Saturday, July 16, 2011

341 New York City Buses Being Outfitted with Security Cameras

New York City bus security camerasBus drivers for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City are saying that the MTA is installing surveillance cameras on hundreds of buses in the city in response to a recent assault on another driver. According to Brooklyn's Union Bus Chair Willie Rivera, "The program will keep us safe."

MTA officials are saying that cameras are already operational on a total of 85 buses. MTA also states that these cameras are on buses that mostly travel on routes that lead them through high crime neighborhoods. However, 85 buses doesn't seem to be enough as MTA has said that they are installing cameras on an additional 341 buses.

According to Ed Kenny of the New York City transit Bus Operations, "It will give drivers a sense of security, knowing that the entire time they're on the bus, there is a witness to all activity." A total of six cameras will be mounted on each bus, five covering the interior of the bus and one covering the outside of the bus that points straight ahead.

Recording of the cameras is triggered by movement. Recording begins as soon as the first person steps onto the bus and ends five minutes after the last person gets off. MTA officials say that the cameras will not feed images back to its command center in real time, however. Instead, anything recorded will be stored on the hard drive of each individual camera for nearly a month. In addition to that, MTA officials say that the videos will only be looked at if an incident on the bus is reported.

The 341 buses will have their cameras installed towards the end of April, 2012 at a cost of $10 million. Officials also stated that MTA will decide within a month if 1,100 additional buses will be outfitted with cameras at a cost of $18,000 each. "Unfortunately, our streets can be kind of rough but we've been testing this system for over a year now and so far it's stood up to the rigors of bus service," said Kenny.

As with any security system in a public area, concerns are immediately evident. A lot of citizens and drivers are worried about their privacy, though Kenny says that is not an issue. "The footage is not going to appear on YouTube," he says. "It's only used internally, used by the police department if there is an incident."

Representatives of the bus drivers union have already given their support for the program. According to Rivera, "They need to advance it, but it's a good first step." The MTA has already stated that they agree the security system is a priority and one well worth focusing on.

Source: - MTA To Install Surveillance Cameras on 341 City Buses

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