LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A $7.9 million project to upgrade security cameras on RTC buses will bring some obvious changes — and likely improved safety for passengers and drivers.

As passengers board buses, a video screen near the driver will show them they are on camera — a change that officials believe will make a big difference in behavior. Another screen will show camera views in the rear of the bus. And all of the high definition video will be recorded and stored in the cloud.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada will start installing new HD equipment on Thursday, and the project is expected to wrap up sometime around February or March of next year, according to Carl Scarbrough, the RTC’s director of Transit Amenities and Technical Equipment.

The new equipment, which is being purchased from Texas-based vendor Luminator Technology Group, is already in some of the RTC’s doubledecker buses. But work to bring the technology to the rest of the fleet — which numbers 800 vehicles — will take some time.

Luminator says up to 11 interior and exterior cameras will be installed on each bus, including all fixed-route buses and the RTC’s paratransit vehicles. The system is being paid for by a $5.5 million grant secured before the pandemic, along with a $3 million matching grant. The $7.9 million cost is actually lower than the grants would have allowed. According to the RTC, future costs of maintenance and licensing will be paid for by the vendors who operate the buses — Keolis and MV Transportation.

Scarbrough said many of the features that are coming with the upgrade — like the ability to get a livestream from the cameras — are not new, but they have been improved.

He said the RTC gives Metro police access to the livestream video. All buses have signs informing bus riders they are being recorded.

Video cameras were installed on buses following a May 2017 incident on the Las Vegas Strip, when a deadly shooting occurred inside a doubledecker bus, and a suspect barricade himself inside.

Video is modernized in the new system, which is now web-based, and allows easier downloading of video. Previously, video was stored on each bus and had to be physically retrieved before it could be reviewed. Storing video in the cloud will allow for greater storage capacity.

The improvements will allow faster access and quicker repairs as the system reports when things aren’t working properly, such as when a camera goes out. Previously, that might not have been discovered until video from the camera was actually needed.

Luminator’s marketing director, Christian Fuchs, said the system has robust security features to prevent people from hacking in. “It should make it easier for RTC to serve their customers,” he said.

Fuchs said video is important for transit operators, who are often sued and need to review video to see what actually happened.