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Golden Gate Transit Plans to Replace Obsolete Surveillance Cameras

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Golden Gate Transit bus.  (Courtesy of Golden Gate Transit)

The North Bay's largest transit agency plans to spend $900,000 to replace and upgrade its bus fleet's surveillance cameras, many of which may not work.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District's board of directors plans to vote Friday on a plan to install new cameras on 80 Golden Gate Transit buses where the devices are considered obsolete.

"They don't work reliably, unfortunately," bridge district spokeswoman Priya Clemens said. "Sometimes they malfunction and we don't always know which camera is not working at any given time until the bus is pulled into our lot and we're able to do a system's diagnostic check."

On Thursday, the district's Transportation Committee approved the proposal, which also calls for upgrading technology on newer surveillance systems on the rest of the system's bus fleet.

The board's vote comes six months after a controversy erupted involving dummy security cameras on BART's train cars.


The presence of the decoy devices was disclosed after a January incident in which one passenger shot and killed another as a train was pulling into the West Oakland station. Amid widespread criticism, BART promised to install functional cameras on its fleet.

Golden Gate Transit at that time had its own camera concerns.

"We had already been talking about our camera system at that point," Clemens said. "We've known for a while that we need to replace these 80 obsolete cameras."

The new cameras will also provide much cleaner images.

"It's like going from an old TV set to today's high-res video quality," Clemens said.

The agency plans to add monitoring technology to newer devices that are already on 97 other buses. That will allow transit officials to ensure remotely that the cameras are working properly. They will provide access to real-time video streaming during emergencies, transit officials said.

The surveillance system includes cameras placed in and on the buses. They are aimed at helping with criminal and collision investigations.

The contract is with Apollo Video Technology, based in Washington state.

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