DC delays implementing fines for using bus lanes, extends warning period indefinitely

Drivers in D.C. will not receive hefty fines for blocking red-painted bus lanes in the city — at least, not yet.

A new bus lane ticketing system was expected to be implemented on Monday, which followed a 45-day period of time during which drivers were issued warnings instead of fines.

However, according to the District Department of Transportation, the warning period is being extended indefinitely.

In a statement, DDOT said it “decided to push back the start of the enforcement period” while it finalizes plans with Metro.

“For the time being, we will continue with the warning period and will make an announcement once we have reached a new enforcement date,” DDOT said.

Bus lanes are portions of streets that are designated for the use of public transit buses, typically marked by red paint and signage.

Vehicles that are allowed to use the lanes include public transit buses, tour buses, school buses, maintenance vehicles, emergency vehicles, bikes and scooters.

Unauthorized vehicles should not stop or park in a bus lane and should not enter a bus lane except to “enter a legal parking space or turn within 40 feet of an intersection or driveway,” according to DDOT.

Once the ticketing system is implemented, drivers who break the bus lane rules could face fines ranging from $100 to $200.

“Metro will mount automated cameras on buses serving select routes,” according to DDOT. “These cameras automatically take photos of violating vehicles and send information directly to DDOT for enforcement.”

The union that represents bus drivers in D.C., Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, voiced support for the new system.

“It’s not fair to anybody on the bus for somebody to be blocking the bus lane,” said Raymond Jackson, the union’s president. “We make a living on getting people where they need to be on time.”

The ticketing system is meant “to improve bus travel times and enhance bus stop safety by using camera technology to identify illegally parked and stopped vehicles in dedicated bus lanes,” DDOT said.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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