FirstGroup plc employees in Glasgow, Scotland have begun using mobile (CCTV) technology, featuring headcams, across its entire fleet of 1,000 buses to crack down on passengers trying to cheat the system.
The ten-person revenue protection team that makes sure passengers have the correct ticket will wear the cameras, which cost approximately $4,000 apiece. They will also wear a badge that will notify passengers that they are being recorded.
“There have been incidents of revenue protection officers being assaulted and these cameras will be an extra way of getting evidence, so the minority of passengers who refuse to behave themselves can be dealt with appropriately,” said Alan Pert, security manager for First in Glasgow.
Approximately 120 people each month are caught breaking the rules, by purchasing child tickets for adults, not paying the full amount for their trip or not paying at all.
Although the revenue protection team does not have the authority to arrest people who give them a hard time or cheat the system, they can levy a $60-plus fine.
If the headcams are a success, they will be used across Glasgow to help supplement existing CCTV camera systems on problem services.
“We already have more than a quarter of our fleet fitted with CCTV cameras to help ensure the safety
of the passengers and staff,” said Pert. “If this is successful, these headcams will also be used to enhance existing measures.”
The unique revenue protection team was launched in 2004 and is the only one of its kind in Scotland, although it is patterned after programs in the British cities of Manchester and Leeds.
Besides ensuring revenue conformity, the team also deals with anti-social behavior that may be disturbing to other passengers.
In addition to the work of the revenue protection team, First also runs a regular advertising campaign to advise customers to ensure they are paying for the journey they choose.
“This is not about generating revenue, but to ensure that all passengers are fairly treated and to ensure everyone is paying the appropriate fare for their journey,” said Pert, who added that fined passengers do have the right to appeal directly to the company.