by: Erin Coleman Updated:ATLANTA —
In an unprecedented security upgrade, MARTA is adding video cameras to all of its buses, mobility vans, and trains, officials said.
Channel 2 Action News got an exclusive look at the first bus to be retrofitted with the cameras during an interview with MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham.
“We’ll hear and see everything that happens on this bus," she told Channel 2's Erin Coleman.
Starting next week, MARTA will roll out seven buses on seven different routes with the cameras. At the end of the pilot program in October, crews will then install cameras on the rest of the 524 buses in its fleet. Each bus will have nine cameras, three on the outside, six on the inside recording both video and audio, Dunham said.
Last year, after s string of bus operator attacks and passenger robberies, the MARTA board gave the green light for the $17 million overhaul. Two months ago, MARTA found out they are also getting some help from Washington, D.C.
“The Department of Homeland Security is actually going to give us $9 million for this project, so we’re extremely happy not only to have the camera system, but half will be funded with grant funds,” Dunham added.
Passengers said they’re excited about the new system.
“I think that's a wonderful idea because that keeps all the nonsense down it really does,” passenger William Sikes said.
“Makes me feel a lot safer because I'm an older woman you know what I mean? And I work at night,” passenger Robin Green added.
Chief Dunham said the technology with the system is so advanced, they can find video using any date, time, or location. There is also a monitor on each bus where passengers can see themselves and every other passenger as well. Dunham calls it an added layer of security to deter criminals.
“If anything happens on this system, on the bus, on the train, we will arrest you,” she said.
MARTA plans to complete installing all of the cameras on all of its busses by June of next year. It will complete installation on mobility vans and trains by June of 2014.