Cameras start capturing transit riders

The next time you jump on a city bus, smile, you're on camera. Last week the city installed security cameras on all 12 of its buses in an effort to curb vandalism and maintain safety.

The next time you jump on a city bus, smile, you’re on camera.

Last week the city installed security cameras on all 12 of its buses in an effort to curb vandalism and maintain safety.

Each year the city spends up to $10,000 a year in repairing the damage left behind by vandals, said Mayor Bev Buckway.

Vandals have been slashing seats and breaking pieces of equipment like seat straps and window closures.

“By installing these cameras it will not only save a lot of taxpayer money that goes to cleaning up our buses, people will know there’s cameras on there and they’ll be less likely to (vandalize the buses),” said Buckway.

The information will also be used in case there is an incident on a bus that needs to be investigated.

A video camera have been installed at the front of each bus pointed inward at the passengers. The total cost for installing the cameras is $36,000.

“Hopefully it will pay off and we’ll see a payback on the cameras and people will behave themselves,” said Buckway.

Privacy shouldn’t be an issue, she said.

Video footage won’t be reviewed every day, only after an incident has taken place, she said. The videos will also be destroyed after 33 days.

How effective are security cameras in preventing vandalism and violence on buses?

In 2008, Winnipeg Transit installed security cameras on all of their buses to the tune of $3 million.

The cameras have been positively received by the public and by bus drivers, said operations planner Alex Regiec.

However, a year in advance of Winnipeg Transit installing video cameras, they met with the ombudsmen of Manitoba to discuss privacy concerns.

Winnipeg Transit had about six or seven sessions with the ombudsmen to develop policy over who would have access to the tapes and who any video information could be shared with, said Regiec.

The city also had to put bright yellow stickers on the outside of every one of their buses alerting people to the fact that there were cameras on board.

“That allows people to make a decision. If you don’t want to be on camera then don’t ride the bus,” said Regiec.

Buckway wasn’t sure whether the ombudsmen in the Yukon had reviewed the safety cameras on Whitehorse buses, but she did say transit was going through a process “to ensure that the city isn’t violating anybody’s rights by installing (the cameras).”

Contact Vivian Belik at

vivianb@yukon-news.com

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