This past week, the MTA Board approved a plan to install surveillance cameras on 400+ buses next year. The agency hopes the cameras will serve as a major deterrent to crime occurring on buses, especially to its drivers with this recent incident being a prime example. Andrew Grossman of the Wall Street Journal has more in this report:
More than 400 Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses will get surveillance cameras next year, according to a plan set to be approved by the agency’s board this week.
The MTA will start installing the cameras on buses that ply busy Manhattan routes in early 2011 before expanding them to high-crime routes in other boroughs, according to the proposal. The agency can also choose to exercise an option to buy cameras for an additional 1,150 buses.
“Such a system is essential to providing improvements to the safety and security of the environment for employees and the riding public,” the agency said in the proposal.
Assaults on bus drivers are a recurring problem for the agency. Last week, a Brooklyn woman was charged with assaulting a driver on the B82. The alleged assailant told the New York Post that the driver “drives slow on purpose.” In July, a Brooklyn grand jury indicted a man accused of punching the driver of the B6 bus in the face after an argument. State law makes assaulting a transit worker a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The man who runs the union that represents many city bus drivers said he supports the installation of new surveillance cameras—as long as they’re used to discipline riders, not drivers.
Click here for the complete report.
It is a shame that our society has come to the point where we need surveillance cameras to try & deter crime to bus riders or the driver itself. Personally I am not big on the police state that our country has become, especially after the proven staged attacks in our history.
However with the rate at which bus drivers are being assaulted, I can understand why the MTA is looking to install these devices. Hopefully it will help in the never ending battle to keep employees & riders safe.
xoxo Transit Blogger