Apparently, all those people seeing something and saying something just isn’t paying off for the MTA in their never-ending fight against the terrorists, and that non-stop barking dog at Penn Station isn’t too discerning. So now the MTA is going to watch you as you commute, read the paper and pick your nose to and from work each day on the subway.
The MTA, you see, has plans to install digital security cameras in subways in an effort to
watch your every move protect our city’s transit infrastructure from the Bad Guys. Already in use on the WMATA’s Metro cars in Washington, D.C., these cameras, according to Michael Lombardi, senior vice president for New York City Transit, can aid in criminal investigations and the aftermath of terrorist attacks. The Times has more:
Lombardi…said the authority had asked Kawasaki and Alstom, the two companies that are producing the latest model of subway car, known as the R160, to propose ways to add security cameras to the cars. The request was made within the last two months.
He said the authority would review the designs and ultimately seek to test them in a small number of cars, to see if the cameras would withstand the bumps, jolts, dust and stop-and-go conditions of the subway system. Mr. Lombardi said there was no timeline for the program, adding that any decision on the cameras would hinge in part on the cost.
I would hope a digital camera attached to the ceiling of a subway and experiencing the same bumps and jolts as everyone else would be effective, but leave it up to the MTA to mess up security cameras. If Washington, D.C., hardly the model of expertise when it comes to rapid transit, can install and monitor security cameras, I have a sneaking suspicion that New York with its extensive network of closed-circuit cameras can find a way to make something work in the subway.
“The goal is to examine where the technology is and whether it’s feasible to do it,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, a spokesman for New York City Transit. “We’ve done that for buses, we’ve done that for stations. Now we have to do that for subway cars.” Hint: It’s feasible, Paul. It’s feasible.
With 660 new cars for various subway lines on order and another 1040 on tap, NYCT would like to see the camera prototypes sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, NYCT plans to add cameras to 450 city buses, and they’ve already nixed the idea — because of the expenses and technology involved — of sending live images to a central rely station for 24-hour surveillance.
I’m not too thrilled with the idea of someone spying on our every move on the subway, and I bet SUBWAYblogger won’t be too enamored of the idea either. You certainly won’t be able to nab that nifty ad after hours anymore without feeling a set of eyes on you. But, whether you know it or not, the city is constantly watching you. There are, in fact, 13 security cameras between the front of my office building and the middle elevator bank plus at least another eight on West 16th St. between 8th and 9th Avenues. So what’s another set of eyes catching us at our most vulnerable as we ride the subways each day?
Image of WMATA security cameras in the D.C. subway from Outtacontext.