U.S. Public transit systems recording conversations with onboard video and audio surveillance systems

December 16, 2012

Did you know?

U.S. Public transit systems recording conversations with microphones and video surveillance systems
Audio and video can be monitored in real-time, but are also stored

Metro Magazine

AUSTIN, Texas — According to The Daily, government officials are installing audio surveillance systems on public buses across the U.S., including in cities such as San Francisco; Hartford, Conn.; and Eugene, Ore., to record conversations of passengers.

Experts told The Daily that with the new systems, transit officials “can effectively send an invisible police officer to transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus.” However, installing the technology raises questions about legally protected privacy in public spaces.
Video: Total surveillance: now in public transportation

Video: U.S. cities quietly install audio surveillance on public transit buses

Video: Big Brother is watching and listening to you on public transit


October 17, 2012
MTA recording bus conversations to eavesdrop on trouble
Officials call audio surveillance a crime-fighting tool; privacy advocates question need

Baltimore MTA

By Candy Thomson
The Baltimore Sun

A Maryland Transit Administration decision to record the conversations of bus drivers and passengers to investigate crimes, accidents and poor customer service has come under attack from privacy advocates and state lawmakers who say it may go too far.

The first 10 buses — marked with signs to alert passengers to the open microphones — began service this week in Baltimore, and officials expect to expand that to 340 buses, about half the fleet, by next summer. Microphones are incorporated in the video surveillance system that has been in place for years.

The cost is negligible, Ralign Wells, MTA administrator said, since the six cameras inside each bus are capable of recording audio and all new buses will have audio-video systems as standard equipment.

MTA police dispatchers receive 45 to 100 daily calls for assistance from bus drivers for everything from an unhappy rider to criminal activity, said Capt. Burna McCollum, commander of the MTA police technical services division.

Video is a critical tool for investigators sorting out the details of an incident, but when witnesses walk away, are reluctant to cooperate or give conflicting accounts, an audio recording can fill in missing information, McCollum said.

Surveillance policies in the region vary widely. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority use security cameras on their buses but draw the line at audio recordings of passengers. Montgomery County’s 335-bus Ride On system is about to add audio surveillance to its video capability. Baltimore’s nearly three-year-old Circulator buses record both video and audio.


Northern suburban Charlotte, North Carolina’s Concord and Kannapolis transit system
Improvements planned for Concord-Kannapolis Rider Transit System

Rider Concord Kannapolis Transit System

October 10, 2012

Onboard video and audio surveillance systems will be updated with new nine to ten-camera systems that offer a number of new capabilities to help us continue to keep Rider Transit safe and secure. Free Wi-Fi hotspots will be available for passenger use on each CK Rider vehicle. Bus system & schedule information stations will be installed at all 246 stops across the CK Rider system. Display cases will provide passenger maps, service and customized schedule information specific to each stop and help with frequently-asked questions.



Lane Transit District Request for proposal (RFP)
The transit district serves Eugene and Springfield Oregon

Lane Transit District

Lane Transit District

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