In an effort to improve safety on board Canada’s BC Transit buses, over 600 buses across the province now have closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

Overall, 373 medium- and heavy-duty buses have had cameras installed as part of a project supported by the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF). The other approximate 230 buses with CCTV cameras are new buses delivered with the technology already installed. The remainder of the BC Transit fleet will have cameras installed in new buses as they are replaced over the coming years.

In B.C., the PTIF represents a partnership between Canada, the Province, and local governments to support investments in municipal transit systems. The CCTV installation is part of a series of technology enhancements on BC Transit buses worth approximately $11 million. Other improvements will include Automated Passenger Counters, to provide a more accurate picture of ridership and allow planners to maximize resources, and NextRide real-time transit information, to help riders plan their trips efficiently.

The cameras have already proven themselves: since the pilot program started in 2015, BC Transit has used CCTV footage to support investigations almost 3,500 times. This includes over 360 police investigations.

“We place the highest priority on safety. The installation of CCTV cameras demonstrates our commitment to safety to our staff and customers,” says BC Transit CEO/President Erinn Pinkerton. “Anything that can deter incidents or assist in investigations is a welcome enhancement for our service.”

Over the past five years, BC Transit has made significant investments in both training and tools for its transit safety system, which includes: closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, driver training to diffuse situations, partnerships with first responders, enhanced communication technology on board the bus, and a proof of concept for a full driver door.

Each bus has four to eight cameras recording events in the interior. As well, a high-definition camera in the driver’s compartment records events in front of the bus and two more cameras will watch the outside of the bus. Cameras are not monitored live, but video files are encrypted and stored on hard drives for up to seven days, required for investigation purposes.

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