Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Metro Transit Buses Get Security Camera Upgrade

Dozens of buses around the metro area will be getting security camera upgrades in the coming months, according to Metro Transit officials.

Cameras on 167 buses will be retrofitted with digital, multi-camera systems on board. The new system also will be added to another 11 new buses, officials said.

Currently, all Metro Transit buses on have camera systems, according to Metro Transit Spokesman Bob Gibbons.

But some of that original equipment is old and "from a much more primitive technology," Gibbons said.

The older, VHS tape system will be replaced with a multi-camera, DVD system that will be able to record all the cameras simultaneously in color. Each bus has between 5 and 6 cameras on board, recording images and sound from multiple angles and in color.

Gibbons said the upgraded system will have storage space on board the buses -- rather than at a centralized location -- and will be able to record for 30 days. Under the older system, the images recorded over themselves every 8 or 9 hours, Gibbons said.

"It's sort of like having an officer on board every bus, but done much more affordably and on an around-the-clock basis," Gibbons said. "Drivers like to have the cameras on board. And customers -- the well-behaving customers --like to have the camera systems on board as well."

Gibbons said the camera systems for each bus cost $4,800.

Metro Transit began retrofitting its fleet in 2007, and 240 have already been installed.