Riding the bus around town just got a bit safer.
Security cameras inside RTC buses now have live video capabilities.
The system upgrade is in response to a barricade situation following a deadly shooting inside a double decker bus on the Las Vegas Strip last May.
The security upgrade gives Metro Police direct access to the live video stream. In case on an emergency, officers can see what’s happening inside any RTC bus in real time. Keeping a watchful eye on disruptive bus riders just got easier.
For the past year, the RTC has been upgrading its technology to allow surveillance cameras to live stream. The real time footage is available to Metro at any time, in any bus.
“I like the surveillance, it makes me feel safer, you know especially when there’s kids on the bus and stuff like that,” said Antoinette Belton, bus rider.
The 440 RTC buses have always had between eight to 12 surveillance cameras that record to a hard drive but no live video capabilities. The transportation organization decided to make the changes following a deadly shooting on the Strip that resulted in a barricade situation. The bus was wrapped in advertisements, making it hard for police to look inside.
“So, they reached out to us and we started looking at ways where we can give them visual access to what’s going on inside the bus,” said Carl Scarbrough, director of technical equipment, RTC.
Soon after this incident, the RTC launched a pilot program testing the live video on one bus. They decided to move forward with the rest of the fleet costing about $200,000.
“If they have to send a SWAT team on or if there’s a report of an issue, they can actually see what the issue is before they respond,” Scarbrough said.
He says the cameras can also record audio, but it might difficult to hear.
“It’s not a real high level. There’s so much other noise going on in the bus as it’s moving, it’s not like you can listen to someone’s conversation.”
8 News Now asked Scarbrough about privacy concerns.
He says it’s an issue that has come up in other cities but not here, especially because the cameras have been in RTC buses for years.
“From that angle, nothing’s really changed. You’re in a public space, on a public bus,” he said.
All buses have signs informing bus riders they are being recorded.
“I mean if you’re not doing anything wrong, so you don’t have nothing to worry about,” Belton said.
The RTC says no one is monitoring the cameras 24-7. Instead, Metro can log into their system and watch the live stream when there’s an emergency.