Charlie Baker

Baker Proposes New Fines for Bus-Lane Violations in Mass.

The governor wants to fine drivers using designated bus lanes up to $200

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images, File

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wants to create penalties for driving in bus-only lanes. The proposal was included in a supplemental bill, released on Friday, for his 2020 fiscal year budget.

Under the bill, anyone driving or parked in a designated bus lane between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays would receive a fine up to $200. At all other times, the fine would not exceed $100.  

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has introduced 5.1 miles of bus-priority lanes since it launched the "Better Bus Project" in 2018. The MBTA plans to develop 7.5 additional miles of lanes in 2020.

The MBTA says bus lanes have already increased ridership and decreased commute times.

Baker's bus lane proposal is not the only proposed change to fines this year. The Republican also wants to change how the MBTA handles fare evaders.

Fare evasion fines would range from $10 to $250 under the bill. Currently, fines start at $100 and increase to $600 for repeat offenders.

Baker's proposal would also make it illegal for police to arrest passengers who fail to pay or prepay the required MBTA fare.

Riders who currently evade fares are subject to a noncriminal citation. If they fail to provide identification to police for the citation, police can arrest them.

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