Fiona Ma for State Assembly

S.F. Muni gets permanent OK for traffic-ticket cameras on buses

A pilot program that equipped San Francisco Muni buses with cameras to bust motorists blocking transit-only lanes, crosswalks, intersections and bus stops was made permanent by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The legislation Brown signed Sunday allows the city to continue ticketing for violations that officials said slowed Muni buses to a snail’s pace.

“Muni has to go faster than 8 miles an hour,” said Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu, a former city supervisor who sponsored the legislation. “As we increase service on Muni and our economy continues to grow, we have to make sure that our transit system can operate efficiently and reliably. Everyone who rides Muni in San Francisco appreciates the governor’s support of this bill.”

Until now, San Francisco has had temporary approval to issue the video citations under a pair of bills in 2007 and 2011 authored by former Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, who now serves as a member of the state Board of Equalization.

In March, Chiu took up the battle to make the Transit-Only Lane Enforcement Program, or TOLE, permanent.

Ed Reiskin, director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said that under the pilot program “significant progress” has been made in speeding up Muni along the city’s most congested corridors.

“This legislation will allow us to ensure that these transit-only lanes are kept as clear as possible,” Reiskin said. “It also furthers our work to keep our roads safe, reliable and as functional as possible for so many people traveling in San Francisco.”

Under the pilot program, the SFMTA equipped its entire fleet of more than 800 buses with enforcement cameras and rolled out a series of “red carpet” transit-only lanes painted red to stand out.

Tickets for vehicles parked in transit-only lanes run $110, while citations for blocking intersections and crosswalks cost $103. Those caught stopping in bus zones are on the hook for $279.