Over the past few years, a few high-profile incidents involving unruly passengers and bus drivers have made the headlines. One driver was assaulted when she refused to allow a 17-year-old to bring her dog on board, and a 2008 murder has long led to calls for increased driver safety measures. The MTA, under union pressure, is now ready to act.
While a plan to install driver partitions is still in the pilot phase, the MTA announced that it will be installing security cameras on 341 buses around the city. Each bus will be equipped with six cameras — five on the outside, one on the inside — that will store but not transmit a video. The $10 million project expected to be completed within nine months will bring the total number of video surveillance-equipped buses to 426 — or around seven percent of the city’s fleet. The program will keep us safe,” Willie Rivera, a union official said to New York 1.
Once the 341 cameras are installed, the MTA will make a decision on whether or not to outfit another 1100 buses at a cost of $18,000 per bus. “Unfortunately, our streets can be kind of rough, but we’ve been testing this system for over a year now, and so far it’s stood up to the rigors of bus service,” Kenny said. Bus drivers certainly need more physical protection, and this is a step in the right direction.