New York's MTA Is Trying Digital Mirrors on Buses to Help Stop Hitting Things

·2 min read
Photo:  Michael Nagle/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is looking to possibly eliminate physical side-view mirrors as a modern method of reducing the cost of bus maintenance and legal settlements from collisions, officials said this week. The side mirrors on city buses currently are very large, if you’ve never noticed.

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According to the MTA, 25 percent of all bus collisions involved the buses’ exterior side mirrors. The mirrors can be a menace on tight city streets, striking other vehicles, street poles, and curbside dining structures. Each of the 1,800 collisions means potential time out of service for maintenance and legal settlements for damages. The best course of action for the transit agency was to find a means of eliminating mirrors entirely.

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Screenshot:  MTA
Screenshot: MTA

Rich Davey, New York City Transit President, outlined the idea at the MTA’s monthly board meeting earlier this week. He told amNY, “An e-mirror is basically a backup camera. It’s actually a video of the sides of the bus, if you will, and if you’ve noticed, our mirrors actually stick out a fair bit. What we have found, particularly with the proliferation of dining structures in the city, our mirrors are just hitting more inanimate objects.”

E-mirrors are just one solution of many that the MTA is considering to meet Governor Kathy Hochul’s target of reducing the agency’s annual operating budget by $400 million. The digital camera also gives drivers better visibility around the bus. Davey also hopes it allows bus cockpits to be better enclosed to protect the drivers from potential assaults. The MTA expects to start fitting bus with e-mirrors later this year.

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