MTA To Buy More Subway Cars w/ Cameras

In what will surely get the attention of civil liberty groups around the tri-state area, the MTA has announced its plans to buy up to 340 subway cars that would be equipped with surveillance cameras. Ti-Hua Chang of MyFox NY has more in this report:

The MTA plans to buy 290 more subway trains and equip them with video surveillance cameras. The cameras, which would be hidden in the ceiling, would only record. They would not send out a live signal.

The MTA also has an option to purchase 50 more subway cars with cameras if the budget permits.

“Future cars will be camera-ready,” MTA spokesman Paul Fleuranges told the New York Post. “The hardest part of retrofitting old cars to run the lines is that it involved taking the car apart.”

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly considers video surveillance cameras on subways a move in the the right direction. He said it’s like chicken soup — it can’t hurt.

But the head of the New York Civil Liberties Union said there have to be guidelines before there is abuse of the video images. Donna Lieberman said that although the cameras are in public, people have a right to know how the images will be used, how long they will be kept, and who will have access to them.

Click here for the complete report.

Now here is a report with more information from Tom Namako of the New York Post:

The MTA is on track to create a subway ring of steel.

In an unprecedented security move, transit officials are ordering up 340 new subway cars that will come equipped for surveillance cameras, The Post has learned.

Instead of tearing up old subway cars and installing the wiring and hardware needed for security cameras — a costly process — the new cars will already have the technology built in, NYC Transit officials said.

The MTA will just have to pop in the cameras, and the cars will be ready to roll with their new surveillance equipment.

“Future cars will be camera-ready,” said MTA spokesman Paul Fleuranges. “The hardest part of retrofitting old cars to run the lines is that it involved taking the car apart.”

MTA documents peg the cost of the initial 290-car order, likely to be followed by a 50-car second order, at about $748 million.

It’s expected that the 60-foot cars — which will be joined together to make about 34 trains in total — will be on the tracks by 2015.

Click here for the complete report.

I am all for the MTA looking to improve the technology but not under the falsehood of security. This plan reeks of big brother & I am strongly against it. These cameras will not stop crime from happening as a determined criminal does not let these devices stop them. If they were completely reliable, we would not hear or read about robberies at banks, stores, etc….

It is a shame that the agency can’t just purchase newer equipment without the big brother aspect being included. Yes, I am grateful for much needed updates to our infrastructure & equipment but not if it has to be under the false pretense of ‘security”.

One can hope that this pilot does not expand as I stand behind the rights of privacy. I understand that we lose some natural rights to privacy due to being in public. However this does not mean we should have to deal with cameras at every turn in our public lives. This is not the freedom our country was founded on!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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