NY Installing Surveillance Cameras on All City Buses

Decision follows the assault on a driver last month.
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An attack on a New York City bus driver in June has promoted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to proceed with plans to install video cameras in all city buses, according to published reports.

On June 21, bus driver Marlene Bien-Aime, 49, was hospitalized following an attack by a passenger. The alleged assailant is identified as 17-year-old Steangeli Medina, according to Police, who say Medina became upset because Bien-Aime would not allow the youth to board the bus with a small dog. Medina is alleged to have pulled Bien-Aime from the driver’s seat and assault her. The youth is accused of assault and menacing and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

New York MTA officials say cameras are already operational on 85 buses, mostly on routes through high crime neighborhoods, but it is now putting them on 341 more buses at a cost of about $10 million.

Under the MTA plan, six cameras will be mounted on each bus with five covering the interior and one pointing straight ahead. None of the cameras are focused on the driver, officials say.

The cameras are motion activated and begin recording when someone boards a bus and recording ends five minutes after the last person disembarks. However, the cameras will not feed images back to the MTA command center in real time, according to MTA officials. Rather, the images will be stored on each camera’s hard drive for about a month, and the video will be reviewed only if there's an incident aboard a bus.

In addition, MTA officials will decide within a month whether to deploy cameras on about 1,100 more buses at a cost of $18,000 each.