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Smile! Cameras coming to Nelson Transit Fleet

Some of the Nova busses in Nelson Transit Fleet already have cameras installed ready for operation in April. — The Nelson Daily photo

Smile! You’re now on BC Transit Camera.

BC Transit recently announced starting in April, six bus in the Nelson Transit fleet will phase in the installation of closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras.

BC Transit Communications Manager Jonathon Dyck said all medium- and heavy-duty buses acquired after 2005 will have the cameras installed, and new buses, 27 feet and longer, will be delivered with the cameras already factory-installed. 

“The safety of our customers and employees is always the number-one priority for BC Transit and for WorkSafeBC,” Dyck explained.

“Our transit operators are responsible for many lives, both on and off the bus."

Nelson Transit, part of West Kootenay Transit, operates six-days a week with routes to Castlegar, to connect with Trail Transit, Balfour and throughout the Heritage City.

The other Transit company connecting riders in West Kootenay Transit, is Arrow Slocan Lakes Community Service, which moves passengers on the Balfour, Slocan Valley and Nakusp routes.

Dyck said examples from other transit systems in North America and the results of a one-year Proof-of-Concept (pilot) project at BC Transit in 2015-16 confirm that security cameras do provide a positive benefit to enhance security and safety including evidence to ensure successful conclusions for security investigations.

“Between April 2015 and April 2016, 83 buses in Victoria and 25 in Kamloops were fitted with cameras,” Dyck said.

“Over 1,400 incidents were recorded: more than 500 went to full investigation by BC Transit, police and/or ICBC.”

Dyck said these incidents included five assaults on transit operators (all of which led to convictions) and 61 liability claims, in which BC Transit was found to be 100% at fault 19 times; 0% at — fault 40 times. 

“That eliminated or reduced lengthy and costly legal proceedings,” he said.
Dyck said there will be as many as five video cameras inside the buses will record any incidents that occur in the passenger area.

“These cameras will cover every part of the interior, while a high-definition front-facing camera in the operator’s cockpit area will be used to view events at the front of the bus, such as a motor vehicle accident. In addition, two external-facing cameras will be mounted on the outside of each bus,” Dyck said.

“Audio will be captured in a limited area around the operator’s compartment.”

The video is kept for a maximum of seven days and then is recorded over. 

Only a few pre-authorized BC Transit safety and security personnel will have access to the video footage.

There is no live monitoring. Cameras become operational when the bus is turned on. Video is captured on a digital hard drive and will only be “tagged”, removed and viewed following a reported incident. 

Signs will be installed on each bus, as well as a smaller decal in the passenger seating area near the cameras to inform the public of the cameras.

The estimated budget to equip the six buses with this new technology is $27,400. The installation will be funded by the federal and provincial governments. 

A timetable to install CCTV cameras throughout the BC Transit system has not yet been confirmed.

West Kootenay Transit costs and decisions are shared in a joint venture between the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, City of Nelson and BC Transit.