus stop is illegal in the first place.

And it’s not about money. Because if it were about money, the city would be aggressively ticketing and towing cars parked in bus lanes, bike lanes and other no standing zones, running red lights, blocking crosswalks, driving too fast/recklessly, failing to yield the right of way, and on down the list.

Keeping bus stops clear is a battle that every city bus operator has been waging since cars entered public space. Buses transport people of all abilities and need to be able to board and alight people against the curb. How are you supposed to use a wheelchair lift if a car is preventing the bus from pulling flush to the curb?

Bus stops are only blocked when a driver thinks s/he is more important than anyone else. These people deserve much worse than a parking ticket. Perhaps this solution from Lithuania.