Not many New Yorkers are fans of MTA buses. Whether it is sitting on a crowded bus waiting to get to your destination or trying to navigate your way around a bus in a car, on a bicycle, or on foot, most residents would rather avoid them all together. Now the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is taking steps to improve the trip for riders, and make buses safer for motorists and pedestrians.
First up are 75 new buses hitting routes in Queens this summer as part of a program that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says will, “reduce overcrowding and bring new technology” to 40% of the fleet during the next five years. When the program is completed, over 2,000 buses will be equipped with Wi-Fi access and USB charging ports.
More important than the new amenities to the buses are what is being done to help bring down the number of bus accidents. Bus drivers have consistently cited blind spots as a major issue. The combination of the bus’s frame and large side mirrors make it nearly impossible for drivers to see pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles. A pilot program is currently underway that equips buses with a warning system when the bus is making a turn, and a collision system for bus drivers when a crash is about to happen.
The turn warning system will activate automatically when a bus is making a turn. Speakers on the outside of the bus, which will be able to adjust to the surrounding noise level, will send out an audio alert to indicate that the bus is turning. Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn will see 200 of these buses as part of the pilot program, with the first 40 ready to go by the end of the year.
The collision avoidance system is bit more involved. Sensors and cameras will be installed on buses to send a warning to drivers about anything 45-60 feet in the bus’s path (both in front and on the side) that may cause a crash. Drivers will get both an audio and visual alert of the imminent danger. The pilot program will include 100 buses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with 20 on the road by January.
If all goes well with the field testing, the new safety technology will begin being installed next year with the goal of adding the systems to 1600 buses by the middle of 2018. Until then, buses still pose a risk for accidents. Plus, the warning systems will not be a 100% guarantee that an accident and possible injury will not occur. If you have been involved in a bus accident, it may seem like a daunting task to seek damages for your injuries. Contact the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to relieve the burden of fighting for the compensation you are entitled to.