‘Ticketing blitz’ will target drivers double-parked in Center City bus lanes

A SEPTA bus approaches City Hall in a bus lane.

A SEPTA bus approaches City Hall in a bus lane. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

A ticketing blitz started in Philadelphia Monday with several city agencies partnering up in hopes of clearing out bus lanes.

SEPTA, city officials, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority are working together on the Center City enforcement, where the agencies plan to write tickets to anyone who is stopped or stalled in a bus lane on parts of JFK Boulevard, Market and Chestnut streets.

Frequent riders say the double-parked cars are a problem.

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“We have to wait. The bus is already late. You could be late to work, you could be late to your appointment,” said Dior Holmes from North Philadelphia.

“Me being an Uber driver? Sometimes I need to double park,” said James Harris from Wynnefield.

Drivers caught in bus lanes could be issued tickets anywhere from $51 for disobeying signs to $101 for blocking mass transit.

“Our goal isn’t to give people a ticket,” said Christopher Puchalsky, director of policy and strategic initiatives for the city’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability. “Some people unfortunately only respond to this kind of pressure.”

The “bus only” lanes the city is targeting are between 23rd and 6th streets on Chestnut, 20th and 6th on Market, and 19th and 15th on JFK Boulevard.

SEPTA, the city, and the PPA have partnered for this before in 2018 and 2019, writing thousands of tickets.

“I honestly think it’s just another way to make more money. Everything is geared toward money for the city,” said Jeanette Lewis from North Philadelphia.

Officials claim the last targeted enforcement worked and reduced ride times for buses as much as two and a half minutes.

“A couple minutes may not sound like a lot but it’s helping people get where they need to go on time,” said SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch.

Drivers say the city isn’t addressing what they believe is the root of the problem.

“They really need to find a way to make more parking available. There is nowhere, literally nowhere to park,” said Lewis.

The city says the targeted enforcement could last from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on how drivers respond.


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